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Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese with Kimchi

This is what I call a comfort food deluxe! Creamy, hearty, subtly sweet with that bright, sunny color, makes me so happy just looking at it. I added a little twist to this classic crowd favorite - kimchi!

I'm pretty sure most of us have very fond memories with cheese-related food, cheeseburgers, mac n' cheese, pizza, or simply with some crackers. Well, I certainly did. However, when I finally came to see cheese as what it actually is - fermented animal breast milk, I can never bring myself to eat them again, not to mention the abuse we impose on innocent lives of other species. And in the case of dairy, let's not forget that it is the female lives we're abusing, which makes it even harder for me to overlook as a fellow female living creature myself. So say it with me, I don't eat fermented cow (or goat) breast milk.

What I can't change though, is the association I had already developed growing up between "cheesy" looking food and happiness. Since I can't turn back the clock and change my upbringing, I can definitely recreate those happy symbols in food with vegan alternatives! 

I'm not going to tell you that butternut squash tastes exactly like cheese sauce, that's obviously impossible. But it is 1000 percent delicious, nutritious, and satisfying. And guess what, it won't give you cancer or make you bloat!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cup Cubed Butternut Squash

1 Sweet Onion

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

8 ounce Pasta Shells, I used Brown Rice Pasta for gluten-free

2 tablespoon Chickpea Flour

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 cup Unsweetened Soy Milk

1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast

3 tablespoon Kimchi, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon Chopped Scallion

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper


TO MAKE:

- Preheat oven to 375°F;

- Roughly chop the onion, in a baking tray, toss the onions and butternut squash cubes with a large drizzle of olive oil, sprinkles of salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon each, and bake for 35 minutes until the squash is buttery soft;

- Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to boiling, add the pasta, cook to preferred tenderness, reserve 1 cup of pasta water;

- Once squash and onions are done baking, transfer them to a blender, blend till you get a very smooth pureé, can do this step in batches;

- In a non-stick pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat, add garlic and cook till fragrant, add the chopped kimchi, sauté for about 3 minutes;

- In a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour with some pasta water till smooth, to prevent the flour from clumping, add the flour mixture and mustard to the pan, stir to combine;

- Add the soy milk, butternut squash pureé, nutritional yeast and 1 cup of pasta water, stir to mix well and bring to a boil, let simmer until you reach a thick, creamy consistency, stir frequently;

- Pour sauce into the pasta, top with more kimchi and chopped scallions, enjoy!

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