Butternut Squash "Mac & Cheese" 

Time: 20 minutes    Serves:                                             Ingrediants;                                                                                                                        -2 c pasta (I like Colavita gnocchi pasta)                                                                -1/4 c raw cashews, soaked **                                                                                      -1/2 c premade butternut squash soup (I like the Pacific brand)                        -1 1/2 tbsp plant based milk, unsweetened                                                              -1 tbsp nutritional yeast                                                                                                -1/4 tsp salt                                                                                                                          -1 tsp lemon juice                                                                                                              -dash of paprika, pepper, and garlic powder                                                                                                                                           

Before I went vegan in 2017, I had a bit of a problem... I was heavily addicted to cheese. My favorite thing to eat growing up was cheese, so ironically enough, my family nicknamed me "cheese". Mac & cheese was a divine dish to me; I plowed through more boxes in a month than I could count on both hands. Thank god for my fast metabolism.

As I started to learn more about healthy eating, I discovered that dairy was not as magical of a food group as I once thought it was. In fact, it was doing me more harm than good... My world was shattered. One of the many negative things about comsuming dairy is that it is highly inflammatory. As an auto immune disease sufferer, I was quite disturbed to hear this. Could all of this cheese be fueling my disease? I knew that I needed to make a change, but how could I give up the luscious, creamy pasta I constantly craved??

Here is how I survived my mac & cheese detox.

1. In a large pot, boil water with a pinch of salt and cook pasta as directed.

2. In a small blender or food processor, add soaked cashews, soup, plant based milk, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, and seasonings. Blend until it creates a smooth, rich sauce.

3. Strain pasta, then put back in empty pot. Add cream sauce and mix until all pasta is evenly covered.

4. Enjoy!  ♡

**For best results, I recommend soaking your raw cashews in 1 cup of water the night before. This is so the cashews become soft and very easy to blend. If you are in a pinch and need to make this quick, however, you can boil the raw cashews in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes (I suggest covered). This will give you a similar, if not same, result!

Here is the premade butternut squash soup I like to use. It works beautifully in this recipe; very creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness!