While attending college in NYC, I LIVED off Annie's 'White Cheddar' Mac & Cheese. I remember thinking it was really healthy because I would add (the cheapest) frozen veggies to bulk it up. I would make four, yes, four boxes at a time and demolish as much as I could in one sitting because...why not?! This paired with my other food staples of peanut butter & jelly and (man, this is embarrassing) frozen raspberries with cool whip (?!?!?) left much to be desired but I felt like I was eating like a queen! While I did have a lot to learn (namely, the answer to why my stomach hurt all the time) I do still get a hankering for that classic, tangy "white cheddar" mac & cheese on occassion. I know the Annie's brand now makes a vegan version but I thought it would be so much better if I finally just attempted it for myself using whole food ingredients. Like any good college recipe this sauce is quick and easy to make - I did it while the pasta boiled! This is a no-frills recipe that is remarkably similar to the purpled-boxed original in taste and texture - but it doesn't start as packet full of white powder, so thats a plus! 

I made this recipe gluten free by using a quinoa + corn shell style pasta (linked below) and kept it college-classic by adding frozen sweet peas - I am admittedly addicted to the combination of sweet peas and this tangy, cheesy sauce. Not the healthiest thing but it surely satisfied my craving in a much more nutritionally responsible way! 

Give it a try yourself and then tell me, what were your 'go-to' meals in college, and do you still crave them?!

While attending college in NYC, I LIVED off Annie's 'White Cheddar' Mac & Cheese. I remember thinking it was really healthy because I would add (the cheapest) frozen veggies to bulk it up. I would make four, yes, four boxes at a time and demolish as much as I could in one sitting because...why not?! This paired with my other food staples of peanut butter & jelly and (man, this is embarrassing) frozen raspberries with cool whip (?!?!?) left much to be desired but I felt like I was eating like a queen! While I did have a lot to learn (namely, the answer to why my stomach hurt all the time) I do still get a hankering for that classic, tangy "white cheddar" mac & cheese on occassion. I know the Annie's brand now makes a vegan version but I thought it would be so much better if I finally just attempted it for myself using whole food ingredients. Like any good college recipe this sauce is quick and easy to make - I did it while the pasta boiled! This is a no-frills recipe that is remarkably similar to the purpled-boxed original in taste and texture - but it doesn't start as packet full of white powder, so thats a plus! 

I made this recipe a bit more nutrient dense by using a quinoa + corn shell style pasta (linked below) but kept it college-classic by adding frozen sweet peas - I am admittedly addicted to the combination of sweet peas and this tangy, cheesy sauce. Not the healthiest thing but it surely satisfied my craving in a much more nutritionally responsible way! 

Give it a try yourself and then tell me, what were your 'go-to' meals in college, and do you still crave them?!


Serves: One, no, actually four, but realistically, one • Prep/Cook Time: 15 minutes all in 


For the Sauce...

  • Scant 3/4 cups raw cashews
  • Apx. 1.5 cups boiling hot water, added 1/2 cup at a time (you don't want the sauce to be too thick or else it won't coat the pasta properly so if doesn't drip off the back of a spoon, keep adding more water)
  • 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice, adjust to taste
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp. stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • splash (maybe 1/2 tsp.) apple cider vinegar
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper
  • salt to taste

And for the pasta...

  • 1 8 oz. box of small 'shell'-style pasta, I used this gluten free Quinoa + Corn variety from Ancient Harvest - so good!
  • 1/2 cup of frozen english peas, or other veggies of your choosing (broccoli or spinach would be great)

1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, drop in your pasta and cook according to packaged instructions. 

2. While the pasta is cooking add all of the sauce ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high till you reach a smooth, even consistency. You want the sauce to appear relativley thin - just like the sauce for Annie's original does, (it will thicken as it cools) so don't be afraid to add more water than you might think necessary. 

NOTE: I used the cooking liquid from the pasta as the hot water in the sauce (because I am just that lazy) but you could also boil water for the sauce separately if you can spare the extra 2 seconds of effort. :)

3. Once your pasta is almost done, drop in the frozen peas to the boiling water for maybe 30 seconds (adjust this time if you are adding larger frozen or fresh). Drain your pasta and veggies. 

4. Pour the sauce from your blender into the empty hot pot and heat slightly. Then add your drained pasta and veggies back in and stir gently to combine. If the sauce appears too thick around the pasta add a bit more hot water.

5. Fill up a bowl and enjoy your creation- ideally when cramming for a test, or in the case of a Parsons student (my alma mater), pulling an all nighter to finish making a miniature-bat-wing out of thread, chalk, toxic glue and plexiglas only to have it fall apart on the way to class.

NOTE: You may want to double the sauce recipe as it makes just enough for one box of pasta!

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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