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…