Meet my dinner last night: Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheez. Totally served up seconds with this dish on the table.
Thick and creamy, spicy "cheese" sauce coats tender pasta shells. Dollop on a few more spoonfuls of sauce and pile on spicy, crispy, sizzling nubbins of Field Roast chipotle sausage - sautéed with zesty diced onion. The final step: green, fresh, fragrant chopped cilantro on top.
Each bite pairs bold spiciness with cozy, oozy, creaminess. And while this pasta is totally decadent - it's also loaded with healthy stuff! Sweet potatoes and beans anyone? Recipe ahead..
Sin Meets Goodness. This recipe is for satisfying your cheesy mac cravings. Or, cheesy shell cravings. So yes there is some serious decadence in this recipe. But I actually was totally out of Daiya and pre-made vegan cheese - so there is none in this recipe. The creaminess comes from some Earth Balance vegan butter and Silk plain vegan creamer. Richness complete.
But don't brush this off as a 'bad for you' dish. This sauce is amped up with a full can of white beans and a hefty dose of whole roasted sweet potato. Plus a nice scoop of nutritional yeast. And if you really want to purify your mac - simply reduce the vegan butter and switch out the soy creamer for soy milk.
Inspired by What? Do you remember those 90's commercials for Velveeta cheesy salsa. They'd cube the neon orange, weird processed "cheese" chunks and microwave them with a jar of bottled salsa and "voila!" - you have a crazy orange concoction of cheese sauce with salsa. Salsa cheese dip. Well I loved that commercial. It just looked fun. And how genius to pair orange, sharp cheese with bold chunky salsa for instant dip enjoyment! :)
..But of course, the components of that recipe are pretty appalling to me now. And not vegan. Fake cheese and bad salsa doesn't really turn me on - so I took what I liked about that recipe (the cheese meets salsa) and veganized it to yumminess for this Spicy Chipotle Cheesy Pasta. Filing this recipe under -> cravings.
Funny how inspiration often comes from the dark food-memory-filled corners of my brain.
Spicy Chipotle Mac/Shells and Cheez with Cilantro and Field Roast Vegan Sausage
vegan, makes 4 hefty servings
about 6 cups of cooked pasta (shells, elbows..)
Spicy Cheesy Sauce:
1 can cannellini beans, drained
5-7 Tbsp vegan butter, Earth Balance (melted)
1 1/2 cups sweet potato, baked/peeled
1/2 cup chunky roasted spicy salsa (bottled) OR 1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup plain soy creamer
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup+ nutritional yeast
black pepper to taste
2 Spicy Chipotle Field Roast Vegan Sausages, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp safflower oil
garnish: fresh cilantro
1. Start off by boiling your pasta water and cooking your pasta.
2. While the pasta is boiling you can be baking your sweet potato in the microwave (or bake ahead of time in oven) and start you stove top sauté.
3. To saute pan, add oil and heat on med-high. Add the diced onion and sausage - and optional mushrooms. Saute until the sausage browns and edges become crispy. Turn off heat and let sauté rest in pan.
4. Blend up your sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
5. Add your sauce to the steaming hot pasta. Fold well. The hot pasta will warm the sauce.
6. Add the sausage and onion mix to the top of the pasta and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately or keep in warm oven until ready to serve.
note: for extra cheesy pasta, toss the warm pasta in an extra scoop of nutritional yeast before adding sauce (this step is for all the nutria yeast addicts out there - like me!)
note: add more hot sauce over top the serving platter for extra spicy pasta. You could even serve with an extra spoonful of salsa over top each plate of pasta.