While the holiday season can be a fun time filled with friends and family, there is also an abundance of food that is typically out of your normal routine. My family has some delicious foods we make every year to celebrate Christmas, such as Monkey Bread, Twice Baked Potatoes, Snowball Cookies, and the annual Christmas Eve Italian dinner we have at our family friends’ house. It is so much fun to share these dishes with the people we love, and while it is important to enjoy these foods, it is equally as important to have a diet that incorporates what makes you feel your best.
Around the holidays, there is a sense of guilt around enjoying traditional Christmas foods. Instead of just focusing on those around you and indulging in some of your family’s once-in-a-while treats, many people feel the need to impulsively overeat in one day, with the intention of being “good” the next day. Instead of listening to how they are feeling, they choose to ignore this internal cue, resulting in an overbearing feeling of sickness and unhappiness.
If people instead focused on enjoying themselves during the holiday season and eating both healthy foods combined with some of the festive treats, they would feel better about themselves and have a healthier attitude towards food. Worrying about food never helps your health, and certainly doesn’t contribute to a positive relationship with yourself or with food.
If you’re anything like me, then after the holidays you might tend to crave hearty recipes filled with veggies. I typically am a little more sensitive to dairy, meaning that I avoid having excess amounts of it, so after all of the cheese and cracker appetizers of the holidays, I love making recipes such as this dairy-free pasta to refuel.
This pasta uses cashews as the base of the cream sauce to create a rich flavor packed with protein. It also adds in some extra veggies for both taste and nutrition, which you can customize based on your own preferences. This dish is perfect to whip up as an easy dinner or to share with others!
So, enjoy the rest of the holiday season, and eat what makes you feel good!
Dairy-Free Veggie Mac and Cheese
For the cream sauce:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight (for easier blending)
- 1/2 cup water (or more depending on desired thickness)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- Salt to taste
For the pasta:
- 2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
To start, add all ingredients for cream sauce to blender and blend until smooth and thick. In a medium skillet, mix pasta with veggies and cream sauce and heat until warm. Serve or keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.