[donotprint] Mac and cheese is a commonly eaten dish in Ireland. In fact it’s largely unheard of. People eat cheesy baked pasta but as far as macaroni is concerned it isn’t considered a crucial element of the dish.
Perhaps to my own detriment I decided to take the Mac Less Cheese a step further and replaced the pasta element with steamed broccoli. The comforting part of Mac and Cheese for me, “mac or no mac”, is the cheese and the crunchy topping. The baking part of Mac and Cheese in my mind makes the whole dish a step to stodgy and just delays the eating process.
I love fresh steamed or roasted broccoli, but mix it with gooey creamy cheese and you’ve got an instant bowl of comfort food.
Being wheat intolerant I decided to top the no bake cheesy broccoli with toasted hazelnuts. Had I had wheat free bread at hand I may have topped it with the traditional crumb but I’d already taken it so far from the conventional mac and cheese I figured one more alternative couldn’t hurt.
And it didn’t! The toasted hazelnuts were fantastic on top…who doesn’t like cheese and nuts together!
I took a little tip from Angela at Oh she glows who in her recipe for vegan mac and cheese added in a pinch of turmeric to give it a cheesy yellowy orange colour.
I made the dish even healthier by subbing some of the hard cheese with cottage cheese and used light soy milk as opposed to full fat dairy. Cheese is the only dairy product I really eat. I use soy milk and soy yoghurt and I’m not a big fan of eggs. What I don’t eat of other dairy products I make up for with my cheese consumption!!!
Are you a mac and cheese fan?
Do you have a healthified version you like to make? [/donotprint]
Healthy No Bake Mac Less Cheese
Servings – 1
Preparation Time – 5 minutes
Cooking Time –
- 1 small head of broccoli chopped up in to bite size florets
- 85ml (1/3 cup) + 1 tbsp soy milk
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 small leek roughly sliced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 85g (1/3 cup) cottage cheese
- 20g (0.7 oz or about two tablespoons) gruyere cheese grated
- Pinch or ¼ tsp turmeric
- Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp toasted hazelnuts chopped (toast in a dry pan for 3- 5 minutes over a medium heat)
- Add milk to a pot and warm over a medium heat until steaming.
- Mix together 1 tbsp soy milk with 2 tsp cornstarch until there are no lumps. Add to the steaming milk and cook stirring continuously for 3 minutes until thick.
- Remove pot from the heat and add in gruyere cheese, stirring until melted. Next add in cottage cheese, turmeric, mustard.
- Blanch broccoli, dipping the florets in to boiling water for 2-3 minutes and refresh in cold water.
- In a separate pan cook garlic and chopped leek with a little olive oil until soft but still retain their colour (about 3 minutes).
- Add leek and broccoli to cheese mix, stir to combine, heat for a few minutes stirring continuously over a medium heat until the sauce thickens. Pour in to a dish and top with toasted chopped hazelnuts.
- If you want baked mac and cheese simply place the mixture in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes at 200C (400F).