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.
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.
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!
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.
the entire dish is baked for about 30 minutes or until the top is crispy and the filling gets all bubbly
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.
not only perfect for Sundays but also perfect for potluck's, dinner with friends and bbq's.
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
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 cup unsweetened rice puffs - slightly crushed/chopped
*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.