1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Prepare pasta of choice and protein, if desired or not already cooked.
3. Cut your preferred vegetables into thin strips.*
4. Throw veggies in a medium sized pot to saute.**
5. Lower the heat to medium/low and add your greens, putting on the pot lid so the ingredients can steam/saute.
6.When the vegetables become tender, turn off the heat and set the pot aside.
7. Prepare your cheese sauce by adding your milk, spices and flour to the pot, keeping the heat on high until the mix boils.***
8. Toss in a handful of Daiya cheese shreds and lower the heat to medium. Stir continuously as you add the cheese in order to properly incorporate all the ingredients.****
7. Add optional pasta and your cheese to your vegetables. (Add the cheese sauce gradually, mixing everything together and test tasting versus dumping the entire sauce in.)
8. Pop your cheesy treats into the oven, and bake until the cheese starts bubbling and a crust forms (usually 15-30 minutes).
9. To finish off the baked mac and cheese, though, I’ll top it with a dab of pesto, a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and, if I have it handle, a leftover fillet of fish (salmon is especially delicious)! Then, all you have to do is grab a fork and dig in!
*I prefer a 3:1 vegetable to pasta ratio, but you can adjust your veggie amounts according to how much pasta you like or how many servings you want to make
**Sometimes I use oil to cook them, but recently I’ve used double the amount of chicken stock instead. Not only does the lower the oil, but it also punches up the flavor.) Either way, add your liquid and cook your vegetables on high heat for a few minutes
***You are welcome to substitute Daiya for your favorite dairy free cheese, or the sauce for your own recipe altogether, but this is the one that’s won over my taste buds.
****The Daiya shreds may resist melting into a smooth sauce initially, but keep mixing and add more shreds until you obtain a thick, creamy sauce.
Note: I like to prepare a lemon side salad to accompany. It’s as simple as throwing mixed greens on a plate and, once the main course is ready, tossing them in a few squeezes of fresh lemon and drizzles of apple cider vinegar. Even more vegetable goodness!