Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dairy Free Mac'n'Cheese

Cheese lovers: do you think your body really enjoys all that grease, cholesterol, and hard to digest lactose? Of course not! I know it tastes amazing, but so does my lactose free mac'n'cheese.

Well, I didn't actually use macaroni, but I did use hearty whole wheat penne! Unsweetened almond milk brings this dish to life, along with dairy free Smart Balance Light and lactose free cheese. It has a couple of secret ingredients that you would never have guessed: egg and dry mustard. Topped off with flavorful french fried onions! It will make you wonder if this isn't the real thing. How can I ever miss mac'n'cheese again?

I can recommend a few lactose free cheeses to choose from. Trader Joe's has a shredded soy cheese that's a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and jack flavors. I used that for this dish. It's not vegan and has milk protein in it, so beware if you are allergic to milk protein. It's great if you are just lactose intolerant. Also, Kraft shredded cheeses have little lactose in them, especially the sharp cheddar and parmesan. I'm highly sensitive and can have a little of these, but not a lot. If you are looking for dairy free, soy free, and vegan, then I recommend using Daiya Shreds in cheddar and parmesan.

1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 egg
4 tablespoons Smart Balance Light (dairy free)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar lactose free cheese (I used Trader Joe's soy cheese blend)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese alternative
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese alternative
1/2 cup to 1 cup french fried onions

1. Cook pasta until firm but not done. Knock off about 2 minutes of cook time. Drain and keep in warm, covered pot.

2. Beat egg in small bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Melt Smart Balance in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Pour in almond milk. Add mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.

6. To temper egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the almond milk sauce into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg.

7. Slowly pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking until smooth. This will create a nice, thick mac'n'cheese.

8. Add lactose free cheese and 1/3 cup of parmesan alternative, stir until melted.

Mmm creamy cheesy goodness.

9. Add sea salt and pepper plus more to taste. You can also add any other spices at this point.

10. Pour cooked pasta into sauce and stir to combine.

11. In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking oil, add pasta and cheese mixture.

12. Top with french fried onions and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese alternative.

13. Bake 5-10 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned. Taste approved by cheese lovers!