Today after a long hiatus, I went into the kitchen and started cooking. I made teff muffins, Bette Hagman’s potato bread, sourdough starter, and finally, started dinner. I have recently been neglecting one of my favorite new cookbooks, Peanut Butter Planet, so I pulled it out and adapted a “Peanut Macaroni Pie” to be gluten free. It called for pasta and bread crumbs. Of course the pasta is no problem, with all the gluten free pastas available, and GF bread crumbs are fairly easy too. I know some people buy GF bread crumbs, but they’re so expensive I can’t bring myself to do it. Instead, when I make bread, I usually slice half of a loaf into individual serving slices, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze it in a freezer safe ziploc bag. I try to store up a variety, so that I can select a type of bread according to my mood- but eventually I end up with the heel of the bread or just a few pieces in a bag. These slices are perfect for bread crumbs! I usually toast them on the freezer setting and grind them up in my spice grinder (aka coffee grinder, but it’s never had coffee in it). I can add whatever spices I like and use them in any recipe. So, that is exactly what I did for this recipe- used up the heels from two Bette Hagman loaves of bread to make light, tasty bread crumbs. I also made a little basil dipping oil and roasted Asparagus a la Food Network- Rinsed the asparagus, dried it, made a vinaigrette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and roasted it in a 400 degree oven for (under) 10 minutes until crisp but done. I served a slice of fresh potato bread with it, and we had a lovely, potentially vegan, potentially soy free meal! (I used soy milk, but there are many other options.) The meal got a thumbs up from DH and would be family friendly, as long as your family likes asparagus!
Peanut Macaroni Gratin
8 oz GF macaroni (I used Ener-g foods white rice macaroni, but smaller pasta or brown rice pasta would be good)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups Milk, Soy Milk, or Rice Milk
4 oz silken Tofu OR make white sauce with above Rice Milk or Reg. Milk
1/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper or other cayenned pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup GF bread crumbs (from toasted heels of GF bread, ground in spice grinder or food processor)
1 tbsp olive oil infused with fresh herbs like basil OR softened sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup ground nuts (peanuts, almond, pecan, whatever you like)
3/4 cup frozen defrosted green peas
1/2 cup frozen defrosted spinach (or more, if desired)
Boil pasta until slightly underdone, drain and put in a baking dish or pie pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. (I made enough for two dishes)
Preheat oven to 375 while heating tbsp of olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add onion and saute, covering if desired but taking care not to burn the onions.
Blend together onion, milk (cow, soy, rice are all ok), tofu (optional, use above milk to make a white sauce if you do not use this), peanut or almond butter, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt. Blend until smooth and pour over pasta, adding parsley, spinach, and green peas, and stirring well.
Combine bread crumbs with flavored oil (easy way to do this is chop a little basil and cover it with oil, letting it rest in a warm place like on the stovetop when oven is on) or oil with a little chopped sundried tomato, add ground nuts to bread crumbs, and sprinkle crumb topping on macaroni, sprinkling paprika if desired.
Cover and bake until hot (maybe 25 minutes) and then uncover until golden brown (10 minutes more)
You can easily adapt this recipe to be dairy free, soy free, or both! If allergic to peanuts, if almonds are ok, try almond butter instead of the peanut butter.
I feel this recipe needs a little more pow to be a great recipe- maybe some GF tamari or substituting a white sauce… I ate it with vietnamese hot sauce and pepper, which made it more interesting to me. Very nice potentially vegan “mac and cheese” though…