Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
- ½ cup cashews, raw, soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 large carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- A pinch of pepper, to taste
- 10 ounces gluten-free macaroni pasta, uncooked
Almond Breadcrumb Topping (optional)
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
1. Soak cashews in hot water for about 1 hour until tender, then drain. Skip this step if using a powerful blender.
2. Make pumpkin cheese sauce: heat avocado oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook while stirring for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and almost translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic. Then add in the vegetable broth and the chopped carrots and cook for another 5 minutes until the carrots are fork tender.
3. Pour the onion-garlic-carrot mixture into a blender along with the drained cashews and pumpkin puree: blend until smooth. Add nutritional yeast. Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper; blend once more and adjust seasoning to taste.
4. Cook pasta: In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in dry macaroni. Cook pasta one minute shy from the recommended cook time in the package instructions.
5. Optional: while waiting for the pasta to cook, make the breadcrumb topping by blending the almonds, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt to a coarse mixture. Do not over blend. Set aside.
6. When pasta is done cooking, drain and place back into the pot. Pour the blended pumpkin cheese sauce into the same pot and cook until everything is warmed through.
7. Optional: transfer mac and cheese into a casserole dish, top with breadcrumb topping, and broil for 1-2 minutes while keeping a close eye to prevent burning. Serve immediately.
8. If you are planning to store this mac and cheese, it is recommended to store the pasta, sauce, and topping separately because the pasta will absorb the sauce and become dry rather quickly. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Boost your vegetables: add spinach or grated zucchini to the sauce
*Nutrition Facts calculated with almond breadcrumb topping
You may have heard that nuts, beans, and whole grains are not a great choice for a kidney-friendly diet because they are high in phosphorus. Wondering why we include them in many of our recipes? We include beans, nuts, and whole grains because only about 40% of phosphorus found in these plant foods are absorbed by humans. This makes them a good fit for most people’s diets! If you have questions about adding these foods to your diet, please reach out to your dietitian.