Can you believe it is Cinco de Mayo already? I have a treat for you today, especially if you are vegan or if you prefer to avoid dairy products in your diet.
I recently had the opportunity to try Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Shreds, which are non-dairy products that have a taste and texture just like cheese. The nice people at Follow Your Heart sent me 3 varieties to try: Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Fiesta Blend.
Since my mother went vegan on me recently (LOL), I have learned more about the nutritional/health benefits of a plant-based diet, which has gotten me interested in incorporating more plant-based meals for my family, even to the point of moving away from dairy.
But, I have to confess, the thought of cutting cheese from my diet makes me very, very sad! And I think a lot of other people feel that way as well. I mean, who doesn't like cheese?!?
So I was very excited to sample these vegan cheese shreds and see for myself if they would be a good substitute for my beloved cheese! I was impressed at the taste and texture. They were perfect to use in this recipe! Not only are they dairy free and cholesterol free, but they are lactose free, soy free, gluten free, Non-GMO, and have no preservatives or trans fats! And to boot, all Follow Your Heart products are produced in their solar-powered manufacturing facility, which they call Earth Island. How cool is that?
I made this recipe with no dairy products at all, yet it was cheesy and delicious. And it had so much flavor! I am calling it Macarrones Con Queso to capture the Mexican flair of this zesty dish. So go make some Macarrones Con Queso for your Cinco de Mayo, and then sit back and enjoy your cheesy dinner!
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Macarrones Con Queso
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!
Macarrones Con Queso (Macaroni and Cheese, Mexican Style)
- 3 cups elbow pasta (I used whole grain pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces southwest blend frozen vegetables (alternatively you could use your own corn, black beans, poblano pepper, red pepper, and onions) (1 package)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (use more or less to adjust spiciness)
- 2 tablespoons butter (I used a vegan butter spread)
- 2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups Follow Your Heart Cheddar shreds
- 1 cup Follow Your Heart Fiesta shreds
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 cups French fried onions (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Cook noodles until al dente, drain and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the veggies and garlic and cook until warmed through and slightly soft.
- Add the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne and stir to distribute.
- Combine the vegetable mixture with the pasta, set aside and keep warm on low heat.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, mix in the milk, then the flour.
- Add the cheese and stir until melted.
- Combine the cheese mixture with the pasta and veggies and mix well.
- Pour the mac and cheese into a 9x9 baking dish.
- Sprinkle with bread crumbs and French fried onions.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
Disclosure: I received products to sample but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
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