This past 4th of July my family traveled as we have for many years to my sister’s house on the east side of Cleveland. Her home is nestled in Ohio wine country and we celebrate yearly at Chalet Debonne Vineyards. It’s a joy to visit because she prepares scrumptious plant-based dishes too. This year she prepared a Mac and Cheese, (along with lots of other dishes) that was extra yummy. My hubby even went back for seconds and he was never a Mac and cheese kind of guy before this plant-based adventure. I was initially a little concerned because following Dr. Esselstyn’s prevent and reverse heart disease lifestyle one is supposed to stay away from nuts. I have been avoiding them like the plague. However, at a recent conference, Dr. Esselstyn was asked about nuts and he stated he doesn’t like nuts because no one can stop with just one handful and people end up with nuts in their car, nuts in their desk, nuts in their purse, essentially you can’t stop with just one. So I made the executive decision that I can use them occasionally within a recipe and just keep them out of sight and hidden in my house so they don’t become a go to snack. Over Labor Day weekend I prepared Steff’s Mac and Cheese for the first time. My sister assured me it was super easy. Just toss everything in the Vita-mix. I’m told if you have a Vita-mix you don’t need to soak your raw cashews, however the ones I had were lightly salted so I soaked and rinsed them just to get rid of the added salt. I had to text her photos of my progress several times during the process because I was expecting the sauce in my Vita-mix to be much thicker than it was. She assured me it was perfect. Sticking with Esselstyn I used 100% whole grain elbow macaroni.
Steff's Mac and Cheese
A yummy substitute for the traditional blue box, approved by one their most avid fans.
- 2 red peppers
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 -1lb box elbow macaroni
- Place the nuts in a small bowl and cover with water, let sit for approximately 6 hours, then drain and pat dry, this step is not necessary if you are using a Vita-mix.
- Prepare pasta and while the pasta is cooking, chunk up red peppers.
- Toss red pepper chunks, nutritional yeast, onion powder, water, cashews, salt, nutmeg and turmeric in food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Drain pasta and pour back into pan.
- Pour sauce over the cooked pasta, stir and place over low heat just until heated through.
I like to shop at Costco and I usually make a stop there every other Thursday. One of the items on my repeat list is the 2 pound package of what I call cherry tomatoes. I don’t think thats what the name is on the outside of the package, but they are the small ones the shape of a cherry…you get what I mean. I like to roast them in my oven, with a bit of garlic, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a dash of pepper. I use a jelly roll pan, thats the one that looks like a cookie sheet with edges. I put a silicone mat in the bottom to prevent anything from sticking to the pan, since I don’t use any oil when cooking. The silicone mat makes it easy to just lift the sides and pour them out without any mess. Once they are finished roasting I like to put some in my food processor and puree them into a tasty, healthy, plant based salad dressing. I store my balsamic tomato dressing in the refrigerator. The rest of them I usually pop into a refrigerator container and use them whole on salads, in pastas, as a pizza topping, and in veggie bowls, the possibilities are probably endless. Let me know what your favorite uses are.
A tasty addition to salads, pastas, pizzas, and veggie bowls, as well as a delightful pureed salad dressing.
- 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 350°
- Clean and rinse tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place in a container
- Mix together garlic, vinegar, maple syrup and pepper.
- Pour mixture over tomatoes
- Pour tomato mixture into jelly roll pan (lined with silicone mat if desired) and spread them out.
- Cook for 15 minutes and then rotate the pan and cook for another 15 minutes.
I came across this recipe called Lentil Enchilada Pasta in the first Forks over Knives Bookazine from 2017. I have made it many times and have tweaked it just a bit to make it my own, and to suit my family. I have dropped the “enchilada” from the recipe name because at my house it was bringing up totally different ideals and somehow they wanted it wrapped in a corn tortilla and that just wasn’t happening. I use 100% whole grain penne pasta, my local grocery “Kroger” brand in the brown box. It comes in a 16 ounce box so I have adjusted the recipe to account for the change from the original 12 ounce box called for in the forks over knives bookazine. Four cups of lentils cooked is approximately 2 cups of dry lentils. This is one of those recipes that gives you that home cooking feeling, no frills, just fills everyone up. The bonus is I typically have left overs to pack for lunch the next day. Enjoy this healthy dinner and remember to ❤️ur❤️.
- 16 oz. dried penne pasta ( 100% whole grain)
- 1 chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped red sweet pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 3 cans crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups cooked lentils
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 4 Tbsp. whole grain flour
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup snipped fresh cilantro
- In a large pot cook pasta according to package instruction, drain. Return pasta to the pot, cover with a lid and keep warm.
- To prepare the sauce, in a saucepan, cook onion, celery, sweet pepper, and garlic in the water and the 1/2 cup of veggie broth over medium heat, until the onion and celery are tender.
- Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, additional veggie broth, nutritional yeast, flour, chili powder, cumin, sea salt, and paprika. Bring to boiling and reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Season with black pepper.
- Add sauce and cilantro to the pasta, toss to coat. Serve topped with additional nutritional yeast if desired.