Pumpkin Mac & Cheese w/ Green Chard and Toasted Pine nuts

Pumplin Mac & Cheese w/ Green Chard and Toasted Pine NutsI created this recipe especially for a cooking demo I for the fall 2016 Herbivore Festival at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, CA. To celebrate the most popular flavor of fall, pumpkin, I created this familiar and flavorful pumpkin mac & cheese with green chard and toasted pine nuts. With the holidays just around the corner, this dish would make a great side item at any dinner party or served with a nice side salad, it could be a stand out entrée – Happy Fall!

History of mac & cheese

There are a couple of stories as to the origins of mac & cheese in America. The one that seems the most referenced and best documented started when president Thomas Jefferson encountered macaroni in northern Italy. He brought a machine back to the United States. His daughter is credited with creating the dish that was first made with macaroni and parmesan. Later is was made with cheddar cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb penne or spiral pasta
  • 1 Tbsp dairy-free butter (I like Earth Balance or Smart Balance)
  • 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk (any nut milk will work)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tsp pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 Cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2-3 leaves swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup pine nuts – toasted

Preparation

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a small pan toast the pine nuts on medium heat until slightly browned. Pour them onto a plate and let cool.
  3. Melt the dairy free butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, cornstarch, and garlic powder then add this to the saucepan
  5. Add the nutritional yeast Dijon, salt, pepper and cayenne the saucepan and continue to whisk.
  6. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until heated.
  7. Place the pasta in a large bowl and pour the heated sauce over it.
  8. Add the chopped green chard and stir until combined.
  9. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the chard wilt and soften.
  10. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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