"Macaroni & Cheese" Shells With Kale And Tomatoes

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When it comes to guilty pleasures, pasta and cheese are two of my favorite foods. However, I've learned that my body does not respond well to dairy, and I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about refined carbohydrates. Luckily, there is a solution to everything! Although I do indulge in these foods once in awhile, there are plenty of healthier substitutes that still hit the spot. If I'm not spiralizing, I'll use a brown rice or chickpea flour pasta, and my go-to for substitute cheese is making my own from raw cashews.

This pasta-dish is my healthy twist on a white cheddar mac and cheese, and it's gluten-free as well as dairy-free. Since the pasta is made with chickpeas, it's filled with both protein and fiber, and I supplement the dish with extra vitamins and nutrients by adding in kale and tomatoes. Who needs Kraft when you have this?!

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

  • 1/2 box Banza pasta shells (or shells of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup kale leaves, broken up
  • 1/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Recipe for "White Cheddar" Cheese
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Dash of pepper

1. Prepare pasta according to package. Rinse and drain.

2. In a small pan, heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-low heat. Add kale leaves, and cook for 2-3 minutes until kale begins to wilt. Remove from heat.

3. In a blender or food processor, blend together cashews, garlic, filtered water, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper until smooth. 

4. Add pasta back to the pot and add in sauce. Mix together on low heat. Add in kale and cherry tomatoes. Serve warm.