Cooking is a meditation, a medication, and a craft to feeling your best. So when the world remains unpredictable, I hope you find comfort, joy, and delicious delights in your kitchen.
I ask whether we can use food as a medicine model, ingredients that serve a purpose, with immune-supporting nourishment that delights our tastebuds with the warm embrace of home.
Ingredients in this Mac N ‘cheese’ sauce might seem like a strange combination, but the flavor is spot on. Butternut squash offers beta carotene, converted to the essential anti-oxidant Vitamin A by the liver, giving it the authentic orange-ish color we look for in mac and cheese. At the same time, nutritional yeast provides B vitamins and that umami flavor we love. Blend until creamy and smooth, then pour over gluten-free pasta (we choose a quinoa/brown rice blend) for a homemade meal that’s as every bit comforting as the dish you grew up on.
Wisdom comes with winter, said Oscar Wilde. If we look towards nature and what it reflects us, we live in sync with the cycles of Earth.
Even if you don’t live in a four-season climate, seasonal change is a familiar rhythm. Winter is the time to rest, conserve, restore and replenish our energy in preparation for new life and growth in Spring. Now, this doesn’t mean that we need to go into hibernation nor squirrel away vast stores of nuts to keep us going, but it is enlightening to attune to the natural cycles of life and to be in rhythm with them.
Comforting food may be the prescription we need in winter. Ah, the American classic Mac n Cheese may be the answer for our tastebuds.
When you think of comforting food, perhaps your thoughts go to cheesy umami flavors or rich chocolate pudding and the such. It is usually heavy with ingredients that may trigger inflammation in our bodies. Most people are sensitive to processed dairy and cheeses, processed milk, or wheat products that have been treated with pesticides like glyphosate. With a challenge in mind, can we adapt to different ingredients but achieve the same satisfaction from our food and enrich our meals with nutrient-dense tasty ingredients?
If you love the creamy umami flavor of mac n cheese but could do without the processed cheese and dairy, let this recipe spark your curiosity to seek out other recipes that delight your palate without sacrificing taste for nutrition. I think this may appeal to everyone’s tastebuds.
4 cups Butternut Squash (peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch cubes)
1/2 Sweet Onion (diced)
2 Garlic (cloves, whole)
2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Almonds
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Onion powder
1 cup Cashews
2 tbsps Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup water
4 cups Brown Rice Macaroni (uncooked)
Preheat oven to 420ºF (216ºC).
Place butternut squash, sweet onion, and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, season with a bit of sea salt and pepper, and mix well. Transfer onto a large foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
Now let’s make the “breadcrumbs.” Combine the almonds, garlic powder, and onion powder in a food processor. Pulse until almonds are coarsely chopped. Set aside.
Add cashews, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and water in a blender. Blend until a creamy consistency form. Now add the roasted butternut squash and onion mix and blend until smooth.
Reduce oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook brown rice macaroni as per the directions on the package when finished cooking, strain, and run under cold water immediately to prevent overcooking.
Mix cooked macaroni and “cheese” sauce in a large bowl. Toss until well coated, then transfer into a casserole dish. Top with almond breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes. Spoon into bowls. Devour.
Living in the rhythm of the seasons helps us to live,
to savor HERE and NOW.