And don't worry, I won't even think about asking you to use that weird, fake cheese. I'm not a fan of that stuff and I like to work with whole ingredients rather than packaged foods. For the "cheese" in this recipe, we'll use cashews and nutritional yeast. When combined, they make a really unique, cheesy type flavor.
If you're making this for someone who wants the ooey, gooey cheesy-ness that comes with melting actual cheddar into milk, this cashew/nutritional yeast substitute may not do it for them. But if you're trying to replicate a cheesy flavor and satisfy the craving for a warm, comfort food without the dairy, this is definitely your dish.
1 box of uncooked pasta (any kind)
1 Cup Cashews (raw work best, but you can use whatever kind you have)
4 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion (any kind)
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (can be found at most health food stores)
2 Tsp Mama Garlic or Garlic Powder
1 Cup Water
Salt & Pepper to Taste (optional)
- Boil water and cook your pasta until it is tender, but not fully cooked (al dente). Drain and set aside.
- In a food processor (I use a Ninja), grind your cashews down to a powder (pictures below).
- Add in the Garlic, Onion, Olive Oil, Nutritional Yeast and seasoning, then pulse until it is all blended into a creamy mixture.
- Slowly add the water, 1/4 cup at a time, and pulse until the mixture is pourable, but not runny. I usually use the full cup of water, but you may not need it all. It should be similar to the consistency of pancake batter.
- In a large bowl, combine the "cheese" mixture with your noodles and stir by hand until all of the noodles are coated.
- Transfer the resulting noodles to a large baking pan and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Optional step: sprinkle bread crumbs mixed with a tsp of mama garlic on the top of your noodles for a crunchy topping.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Let cook for 5-10 minutes and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, stir in 1-2 Tbsp of water and bake at 375 until warm.