I’ve lost track of the exact start date, but I’m just a year shy of my first year living that gluten free life. I stopped eating gluten as a way to help my eczema, because gluten can contribute to leaky gut (among other things), which can cause autoimmune issues like eczema. And almost a year in, my eczema is much much better and the rest of me feels a lot better too.
Transitioning to being gluten free wasn’t as hard for me as it can be for some, I mostly was eating and still eat primarily plants and animal protein. Cooking most of our food also made being 100% gluten free a lot easier. It was more going out and navigating the workplace that’s been more interesting.
In addition to being gluten free, I’ve been holding off on most dairy for a few months, which can make eating out and eating with others realllllly interesting. You never realize how much gluten and dairy is out there until you stop eating it! While I know that not eating foods with gluten and dairy are better for my health, there are times I miss certain dishes.
One of them is a classic comfort dish, mac and cheese. We made mac and cheese pretty on the regular growing up, and even as I ate healthier, there was just something so good about a bowl of mac and cheese. So I decided to make not only a gluten free, but dairy free Stovetop Mac and Cheese to replace what I grew up on.
In addition to making it gluten and dairy free, this Stovetop Mac and Cheese is also packed with veggies, from the kale to the butternut squash that’s in the “cheese” sauce. The “cheese sauce” is made from butternut squash, cashews and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a go-to if you want the taste of cheese without the cheese. It’s also super rich in B vitamins and protein.
You can easily add more veggies to this Stovetop Mac and Cheese, or sub out kale for spinach, collards, or your other favorite vegetable. You can also add protein to this recipe too, like pastured bacon, grass fed hot dogs or pastured sausage. Even tuna is you want (that was also a thing in my house when I was a kid).
I used Cybele’s Superfood Veggie Pasta in my recipe, you can use your favorite gluten free pasta as well. I’m newer to the gluten free pasta world. I’ve heard a fair amount of horror stories about soggy, dense, or gummy gluten free pastas, so I haven’t been super eager to experiment with them. I tried Cybele‘s pasta at ShiftCon earlier this month and really liked it. Not only was the texture and taste great, the Superfood Veggie Pasta is made of green lentils and vegetables and that’s IT. No gums, not flours, no weird stuff, just real food that’s super allergen friendly.
However you customize this Stovetop Mac and Cheese, enjoy the fact that yes, you, the person who’s not eating gluten or dairy, can have a satisfying bowl of mac and cheese.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen butternut squash, cubed and peeled
- 3/4 cups of cashews, soaked 2-8 hours in water
- 1/2-1 cup water, more if needed
- 3 tsp nutritional yeast
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch of kale, ribs removed and cut into bite-sized strips
- 1-2 tsp cooking fat (grass fed butter, ghee, unrefined coconut oil, other animal fat)
- 1-2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 box of gluten free noodles of your choice (I used Cybele’s Free to Eat)
- Pastured or Grass Fed Sausage
- Grass Fed Hot Dogs (I use Applegate)
- Pastured Bacon
- Roasted Broccoli
Make the Sauce
If you’re using fresh butternut squash, preheat the oven to 425. Arrange butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with cooking fat of your choice (grass fed butter, ghee, unrefined coconut oil, other animal fat) and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender. When done, scoop into blender.
If using frozen butternut squash, fill a sauté pan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, add in frozen squash and cook for 4-5 minutes. Discard water and add cooked pieces into the blender.
Drain the water from the soaked cashews and pour the cashews into the blender. Add in nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, and seasonings. Start with half the water and run the blender. Slowly add more water (about ¼ cup at a time) until the consistency you like is reached. The thinner the sauce, the more water you will add.
Sauté the Kale
Bring the medium sauté pan to medium high heat with the cooking fat of your choice. Once hot, add in kale and cook for 5-8 minutes, until wilted. Add in salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir to incorporate, then adjust seasonings to taste.
Make the Pasta
Prepare the gluten free pasta based on the box’s instructions. When the pasta has been drained, add into the same pot you cooked it in, or a slightly larger one (you’ll be stirring and adding ingredients).
Add in the kale, then slowly add in the cheese sauce until you get the amount of cheesiness you’d like. Stir in any add-ins, if desired. Spoon into bowls and enjoy.