If you hadn’t already guessed from it being Meatless Monday let me clue you into the surprise. That delectable meal above contains no animal products. (Translation: it’s vegan.)
Cheeze has been part of the veggie lexicon since that first irrepressible dairy craving gave birth to fake cheese. In this recipe, cheeze is a combination of tofu, low-sodium vegetable broth, nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt-free mustard and seasonings. Like I said, cheeze.
The “burger” portion of the meal is actually crumbled and sauteed tempeh seasoned with a tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce – in this case, Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos.
Sue Tweeton of Please DON’T Pass the Salt wrote about it months ago and within days I’d nabbed a bottle myself. Coconut Aminos is 100% organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free. It doesn’t taste exactly like soy sauce, but it’s close enough to pass muster — and at a mere 113 mg sodium per teaspoon, close enough is fine by me. Look for it online, at Whole Foods markets, and natural foods stores.
As for the recipe… YUM. Creamy, whole grain comfort food at its best. Like the coconut aminos, this mac and cheeze isn’t a shoo-in for the classic. But just because it’s different, doesn’t make it bad. Even my 8-year old loved it! The creaminess is all there, as well as the crunchy topping. Feel free to add veggies to the mix for a one-dish meal. Peas and broccoli work particularly well or expand it exponentially with chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper, corn, carrots, and more.
Adapted from Robin Robertson’s Quick-Fix Vegan.
SODIUM CONTENT: 110 mg per serving
1-13-oz. pkg. whole grain pasta (your choice)
1 T. olive oil
1-8-oz. pkg. organic tempeh, crumbled
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce or equivalent (see note above)
1 c. firm or extra-firm tofu
1 1/2 c. unsweetened nondairy milk
1 1/4 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t. prepared salt-free mustard
1 t. all-purpose salt-free seasoning
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1/4 t. ground turmeric
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. salt-free breadcrumbs or panko
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an ovenproof baking dish lightly with oil and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium. Add the crumbled tempeh and saute 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, add the soy sauce, and stir to combine. Add tempeh to the pasta and set aside.
Measure the tofu, nondairy milk, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, lemon juice, mustard, and seasonings into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir well to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and smooth to even. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top.
Place pan on middle rack in oven and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
NOTE: Casserole can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until time to bake. Before baking, allow contents to come to room temperature before baking or add an extra 15-20 minutes cooking time to ensure the center is hot.