Sunflower Mac & Cheese
- 8 ounces macaroni pasta (use brown gluten-free, if desired)
- 1 cup unroasted sunflower seed kernels, soaked (see directions)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Sweet paprika, for sprinkling
1. Place sunflower seeds in a bowl and submerge in water. Let soak for about 2 hours and up to overnight. Drain well.
2. Boil a pot of salted water for your pasta.
3. Preheat a sauce pot over medium heat. Sauté carrots and onions in oil with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and carrots are slightly softened. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, then remove from heat.
4. Place the carrots and onions in a blender or food processor. Add vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, tomato paste and sunflower seeds. Blend until very smooth. This could take up to 5 minutes depending on the power of your machine, so give your blender motor a break every minute or so and test the sauce for smoothness. It should be very smooth, with only a slight graininess.
5. If your water is boiling, prepare the pasta according to package directions.
6. In the meantime, transfer the sauce back to the sauce pot. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and taste for salt and seasoning.
7. The pasta should be done while the sauce is thickening, so drain and place back in the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.
8. When sauce is thick, pour most of it over the pasta, reserving some to pour over individual servings. Mix it up, and serve with extra sauce and paprika for sprinkling.