Creamy Hidden Veggie Macaroni

I had finally broke down and tried it. A creamy sauce for pasta made from vegetables and seasoning. I can’t say it taste like macaroni and cheese, but it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals and still have a high-fiber, low-fat creamy pasta side dish that can be made dairy-free. I’ve tried a few different versions and then I needed to add my own flavor to it. I like my “cheese” to be tangy, so by adding the miso and yellow mustard it adds that tangy/fermented cheese flavor that I look for. Also the nutritional yeast. I’m sure I’ll have a post about it soon enough, but the benefits it adds when you use it as a topping or a seasoning are pretty impressive.

Check out the benefits!

I looked up a few different “Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipes” and put them into my nutrient calculator that I use. Here are some staggering numbers.

 

Classic Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup Serving): 

  • 350 to 750 calories
  • 23 g fat (35% DV) to 39 g fat (60% DV)

Hidden Veggie Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup Serving):

  • 297 calories
  • 3.9 g fat

 

Not that I don’t enjoy an occasional cheesy side dish, but I think this recipe is definitely something to be tried. I don’t think of this as “macaroni and cheese” but a “creamy macaroni side”. For me, it fills the craving for something that looks and feels like it should be a lot worse than it is. Let me say this too – low-fat is good for some things. There is a definite need for fat in your diet, but you don’t need 30-80% of your average daily intake to be in 1 cup of food on a regular basis. I like to take my fat and spread it around like butter throughout my day. So to keep things balanced, and to keep on track with my goals without going too overboard with creamy fattening cravings, I like using this version.

Creamy Hidden Veggie Macaroni

  • Servings: 12 servings or 1 casserole dish if baking, 1 cup per serving
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. whole wheat macaroni (or less *see leftover sauce freezing note)
  • OR use a gluten free variety
  • 2 cups yellow potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes, dry, not in oil
  • 1 1/2 cup water (from boiling vegetables)
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream *see note
  • OR 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt, optional
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp miso, optional *see note
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard

Directions

  1. Cook pasta to package directions and set aside.
  2. Put the potatoes, carrots, onion, and sun dried tomatoes in a pot and fill with just enough water to cover the vegetables. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Once they are done, take out 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable water and put into a blender. Add in the cooked vegetables and the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  4. Top your cooked pasta with the sauce, add salt if needed, and enjoy a creamy pasta without any guilt!

Coconut Cream | Use canned coconut milk, or now I’ve seen canned coconut cream. Do not shake. Open the can and the cream will have separated from the water. The cream will not be sweet or have much of a coconut taste. There should be about 1/2 or more coconut cream in one can.

Miso | Regular miso is made from fermented soy beans and is used in Japanese cooking. They are now making chickpea miso, which is what I use, as a soy-free alternative. It adds a tangy taste to the sauce like cheddar would do, so I recommend using it, but it is optional. Since miso is fermented, it’s very good for balancing gut bacteria and in effect, healthy for digestion.


Nutritional Information

297 calories | 3.9 g total fat | 0.2 g saturated fat | 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.4 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 198 mg sodium | 53 g carbohydrates | 7.8 g fiber | 1.5 g sugar | 12.8 g protein

Macro Sources

71% Carbohydrates | 12% Fat | 17% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.9 Grain
  • 0.2 Meat Alternative
  • 0.6 Vegetables
Freeze Leftover Sauce

I will freeze the rest of the sauce that I don’t use if I am not using 2 pounds of pasta at once. Freeze in a gallon bag and lay it flat. Freeze up to two weeks at the most. When ready to use, take it out the morning you will be using it and let it defrost in the fridge. You may need to add a little more flavoring with added nutritional yeast and salt, but it should be good to go!

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Green Chili Enchiladas

This recipe is something I make whenever we need a special meal: officially being moved in to a new place, an anniversary, my hormones deciding I need something gooey and fattening… Whatever calls for something to be deceptively nutritious and comforting. I make this with hearts of palm and plain low fat yogurt for a vegetarian/plant-based version, but you can easily make it with chicken and a plain low fat yogurt. (If you want a little more fat, use sour cream or coconut cream from the can, only using the cream and not the water that is at the bottom of the can.) I have the nutrition information for both versions below.

High Fiber
  • Aids in Digestion
  • Aids in Detoxing
  • Normalizes Blood Sugar Levels
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Aids in Weight Maintenance
Low-Fat

If you are watching the amount of fat you intake or just want a lighter dish than your regular creamy enchilada recipe, using the plain low-fat yogurt is a great swap!

  • Dairy-free yogurt: I’ve used the Kite Hill unsweetened almond yogurt
  • Nut-free and Dairy-free: A plain unsweetened soy yogurt should work
Easily Adaptable
  • Already Soy-Free
  • Already Dairy-Free
  • Already Plant Based
  • More Plant Based Protein: Use soy or seitan products instead of hearts of palm
  • Gluten Free: Use corn tortillas instead of whole wheat

 

 

Green Chili Enchiladas

  • Servings: 12-14 Large Enchiladas | 6+ Servings | 2 Enchiladas per Serving
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Ingredients

    Enchiladas
  • 1-2 tbsp oil, optional if using a non-stick skillet
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 can hearts of palm, pulled into shreds OR 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 “chicken” bouillon cube OR use veggie broth instead of water
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 can low fat vegetarian re-fried beans
  • salt to taste
  • 12+ whole wheat OR corn tortillas
  • Low Fat Green Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened low-fat yogurt
  • 1 15 oz can green chili sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, if using the coconut cream
  • Toppings
  • Green Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Limes

If using the coconut cream, the best way is to buy a can of full-fat coconut milk. Do not shake the can, and if you have the time, put it in the fridge for a few hours. The coconut water will separate from the coconut cream. Most of the time it does this on its own if it’s not shaken. Use only the cream. It does not have much of a coconut taste.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9-by-13 pan.
  2. Heat oil in skillet, if using. Add onion and sautee until translucent. Add pulled hearts of palm or shredded cooked chicken and sautee for a few minutes more until the onions and hearts of palm/chicken start to brown.
  3. Add water, “chicken” bouillon or 1 cup vegetable broth, chili powder, and garlic powder and simmer with the hearts of palm/chicken mixture. Simmer 20-25 minutes making sure most of the liquid is gone and the bouillon cube is dissolved.
  4. Add the re-fried beans and mix together. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  5. Sauce
  6. Add all sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Assembly
  8. Add a few tbsp of the hearts of palm/re-fried bean mixture on one tortilla and a small bit of the sauce. If using corn tortillas, you will need to make sure they are not cold and that they are dipped into the sauce, otherwise they might crack. Repeat until your 9-by-13 pan is full. You want to make sure it’s tight and completely full if possible so the enchiladas don’t dry out in the oven.
  9. Cover the enchiladas with the rest of the sauce, making sure all corners are covered.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before eating.

Nutritional Information

With Hearts of Palm Per Serving: 

387 calories | 12.6 g fat | 1.5 g polyunsaturated | 5.2 g monounsaturated | 4.8 g saturated | 0 g trans fats | 0 g cholesterol | 784 mg sodium | 56 g carbohydrates | 13 g fiber | 6 g total sugar | 14 g protein | 71% vitamin C | 31% calcium | 38% magnesium | 26% iron

With Chicken Per Serving: 

445 calories | 14 g fat | 1.8 g polyunsaturated | 5.9 g monounsaturated | 5.2 g saturated | 0 g trans fats | 36 mg cholesterol | 601 mg sodium | 54 g carbohydrates | 12 g fiber | 6 g total sugar | 25.8 g protein | 66% vitamin C | 29% calcium | 35% magnesium | 21% iron