Lactose-Free Mac and Cheese

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I grew up in the Midwest, where dairy flowed freely. So when I found I that I had to limit my dairy consumption, I was devastated. No more mac and cheese, a dish I had always loved. In college, I went to a vegan mac and cheese contest and saw that I could still enjoy one of my favorite foods without dealing with the unhappy side effects.

This Mac and cheese tastes like the real thing! So for those who have had the opportunity to eat lactose at one point in their lives- fear not! This is an amazing alternative 🙂

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The recipe is a variation of one I found on Webmd

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried whole-wheat elbow macaroni (or any type of pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced  mushrooms (besides portobello mushrooms, most will work )
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (add more, if desired)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk)
5 ounces shredded or cubed soy cheddar cheese
Black pepper to taste

Cajun seasoning, red pepper flacks, hot sauce (I love spicy food, so I put a good amount of each of them in while cooking and on top after)

You can spice the mac and cheese how ever you would like, though I would follow the cornstarch to milk to cheese ratio relatively closely- otherwise the sauce might turn out too thick or liquid-like. 

Directions:

  1. Bring about 8 cups of water to a rolling boil, add macaroni noodles, and boil until tender (8-10 minutes). Once pasta is tender, drain well in colander while finishing steps 2 and 3.
  2. Add olive oil to a large, nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Add garlic and black pepper and continue to sauté for an additional minute; set aside.
  3. In 2-cup measure, combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk) to make a smooth paste. Blend in the remaining lactose-free milk. Pour into a medium, nonstick saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat to simmer and stir in the shredded or cubed cheese. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. Add black pepper to taste.
  4. Combine cheese sauce with the drained noodles and spoon sautéed mushroom mixture over the top before serving.
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