Yep, you read that right and it’s excellent!
Using some authentic Italian pasta shells from Flora along with cheddar style cheezy sauce from Daiya Foods, I was able to make a childhood favorite, vegan style! Since I pack this full of nutrient rich veggies and some meat alternatives, I call this my “Loaded Vegan Mac & Cheese.”
Remember, pasta is full of carbs and not the best thing to eat if you’re watching your figure but I figured if we’re going to do it, let’s do this BIG.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Stuffed Shells (or a short pasta of your choice)
- One Packet of Cheddar Style Cheezy Sauce (comes in box of 3-4)
- 4 strips of vegan bacon from Morning Star (optional)
- Vegan Butter / Avocado Oil (optional)
- Seasoning (I used basil, cilantro + turmeric)
- Follow Your Heart vegan parmesan cheese
- Public Goods Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce
- 1 cup of fresh broccoli
- 1 zucchini (peeled)
- 1 pepper
PREP TIME: 10 min / COOK TIME: 20 min / SERVINGS: 4
First things first, gauge how long your pasta takes. This bag of shells takes 10 mins. Fill a large pot with water, salt and a dollop of avocado oil. Bring water to a boil on high heat.
While you’re waiting, get your veggies prepped and ready to cook. I like to chop all of them up using a food processor before placing on the skillet, just to make things easier but if you don’t have that, simply cut up the broccoli, (peeled) zucchini and pepper to about dime size pieces.
Add all the veggies to a large skillet with vegan butter / avocado oil and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick.
If you’re adding, now grab some “meat” (I use either Morning Star or Beyone Meat as a substitute) and chop that up in small pieces to add in your skillet, continue to cook on medium heat for about 10-15 min or until you get the desired texture.
Now, your water should be boiling in the pot! Place your pasta in slowly and cook for 10 min on medium heat (or whatever the pasta calls for).
When the pasta is ready, strain it in the sink with cold water (this will prevent the pasta from cooking more). After a few minutes to let it cool, toss the pasta back in the pot and place on the burner, on the lowest setting – cause we’re not done yet!
Optional: You can add a secret ingredient from some of our Italian friends, use a lil vino to cook 😉 well, you probably already do this lol but it’s an important step! FYI, For red sauces, I use red wine and for light sauces (or in this case, cheesy sauce) I use white. Remember, you don’t want to use GOOD wine for cooking just some decent wine that you keep in the fridge.
Once you give these little guys a stir in the pot for a couple minutes add in your desired seasoning (optional), I like to use Turmeric for some flavor/orange color along with some Cilantro because it’s awesome on everything.
Next up, add your toppings (aka the LOADED part of this recipe)! Now, we’ll transfer the veggies from the skillet to the large pot with the pasta. Add the Cheezy Sauce from Daiya Foods, stirring it in the pasta for even distribution. I like to do about half of this packet. Somethings these packets might have too much sauce and I only end up using about 1/2 of it.
Continue to stir in all the ingredients for about 2-3 mins (again, on the lowest burner setting).
And that’s all folks, scoop your beautiful pasta in a bowl and for a little top off, I like to use fresh basil along with some vegan parmesan (below) and my favorite thing, some Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce from Public Goods!
If you don’t follow Public Goods already, you should check them out on Instagram. They have tons of great products, all sustainable and low impact to the environment plus they look beautiful. Everything from canned foods, pasta, oatmeal, delicious sauces, cleaning supplies, snacks, candles – you name it, they probably have it. They’re big supporters of the podcast so if you head to pubicgoods.com and use the code TONYPGA at check out you’ll get a nice discount.
You can even check out some other delicious recipes I used with Public Goods on my site, like this Fusilli Recipe.
Thanks for checking out this blog. Stay Healthy, Eat Healthy and Enjoy Life!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out The Berardo Podcast on all platforms, visit theberardo.com/thepodcast for listening options.