Gluten-free chickpea shells, crispy roasted broccoli and a slew of fancy garnishes like chopped pistachios make this mac and cheese extra special.
Just The Food:
This mac and cheese features:
- Gluten-free chickpea shells for more fiber and plant-based protein.
- Roasted broccoli to reduce the inevitable food coma that comes with the magical combination of cheese and pasta.
- Nutritional yeast for added cheesiness and nutritional complexity.
- Chopped pistachios for crunch and to show off just a tad.
- Red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
And it all comes together with just a tiny bit more work than the instant, box versions. What else do you need?!?
Just The Personal:
I’ve been listening to a LOT of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episodes in an effort to create and nurture my own spiritual practice (a very unexpected development). Oprah’s interviews have become my moving church. They accompany me while I brew my coffee in the morning, while I flip pancakes, while I do dishes, and while I walk with Julep. (If you ever see me ugly crying on the street, with headphones, you’ll know why.)
Listening to such positive content inspires me to be a more positive person. I promise, I am really trying not to become too preachy or drink too much of Oprah’s Kool-Aid, but damn, the messages are, as the name implies, good for the soul.
They’ve all impacted my life in little ways, but Oprah’s interview with Paralympic snowboarder and Dancing With The Stars alum, Amy Purdy, shifted my daily life. Amy nearly died of bacterial meningitis as a teenager. She lost both of her legs below the knees, but she never let that disability stop her. In recounting her near-death experience to Oprah, she talked about being outside her body but refusing to give up.
Regardless of your beliefs about the afterlife or these types of experiences, what she described was so profoundly simple and worth considering. She thought about everything she loved about life and this world, and that’s why she came back. What’s surprising is how simple her list was. It was all sensory experiences like the smell of rain and the sound of ocean waves.
It made me think: what do I love about this world?
So I made a list. I started to really look at the world around me, to list everything that made me feel happiness and gratitude, and I began to feel differently. I felt lighter and more connected at the same time.
Here’s what I wrote:
JULEP!!!!!!! Julep! Julep! Julep! Julep! Julep! Julep!
my family, my friends, my chosen family
chonky puppy paws
puppies puppies puppies (are you live-streaming these service pups yet?)
music & dance
risk & reward
Impressionism & especially Monet
carpets of magnolia petals
the golden hour
little grape hyacinths
cheeseburgers, especially on Friday nights
… MACARONI AND CHEESE!
What would be on your list?
What about this world do you love and cherish? If mac and cheese makes your list, and I hope it does, give this recipe a try. It’s all the comfort of mac and cheese with some extra garnishes to feel a little fancier, a little extra special.
You Might Also Like:
If you like crispy, roasted broccoli as much as I do, you might like this recipe for Roasted Broccoli Caesar Bowl with Parmesan Quinoa Crisps, from my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook. It features a homemade caesar dressing with cashews for extra healthy creaminess.
It’s very intentional that “JULEP!!!!!!! Julep! Julep! Julep! Julep! Julep! Julep!” topped my list of what I love about the world.
Mac And Cheese with Roasted Broccoli & Fancy Garnishes
- 1 head of broccoli
- 2 Tablespoons high-heat oil such as avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 8 oz gluten-free chickpea shells uncooked
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons chickpea flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder optional
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed and drained
- Red pepper flakes
- Pistachios coarsely chopped
- Nutritional yeast
- Fresh dill
For the Broccoli
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the broccoli florets with the oil, salt, and black pepper. Arrange the vegetables evenly on a sheet pan, and bake until the vegetables are golden brown, about 18-22 minutes, tossing occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta.
For the Pasta
- Cook the macaroni shells according to package instructions. Drain, and set aside.
For the Cheese Sauce
- Mix the flour, sea salt, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute, until the mixture is slightly brown.
- Add the milk, and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the Greek yogurt, and whisk until smooth.
- Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture is thickened (about 3-5 minutes). Do not let it boil.
- Once the mixture is thick (sticks to the back of the spatula), reduce the heat to low and add the cheese. Whisk until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Taste and add more salt/seasoning if desired.
- Add the cooked pasta, roasted broccoli and peas to the pot of cheese sauce, and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed.
- Let the mac and cheese cool for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese sauce has thickened a little bit and sticks to the noodles. Serve warm, and garnish with red pepper flakes, chopped pistachios, nutritional yeast and fresh dill.