When I asked the question on Facebook today, “What food do you wish was Paleo?” I got quite a few “Mac N Cheese” responses. Honestly I didn’t plan on experimenting in the kitchen today because I woke up feeling yucky – and I have been trying to tell myself to chiiiiiiilll a little bit more. Overdoing it is my specialty apparently.
But when I saw this overwhelming response, the wheels started turning… naturally. I just love experimenting and seeing what I can come up with to meet the “needs of the people.” And playing in the kitchen is cathartic for me too; it distracts me from any lingering symptoms that sneak in and remind me I am not quite “back to normal.”
So instead of resting (shame shame), I got to playing. It was so fun too! I started with the cheese sauce because honestly I figured that would be the hardest part since I already wrote the NOODLE recipe, I knew I could adapt that recipe and then smother some “cheese” sauce and hopefully make a tasty option for those of us missing the good stuff. Oh and by the way, you know those recipes that you love because they take like 8.2 minutes total to throw together and call a meal? Yeah, this is NOT one of those. Make this when you have time and when you are in the mood to make homemade pasta. Otherwise, spoon the cheese sauce over zoodles and call it a day. Homemade pasta is a labor of love. Fact.
A note about the Noodles – you can virtually make them into any shape you like. In the photos below I am showing you three ways I made them today. To make the “O’s” you roll a piece of the dough into a really thin “snake” and then pinch off pieces and make little o’s by hand. To make “MACARONI” you simply roll out a really thin “snake” with a piece of the dough and then pinch of short macaroni sized pieces and drop into the boiling water until they float. Or you can just roll little balls and drop them in the water too. Whatever pasta shape you prefer you can make. Remember the smaller the noodles the more time consuming but if you are trying to make little picky mouths happy, it might just be worth the effort! Also remember that the noodles will “grow” in the water so if you want teeny noodles, make sure you are starting even smaller than the desired end result.
To make the CHEESE SAUCE:
- 2 cups flax milk (or preferred dairy free milk)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or more if desired)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil, olive oil, or preferred fat
- 3 teaspoons tomato sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- UP TO 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard (you can start lower and work up)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (this provides a little tang)
- Pinch paprika
- UP TO 1/4 teaspoon turmeric – NOTE: this is mostly for color but if you like turmeric you can go up to 1/4 teaspoon. If you are sensitive to the flavor start with just a pinch and go up from there.
- Salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Optional: 1 small bay leaf
- Optional: UP TO 1/4 cup ghee to add more of a “buttery” taste
- 2-3 tablespoons tapioca flour
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan except for the tapioca (this includes ghee + bay leaf if using)
- Bring to a simmer, whisking continually
- Taste and add in more of the seasonings you wish or dilute with more milk if necessary
- Once the flavor has been adjusted to your desired preference, make a slurry with 1 tablespoon of the tapioca by removing 3 tablespoons of the cheese sauce from the sauce pan and mixing in the 1 tablespoon of tapioca
- Reintroduce the slurry back into the cheese sauce, whisking until it begins to thicken
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your desired thickness has been reached
- Remove bay leaf and spoon over freshly made Paleo Pasta Noodles