Hey Guys! It is the end of the month and we are that much closer to my favorite time of the year, October. People often ask me why do I enjoy it so much? In short, it is a magical time for me. I don’t mean this in a sacrilegious way. I mean that it is just as enchanting to me as Christmas is for others. Taking away the evil connotations and how it is described as the devil’s holiday, I have happy memories with my family. From gatherings to movie nights with special treats we loved. Our neighborhood wasn’t really safe when we were growing up so my mother made the most of it. We’d watch movies that we loved and we got bags of candy tailored to what we liked. As I got older, I still enjoyed it for those principles. It had nothing to do with it being an evil Pagan holiday for devil worshippers or anything like that.
One of our staples growing up for a quick lunch was always macaroni and cheese. I can’t say that it is a Hispanic thing because I knew a lot of friends who also did the same thing. It was affordable and filling enough to keep us good from lunch all the way to dinner. I ate this often so it is a comfort food for me. Having to give it up when I became lactose intolerant was absolute torture. So finding an alternative that could pass for the real thing was important to me.
A while back, I was tasked with making Macaroni and Cheese from scratch for a baby shower. I had only made it once here at home but I was confident in my ability to get it done. It was a success and if you follow my blog, you’ll see the posted the recipe. Random fact. I am lactose intolerant. So even though I had a bowl of this delicious mac and cheese, not too long after was I feeling sick to my stomach. It sucks because I wasn’t always lactose intolerant, it happened in my 20s. It gets weirder when there are times I can consume dairy just not certain types. So I guess it is a mild lactose intolerance. It has forced me to explore other alternatives rather than give up dairy completely.
Alas! I found myself exploring dairy free kinds of milk like coconut, almond, cashew, soy, even the blends…My favorite being the almond coconut blend. I’ve tried the cashew almond blend but I always come back to the almond coconut. Obviously, there are the sweetened and unsweetened versions as well as vanilla and original flavors. When I first started consuming these kinds of milk, I had to always get sweetened vanilla because I couldn’t get past the taste or consistency at first. Eventually, it just became like regular milk to me. Then I found Tofutti (Tofu Non-Dairy Cream Cheese) and cheese shreds that were also dairy free. I rejoiced!
On my quest to enjoy dairy-free foods and desserts, I explored using these mediums in place of milk…It worked well with my oatmeal…The coconut almond milk worked great with Farina(Cream of Wheat porridge I grew up with and still enjoy as an adult.) My ultimate test was when I decided to try out a Dairy Free Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, shrimp, and kale. I will post the recipe and tutorial for that at a later time. It was exquisite. I had tricked my family into thinking that it was regular Alfredo. It had to be one of the many great dishes I’ve prepared at home.
I decided to look for something that would give me the creamy texture I need while still being nutritious and not as heavy as the baby shower macaroni and cheese(check a few posts ago.) I found this recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine that baffled me. A Stove-top Pumpkin Mac and Cheese. Who would’ve thought to use pumpkin? I have seen recipes where pureed butternut squash is used. But not pumpkin. She happens to use regular dairy products. I only plan on using one on a technicality, which is the Canola Oil Butter. Besides that, it is practically dairy free. To make it totally dairy free, you can use a dairy free butter of your choice.
She used pumpkin puree, veggie broth, veggie pasta, and some kind of fontina cheese. You can take a look at her recipe here. I was sold not only by the fact that this would make a great recipe to try out for you guys but also something quick and easy for those summer nights. I ended up making a few modifications to enhance it.
For starters, I swapped out all of the dairy ingredients for dairy free. I went with whole wheat pasta because it is healthier and I think the dish itself is actually very nutritious. I also skipped the veggie broth but I added my own seasonings which you will find below. This is all done on the stove top and doesn’t take long at all.
Almost Dairy Free Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
Inspired by the recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine
This macaroni and cheese was divine. I have made non-dairy foods before but this is delicious. The pumpkin gives it a silky and velvety texture that can easily be confused with real cheese. I also loved how you couldn’t even tell it was pumpkin since the flavor didn’t come through. One of the pickiest eaters is my dad and he loved this dish as much as I did. I hope you enjoyed this recipe.
Recipe by: Tasha C.
Photo By: Kirbie Cravings
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