Monday, April 26, 2010

Gallie's Shells and "Cheese"

Macaroni and cheese. There's just something about it... I've always loved it. Although it is far from being a gourmet culinary masterpiece, it is one of those things that I have always gotten cravings for from time to time. I believe that lands it in the 'comfort food' category. As I got older and started getting more creative in the kitchen, I began experimenting with variations on the theme. I found that I absolutely love jalapeños in mac n' cheese. Broccoli is also a definite winner.

My girlfriend Gal (rhymes with tall) adapted this from a recipe she found online. I added a few things I had on hand, and it really came out incredibly good. It doesn't exactly resemble the classic dish in flavor - it sort of has a taste and vibe all it's own - but it is certainly similar enough to satisfy the craving. And it's vegan!

This marks my first time using nutritional yeast with cooking. Thumbs up! It is fairly high in protein content and adds a nice, subtle, nutty flavor and really makes for a good cheese replacement. I'd love to hear some suggestions of other uses for it...

I used whole grain shells for this batch, but macaroni or any other pasta would work fine. Also, I have become a big fan of the Tofurkey Italian Sausage that I used here - I add it to stir-fry dishes all the time. It's made with sun-dried tomatoes and is quite delicious.

Gallie's Shells and "Cheese"

makes about 4 servings

About 10 oz. of whole grain small pasta shells
1 1/2 links Tofurkey Italian Sausage, sliced 1/3 inch thick
7-10 broccoli florets, chopped
cooking oil

3/4 cup almond or soy milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce or nama shoyu
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
a sprinkle each of: paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
5 oz. firm tofu
1 tsp spicy brown mustard

Start by boiling water for pasta in a medium sized pot and pre-heating the oven to 350. Lightly oil a pan and add the sliced Tofurkey sausage. It doesn't need to be cooked, but I like it a little bit crispy. After it gets cooked a bit on one side, flip the pieces and add the broccoli to the pan. Add pasta shells to the boiling water and boil for 6 minutes or until pasta is al dente.

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender and pulse until well mixed. Strain the pasta shells and add about 2/3 of them to a small baking dish. Add the Tofurkey sausage, broccoli and jalapeños to the shells, cover with the rest of the shells and mix. Then simply pour the sauce mixture over the top, coating as much of it as you can. Mix together so that shells are coated evenly, and put the baking dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

It came out of the oven hot and bubbly and smelling so good. I added an extra teaspoon or so of nutritional yeast flakes on top of my serving before eating. I loved the Tofurkey, broccoli and jalapeños with this, but there are endless possibilities for variation...


  1. This reminds me of the "Garlic Shells" my mom used to make with peas as a kid, except a lot more bedazzled. Yum!

  2. Yum! I love nutritional yeast mac & cheese. Honestly, I think its better than dairy. And nooch is so delicious sprinkled on salads or used to make nacho cheesy dip. I also love that you put Tofurkey in here.

  3. Mmm, garlic shells! That's funny - the one thing I thought of for next time was to add some fresh garlic, cuz it definitely could have used a bit more. Bianca - would u mind telling me how u make nacho cheesy dip? I love that you call it nooch - definitely looking for more uses of this incredible stuff...

  4. I'm totally impressed and it looks DELISH!! Definitely will try. I too really like the Tofurkey sausage, I buy it at TJ's!

  5. Awesome looking dish! I like the it when you add photos.

  6. You are right, broccoli is the perfect addition to mac and no cheese. Mac and no cheese is one of my favorite dishes, by the way, you can change it up to go with whatever ingredients you have on hand and it is always delicious. Is there any dish that is more classic comfort food? Yours looks amazing!

  7. This looks amazing!! thanks for sharing.

    btw, I put nutritional yeast in just about anything for a boost in protein and for that 'little something extra'. Such as soups, any sauces, even just a sprinkle or two on top of an open-faced toasted sandwich

  8. I am totally loving everything about this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  9. That looks delicious! My kids love vegan mac & cheese and the love broccoli with vegan cheese sauce. I'll have to try adding the broccoli and veg sausage in to see how that goes over!

  10. That looks so good! My daughters would love it!

  11. This looks totally delish! I also love throwing in stuff to my mac n "cheese." Sometimes I'll throw in peas and have brocolli on the side.

  12. saved this recipe to my favorites, going to try it this weekend. looks AMAZING! glad i found an interesting vegan blogger.

    following :)