Sustainable recipe of the week: Fall Harvest Mac n' Cheese

This recipe is adapted from @kindheartymeals 

 

This delicious plant-based mac n' cheese recipe is a warm, comforting, soon to be family favorite that sneaks seasonal vegetables onto your young one’s plate! Pluse, the plant-based dairy alternatives help bring a smaller environmental footprint to the holiday table this season, extra bonus! 

 

Did you know dairy production makes a lot more than just dairy? The dairy industry contributes to 3.6% of all global warming emissions, making it the second most polluting food industry after beef production. Sure, cows are cute, but they are also giant, gassy, eating machines. 

 

Unfortunately, the denser the dairy product, generally the worse its climate impact. That means cheeses and butter are top culprits. 

 

The good news is there are more non-dairy alternatives on the market than ever before. If you’ve been skeptical of soy milk (like me), you may be surprised how far these products have come. The plant-based creams are creamier, and the cheeses are gooier! 

 

Dairy cheese is over 3.5x the carbon footprint of plant-based cheesesBy reducing dairy consumption, even just a little, the average American can significantly reduce their individual carbon footprint! And finding new recipes that pair plant-based cheeses with fall favorites like butternut squash and sage... yum! 

 

This recipe is at its peak sustainability if you source organic, local and in season produce combined with dairy-free alternatives. 

 

Here is the Recipe! Enjoy! 

 

Fall Harvest Mac n' Cheese 

 

1- medium butternut squash 

1- large sweet potato 

1- 12 to 16 oz. box of shell pasta 

4- cloves of garlic

2- shallots 

8 to 10 leaves of fresh sage 

1- 7 oz. non-dairy cheese, shredded 

1- ½-1 c.hazelnut milk (or other non-dairy milk) 

2 tbsp. flour 

2 tbsp. olive oil 

 

Directions 

  1. Bring a pot of salted water (about 6 cups) to a boil. 

  1. Peel and cut the butternut squash and sweet potato into half-inch (approximate) cubes. Boil until soft, about 10 minutes.

  1. Remove butternut squash and sweet potato. Save water for boiling pasta (conservation!). Place squash and potato into a bowl and mash. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. 

  1. Bring conserved water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, following package directions. Strain from water and set pasta aside. 

  1. Chop garlic and shallots. 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

  1. Heat two tablespoons oil in a frying pan. When hot, fry whole sage leaves until dark green, about 1 minute. Remove the sage and place on a paper towel to drain. 

  1. Add two tablespoons of flour to the oil. Stir to combine and allow to cook for 30 seconds. Add in garlic and shallots, cooking and stirring until fragrant, about one minute. 

  1. Add hazelnut milk, simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add most of the shredded cheese (reserving some to sprinkle on top). Season with salt and pepper. 

  1. In a large oven-proof tray, combine pasta, cheese sauce and mashed squash. Stir gently to combine. 

  1. Evenly spread mixture into pan, top with remaining cheese. (At this point, the dish can be refrigerated to be reheated later if desired.) 

  1. Bake?for 20-25 minutes until edges start to brown and cheese melts, then add the fried sage on top before serving.  

 

Additional reading about the climate impact of plant-based cheese: 

 


Category Tag(s): Nature Blog