"Cheezy" Kale Pasta Bake

This is comfort food at its finest.  The "cheezy" sauce for this vegan dinner recipe is made from canned pumpkin, nutritional yeast, and rich cashews.  You can use the sauce for any "cheezy" needs, but here it pairs with brown rice pasta, kale, and red peppers for healthy, gluten-free, oil-free sustenance.  Kids of all ages approve.

MEDIUM          Servings: 4   Ready In: 50 minutes

Cheezy Kale Pasta Bake - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Cheese Comfort Food Dinner Recipe

Cheezy Kale Pasta Bake - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Cheese Comfort Food Dinner Recipe

Chef's Tip: Soaked Cashews help add rich, creamy flavor to this healthy, dairy-free, oil-free vegan recipe

Chef's Tip: Soaked Cashews help add rich, creamy flavor to this healthy, dairy-free, oil-free vegan recipe

Chef's Tip: Cook Kale and Bell Pepper right in with the pasta, during the last minutes of cooking, to simplify the process of making this healthy, vegan casserole

Chef's Tip: Cook Kale and Bell Pepper right in with the pasta, during the last minutes of cooking, to simplify the process of making this healthy, vegan casserole

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 1/2 cups almond milk, unsweetened, plain
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (or butternut squash purée)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 bunch kale (about 4 cups, chopped)
3 servings brown rice pasta shells
1/2 tsp rubbed sage


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Cheezy Kale Pasta Bake - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Cheese Comfort Food Dinner Recipe Pin

Procedure

Gather ingredients. Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil
Soak cashews in warm water for at least an hour, or overnight, to soften 

To make the pasta and veggies: Cook the pasta in boiling water, according to package directions, just shy of done.  You want a the pasta to be "al-dente", with a little "bite".
While the pasta boils, seed and thinly slice the bell pepper
Stem and chop the kale
Add the kale and bell pepper to the pasta during the last minute of cooking. Again, reference the cooking directions on the box of pasta for timing suggestions
When the pasta is al dente, drain and rinse under cold water 

To make the "cheezy" sauce: Drain the cashews. 
Place the cashews a microwave-safe container along with the canned pumpkin, almond milk, and dried spices. 
Microwave for 1-1:30 minutes
The mix should be very aromati
Place the cheesy mix to a blender with the nutritional yeast. 
Purée until creamy. This might take a few minutes, depending on how long your cashews soaked 

To finish the pasta bake: Combine the cooked pasta veggie mix with the cheezy sauce. Taste to adjust seasoning
Pour into a 9x9 inch pan. 
Cover and bake at 350F 30 Minutes. 
Uncover for 10 More minutes of baking

Dive in

Chef's Tip: For ultimate over-the-top, you can add breadcrumbs or slivered almonds to the top before baking.  This will give this dish a crunchy crust, sure to win over any picky eaters.


Step-by-Step Photos:

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving (1/4 recipe)

Amount Per Serving
Calories 303.19
Calories From Fat (20%) 60.6
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.01g 11%
Saturated Fat 1.19g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 102.19mg 4%
Potassium 641.69mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 51.74g 17%
Fiber 7.71g 31%
Sugar 5.33g
Protein 11.89g 24%
Calcium 82.57mg 8%
Iron 159.5mg 886%
Vitamin A 20424.39IU 408%
Vitamin C 0mg 0


This ain't your typical cheese...this is Nacho "Geez!" This healthy, oil-free vegan sauce uses soaked cashews and canned pumpkin for rich creaminess. This is an easy dairy-free recipe, kid-approved and comfort food for adults. More plant-based recipes at: www.plants-rule.com