I’ve written about comfort food before. So you likely know that I’m not opposed to including a handful of favourites in your meal repertoire for those rainy afternoons, those #selfcaresaturdays, those “just ‘cause” moments.
I get a warm nostalgic feeling when I eat a dish that’s close to something I used to love. And believe me, I was no stranger to cheap processed food – hello, uni student living away from home for the first time! Ramen, the cheapest peanut butter, energy drinks. And Kraft Dinner. Lots and lots of it.
But let’s circle back – you might notice I said “close to something I used to love”.
Something I love to do is make healthy, clean, plant-based versions of some of the comforting favourites I enjoyed in the past. Top of the list is that mac and cheese, though my tastes have long developed away from the dry make-as-directed boxed versions.
I had the opportunity to taste test and create some recipes with local plant mylk producer Hippie Mylk. Their nut and seed based, fresh-made mylks are made from a blend of almond, cashew, and hemp, making them high in protein (an amazing 8g per cup, something you don’t really see in packaged nut blends!) and healthy fats – especially omegas 3 and 6, which are important anti-inflammatory fats needed for healthy hormone balance, not to mention all the minerals needed to help support menstrual function!
With a fresh batch of their rich, creamy, delicious mylks in my fridge, how could I not make an incredible cheesy sauce for a delightfully grown-up and nutritious mac and cheese?
Garlic Caper Cream Sauce
- 2 tsp. vegan margarine (or coconut oil + sea salt)
- ½ to 1 Tbsp. capers, salt-packed or pickled, to taste
- 2 big handfuls baby arugula
- 1 oz. vegan white wine, optional
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- ¼ cup original unsweetened Hippie Mylk (plus a splash more if omitting wine)
- 4 Tbsp. (¼ cup) nutritional yeast
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine (or oil + salt) and add the capers, stirring to heat, about 1 minute.
Add half the arugula and let wilt, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the wine (if using), garlic, and other half arugula. Stir until garlic starts to soften and all arugula has wilted, another 2 minutes.
Slowly add the Hippie Mylk one spoonful at a time. Simmer to let it thicken slightly, stirring constantly.
Stir in the nooch one spoonful at a time. Adjust for taste and thickness as needed, continuing to stir constantly.
Sauce should be a little on the thin side. It will thicken if allowed to cool. Serve immediately over pasta shells, penne, or macaroni (of course). This sauce lends itself well to brown rice pasta and high-protein legume pasta (like red lentil or chickpea). Garnish with cracked black pepper, hemp hearts, or fresh chopped basil. Makes 2 servings.
Thank again to Jessica of Hippie Mylk for supplying me with some of their product to experiment with! I’ll have another Hippie Mylk feature recipe here for you soon. In the meantime, you can catch them at the Ottawa Farmers’ Markets. Check out their website and social media (@hippiemylk) for more info so you can get your hands on some!