Comfort Food: Mac & Cheese (Gluten and Dairy Free)

When my friend passed this recipe on to me, I was over the moon. I am a mac & cheese lover...a junk food lover at heart, really. I grew up eating a steady diet of ramen noodles, gushers, fruit by the foot, you name it. So for me to be so into real food is honestly...a bit, shocking? But, when (ill) health forces you into something, there's no other choice. And really, now, I wouldn't have it any other way. Because I finally feel good (boy am I glad my little boy forced us into this life)! Anyways, I was very excited about this recipe. First, to be extremely clear - it does NOT taste exactly like regular macaroni and cheese. Just like raw pizza doesn't really taste like actual pizza. It is a bit different, but still delicious. A wonderful substitute. Still good. Many dairy free recipes that I come across use cashews which is a bit problematic for us since my oldest is highly allergic to them. When I saw that this recipe uses safe ingredients, I was over the moon! I did make a few changes to the recipe because I can never follow a recipe exactly. I hope you enjoy it! And for those of you who can use gluten, feel free to use whole wheat pasta (although brown rice pasta is a bit better for you and tastes very similar!). Also, I usually use brown rice macaroni for this but was out of it, so tonight I used miniature brown rice penne. Small difference, same wonderful taste. My kids loved this. I hope you do too! This recipe is gluten and dairy free (and soy, nut, egg, etc) - a pretty safe recipe!

Adapted from Chef Chloe

3 1/2 cups dry brown rice pasta
salted water

1/4 cup palm oil shortening*
1/3 cup brown rice flour
3 cups rice milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons real salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Cook brown rice pasta according to directions (usually 8-10 minutes). In a separate pot, melt palm oil over medium heat. Whisk in brown rice flour to form a roux (paste). Next add the rice milk, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, salt, and garlic powder. Whisk well and bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until sauce thickens. Stir in lemon juice and honey, then pour over the cooked and strained pasta. Gently stir to combine the sauce and the pasta. Serve up and enjoy!