Tuesday, April 24, 2012

sweet potato kale mac n' cheeze

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cold, rainy days are perfect for snuggling with kitty, a cup of tea alongside a good book & chunky cable knit throw and cozy comfort food. the kind of comfort food that wraps around you like a big hug.

one of my favorite comfort food's, hands down is homemade baked mac n' cheeze.
growing up we use to eat Kraft mac n' cheese like it was going out of style.
my mac n' cheeze tastes have grown up a bit. i love pureeing different veggies and using them as the base for my mac n' cheeze. in the fall/winter i usually use some type of winter squash - roasted butternut or delicata being my favorite two. being fresh out of winter squash & frozen bisque's i needed to improvise.

it was raining this past Sunday and i was craving baked mac n' cheeze - who was the super hero of the weekend? sweet potato. sweet potato saved the day and proved to be an awesome mac n' cheeze all star.

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for those of you that frequent smbp you know i love to layer flavors and textures.
sunflower, our natural foods store had some local Siberian kale -
oh local organic greens how i've missed you.
so Siberian kale was a shoo in , then the thought of maple syrup (local of course) randomly popped into my head - sweet potatoes love maple syrup, Justin wouldn't be eating this so why not be adventurous.
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during breakfast i was catching up on my everyday food magazine from Martha, in it was a gluten free recipe for mac n' cheese that featured puffed rice as the crunchy topping - i had to try it.
i wasn't sure how it was going to turn out - let me tell you, never doubt Martha. it was amazing!
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the sweet potatoes are steamed then pureed with almond milk using an immersion blender. daiya cheddar shreds, maple syrup, baby Siberian kale, salt, white pepper and cooked elbow noodles are added to the sweet potato puree and mixed all together.
the rice puffs are slightly crushed/chopped and stirred with melted butter, then sprinkled over the top.
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the entire dish is baked for about 30 minutes or until the top is crispy and the filling gets all bubbly

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the verdict - omg, one of the best mac n' cheezes i have ever made. the flavors where incredible, i absolutely loved the maple syrup and kale paired with the sweet potatoes.
so.good.

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from start to finish the entire dish probably took me about 1 hour which included the steaming, blending & baking. not bad when you have nothing to do but be lazy and eat good food on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
(truth is i am like this every Sunday rainy or not)
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not only perfect for Sundays but also perfect for potluck's, dinner with friends and bbq's.
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Sweet Potato Kale Mac n' Cheeze
serves 8 as a side or 4 as a main

you will need:
1 medium sweet potato peeled, cubed & steamed
1 cup (dry) whole wheat elbows or gluten free pasta elbows 
2 cups almond milk
1 tbsp pure NH maple syrup
1 cup daiya cheddar shreds
handful of Siberian kale (about 2 cups)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

topping
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 cup unsweetened rice puffs - slightly crushed/chopped

assembly:
*pre heat oven to 400*

steam sweet potato until tender, about 15 minutes
cook pasta according to box directions , drain pasta and set aside
in a medium sauce pan puree steamed sweet potato & almond milk until smooth.
over medium heat add maple syrup, daiya cheddar shreds, kale, white pepper & salt, stir until daiya has melted.
add cooked & drained noodles & stir. transfer mac n' cheeze to a baking dish of your choice.

in the same pan melt butter. add rice puffs & stir until well coated. sprinkle the puffs over the top of the mac n' cheeze. bake in the pre heated oven for 30 minutes. (I like to bake mine on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any potential spill overs)

remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.

leftovers store well in the fridge or freezer.

enjoy!


Yum

46 comments:

  1. I am just not a creative cook like this. I get about as far as stir frying my assorted vegetables and trying to decide between couscous and quinoa. I love sweet potatoes, kale, and mac so this combination has to be dreamy!

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    1. I just finished the last of it for lunch today - even better the following day!

      Believe me there are nights when we have veggie wraps and sweet potato fries - most nights are pretty basic, Justin isn't as adventurous eater as I am :)

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  2. What a fantastic looking dish! I love sweet potatoes... I love kale... and I love mac n' cheese. It's almost like you had me in mind when you created this! :)

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    1. I abslolutely had you in mind when making this - it should be renamed Barb's Dreamy Mac n' Cheeze

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  3. Rainy days..tea, cats and books are always great. I just need to add your recipes to my next rainy day.. It looks delicious!!

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    1. Aren't they, I love a rainy day once in a while - all that's missing is the fireplace in my house, when I have that I will be in heaven!

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  4. Oh, man! I miss rainy days. It hardly every rains in Denver (300+ days of completely clear skies and sunshine a year) - but this Thurs/Fri we're supposed to get some storms.. and I am so. freaking. excited. I might just have to make this mac'n cheese, because I've never even attempted such a recipe since going vegan and gluten free.

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    1. 300 + days of sunshine, I think I found where I am moving when I head out west someday to find my Dream House and Barn Studio!

      Enjoy your Stormy weather :)

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  5. Oooh, my tummy is rumbling! The Boyfriend would never touch this, though. I'll have to sneak this in the next time I'm alone, haha!

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    1. Justin wouldn't even take a bite - he was like "that's just not for me Hun" can you make me a veggie wrap and fries was next out of his mouth :)

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  6. OMG. I'm drooling. I'm very seriously drooling all over my keyboard.

