Baked Buttercup Macaroni

This baked casserole is reminiscent of mac-and-cheese, with a rich, nutty sauce encasing hearty macaroni and a crispy topping. Serve alongside sautéed rapini or kale, and a few scoops of homemade cranberry sauce. I wrote this over 5 years ago, but it’s definitely a favourite that I make  often (or variations of). Excuse the photography — I’m sure you get the idea.

Baked Buttercup Macaroni

Baked Buttercup Macaroni

   

For the casserole
2 cups (480mL) gluten-free macaroni (I like Barilla the best, Tinkyada next)
2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium buttercup squash, roasted, seeded and peeled (about 2 cups (480mL) mashed)
1/4 cup (60mL) roasted cashew butter
3 tablespoons (45mL) nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons (22mL) sweet rice flour (mochiko flour)
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) ground sage
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon (2mL) ground nutmeg
Himalayan or fine sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60mL) unsweetened nondairy milk (as needed)

For the topping:
3 tablespoons (45mL) finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons (30mL) ground flaxseeds

Cook the macaroni to al dente, according to the package directions. Drain well. Use 1 tablespoon (15mL) of the oil to grease a 9-inch square glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the squash, cashew butter, nutritional yeast, sweet rice flour, sage, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper into a food processor. Process until smooth, adding water or milk if the mixture is very thick. It should be about the consistency of a thick sauce.

In a small bowl, stir together the pecans and flaxmeal.

Add the macaroni to the oiled dish. Scrape in the squash mixture, mixing until combined. Sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp on top. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Pie with Brownie Crust

A rich, chocolate peanut butter pie riddled with goodness. You can’t go wrong here, folks. Don’t let all the steps deter you — it comes together quickly, but is best made the day before serving This recipe is super adaptable and versatile, so for a few tips and suggestions, check out the Notes below.

This is one of my two entries in the Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge, put on by Canadian Lentils. The main criteria is to use at least 1/2 cup lentils, but don’t let that turn you off — you seriously aren’t getting a lentil pie here. Instead, they purée into a creamy mass that mingles with chocolate and peanut butter, to create a truffle-like interior that is similar to a New York-style cheesecake.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Pie with Brownie Crust

Brownie Crust
6 tablespoons sorghum flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dark
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (see Notes)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons nondairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crunch Layer
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, preferably mini
1/2 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts

Truffle Filling
1/2 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed well
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Additional dry roasted, salted peanuts, for topping

Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil

Peanut Butter Ganache
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil

To make the Brownie Crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan, then line with parchment paper.

Put the sorghum flour, sugar, cocoa powder, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine. Put the coconut oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Pour the oil mixture into the flour mixture. Stir to combine — it will seem really runny at first, but don’t worry, it thickens quickly and you’ve not gone wrong! Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing evenly. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the top is just firm to the touch. Like brownies, it should seem slightly underdone for the best texture. Let cool completely in the pan.

To start the Truffle Filling, cook the lentils in about 2 cups of water on the stovetop until they are very soft, about 35 minutes, rinsing and draining well at the end. Set aside to cool until the crust is ready.

To make the Crunch Layer, put the chocolate chips and peanuts in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times until the mixture is combined and chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

Once the crust and the lentils are ready, continue with the Truffle Filling. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave (see Notes). Put the lentils in the food processor. Process until smooth. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until completely smooth. Scrape the melted chocolate into the food processor, and process until well combined.

Scrape about half of the Truffle Filling onto the cooled Brownie Crust. Spread evenly. Top with the Crunch Layer, pressing down slightly. Scrape the remaining Truffle Filling onto the Crunch Layer, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with additional peanuts, if desired. Refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight to let the flavors meld together.

When ready to top with the ganaches, remove the pie from the springform pan and transfer to a serving plate. Put the chocolate chips and coconut oil for the Chocolate Ganache in a small bowl. Put the peanut butter and coconut oil for the Peanut Butter Ganache in a second small bowl. Using the microwave, melt both over medium heat in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one, until the chocolate chips are melted, and both are a drizzly consistency. Alternate drizzling each one over the pie. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set the topping. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have a 9-inch springform pan, bake the Brownie Crust in a 9-inch round pan lined with parchment paper. Once it has cooled, remove it from the pan, then line the pan with aluminum foil, making sure it reaches up the sides (this will help you remove it from the pan. Put the Brownie Crust back into the pan (with the parchment still under it. After you do the Truffle Filling and it’s set, use the aluminum foil to help you lift the pie from the pan, then discard the foil and carefully remove the parchment before putting it onto the serving dish.
  • The lentils can easily be made in advance, so if you’re making a big batch, it yields about 1 cup cooked lentils. You want to be sure these are slightly overcooked, as opposed to a little al dente, so they’ll purée smoothly.
  • To melt chocolate on the stovetop, put about 1 inch of water in a small pot. Put a shatterproof bowl on top, making sure it doesn’t come in contact with the water. Put the chocolate in the bowl. Set to medium-low heat and let the water lightly boil. Stir the chocolate frequently until it melts. To melt the chocolate in the microwave, put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one, until smooth.
  • I like using So Delicious brand unsweetened coconut beverage for my nondairy milk of choice. It’s safe for my celiac disease, has a neutral taste, and fantastic texture for baking. If you use dairy-based milk, then choose something on the thick side.
  • I don’t use natural peanut butter here; the creamy stuff adds a fantastic texture and flavor. And the Extra Creamy stuff is really, really fantastic.
  • For the coconut oil, I use the nonvirgin variety to avoid a coconutty flavor, especially in the toppings.
  • If you can’t do an ingredient because you don’t like it, can’t have it, or don’t have it on hand, let me know in the Comments below… I am always loaded with suggestions.

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Cream of Mushroom and Kohlrabi Soup

A handful of ingredients and a short cooking time is all it takes to whip up this creamy soup that’ll highlights the same creaminess found in our favourite condensed can.

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Cream of Mushroom and Kohlrabi Soup

6 large bulbs chopped kohlrabi (about 6 cups)
6 green onions, chopped and whites and greens divided
0.5oz (14g) dried mixed mushrooms
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) ground sage
1/2 teaspoon (3mL) fine sea salt, plus more to taste
2 3/4 cup (660mL) unsweetened nondairy milk
1 cup (240mL) water
1 tablespoon (15mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound (454g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons (45mL) finely chopped fresh sage
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Put the kohlrabi, the whites from the green onions, dried mushrooms, ground sage, and salt in a large pot. Top with the nondairy milk and water. Stir, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the kohlrabi is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the green ends from the green onions and the fresh sage. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Set aside until the kohlrabi is finished.

Once the kohlrabi is cooked through, use an immersion blender to purée the mixture into a soup, adding extra water if needed (if you don’t have an immersion blender, let the mixture cool slightly then purée in batches in a food processor). Once smooth, stir in mushroom mixture. Adjust for seasonings. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.