    MUST MAKE THIS ASAP.

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    1. Yes you must make this ASAP and tell me how it was...heres a tissue to help wipe up that drool :)

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  7. sweet potato mac and cheese with KALE?! this..is amazing, girl. and i think it is ridiculously awesome/adorable that the topping includes rice puffs!

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    1. You & Dayv actually came up in a discussion about the rice puffs - Justin was all like "these are honey smacks, I love Honey smacks" I was trying to explain to him that it was maple syrup he was smelling....he decided to convince himself by taking a big handful and eating the plain rice puffs - "no they are just like honey smacks, a little sugar and almond milk - so good for breakfast" I told him that you and him obvisouly share a love for plain rice puffs while Dayv and I are still looking for the sugar coated golden crisp that we just know are hiding in the cupboard :)

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    2. haha LOVE THAT!! it makes me feel so special that we came up in conversation <3

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  8. that is one gorgeous mac and cheeze.. i love those rice puffs on top. I need to get some sweet potatoes this weekend and make some of this creamy gorgeous deliciousness! it rains pretty much all weekends here.. so i cant use that as an excuse.. i can definitely make this an early friday night movie side!

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    1. It was so creamy without cream or a pound of cheeze - so much better for you!

      This would definitely be a perfect side fo Movie night - pizza and beer is typically our movie night treat, but I would definitely be happy with this once in awhile!

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    2. just remembered your vega question.. i havent tried it yet. but i ordered some.. will let you know if i suddenly start running marathons ;)

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  9. I love the idea of using rice puffs as a crunchy topping! I'm drooling just thinking about this. It's been rainy here too and I'm craving some serious comfort food!

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    1. Isn't it funny how cold rainy weather does that to you - I instantly want to cuddle up with some warm slw baked food a cup of tea and a book - love days like that once in a while!

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  10. The rice puffs seem interesting to me, but it's things like "vegan butter" and "daiya cheddar shards" that pique my curiousity. I'll look for them the next time I'm at Whole Foods.

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    1. Vegan butter isn't very exciting but the Daiya is an amazing Vegan "cheeze" - you should definitely give them a go at least once in your life :)

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  11. That looks like a killer mac n cheese! I've never seen anything like it but I would sure love some! Super!

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    1. Thanks Fern! It was a pretty killer mac n' cheeeze :)

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  12. Can you suggest anything to substitute for the Siberian kale if I have all the ingredients and I just want to make it now?

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    1. Hello!

      Baby Spinach, Swiss Chard or Arugula would all be excellent substitutes!

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  13. I am officially no longer mad at Martha Stewart. Now I'm just mad that I have everything but the sweet potatoes. I do, however, have some butternut squash. Thanks for making me glad instead of mad. Sometime do what my mom did, make us shut our eyes and open our mouths which come to think of it could be a freaky experience although usually rewarding as well.

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    1. Well I'm glad that you are not mad at Martha too! The Butternut Squash would work beautifully in this - you totally make this with the Butternut Squash :)

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  14. Last night I made roasted kale with sweet potato fries but didn't think of pairing them with mac 'n cheez. freakin genius. Martha and I have had some fisticuffs over at my blog.

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  15. What an awesome twist on Boring Mac n cheese - I would never have dreamed of sweet potato joining the party! Exceptional :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  16. Sounds absolutely delicious! I love kale!

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    1. I just recently started loving kale...it alll began with adding it to my morning juices, I can't seem to get enough of it!

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  17. Mmm I like your idea of comfort food - this week has been so gloomy so something like this would be perfect! I love the combination of sweet potatoes and kale, and I never would have thought to top it with rice puffs either! And I see you gave me another idea for a way to use my white pepper!

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    1. Isn't white pepper the greatest! The rice puffs were quite good better then expected

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  18. I made your mac and cheese but I substituted the siberian kale with black kale and doubled the recipe. It was AMAZING! Everyone loved it- I brought it to a potluck and non-vegans and vegans simply could not get enough of it. Thank for posting this recipe! You sent many people into blissful happiness. Haha

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    1. This makes me so happy to read! I bet the black kale was amazing, I am glad to know that the recipe doubled well and vegans & nin- vegans alike enjoyed it!

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  19. This is such a perfect rainy day food! I'm a huge macaroni and cheese lover...and seriously need to think about making it healthier :)

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    1. Well then, this is definitely your Mac n' Cheese!

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  20. Thanks for the comment on my Sweet Potato Miso Soup, Heather! This Sweet Potato Kale Mac n' Cheeze is also super inspiring. I guess it's a great week for sweet potatoes! :)

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    1. Any day is a great day for sweet potatoes, they are so amazing!

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  21. My love for sweet potato and guilt whenever I eat regular baked macaroni and cheese make this a definite bookmark! Just found your blog (I moved to Keene from Boston for work 6 months ago and was hunting around today for some more NH-based New England blogs to follow) - so glad I did! Beautiful.

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    1. Hi Aimee! I am so happy that you stopped over, I love meeting other New England Bloggers:)

      Your job sounds amazing, what a great opportunity to work with Yankee Magazine!

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  22. Wow I need this in my mouth immediately. Looks and sounds incredible. Yay definitely love the kale aspect :)

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