Roasted Poblano & Sweet Potato Pasta Bake

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Roasted Poblano & Sweet Potato Pasta Bake

This recipe is adapted from Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s recipe for Sweet Potato Mac ‘N’ Cheese. Her recipe is delicious; I have made it dozens of times, each time tweaking it more to align with my palate. I eventually ended up changing the flavor profile and the techniques to make it taste similar to the mac n cheese my mother used to make when we were growing up. With that being said, I don’t really consider my version a ‘mac n cheese’ per say, but more of a creamy pasta bake, hence not using ‘mac n cheese’ in the title.

I used roasted poblano peppers in this recipe originally because I thought they were spicy, but it turns out I don’t know peppers, because they aren’t spicy at all. I had wanted to use a spicy roasted pepper in this creamy sauce to mimic the flavor of pepper jack cheese, which my mother used to always use in her recipe. Even though poblanos aren’t spicy, I still kept them as the pepper of choice in this recipe because they worked and ended up adding cayenne pepper for the heat factor. This recipe lends itself easily to variation, you could use shiitake ‘bacon’ or any other form of vegan bacon instead of poblano peppers and I feel like it would produce just as delicious of a result!

INGREDIENTS
1 large or 2 medium sized poblano peppers
½ lb. of pasta of your choice, cooked according to directions (macaroni & shells work well in this recipe)
1 Tbsp. vegan butter
1 ½ Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup unsweetened non dairy milk (West Soy Organic Unsweetened Original, is my fav in this recipe)
1 cup mashed sweet potato
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 ½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place poblano peppers on a tin foil or parchment paper lined baking tray. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes. When peppers are done they should be burned in some spots and the skin should be peeling. Let cool and peel off the skin. Chop into small pieces and set aside.

While the peppers are cooking, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Once the pasta is done, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat begin melting butter. Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Clumps will form, that’s okay, they will dissolve in the milk. Add the non dairy milk and whisk until combined. Bring mixture to boil, whisking frequently.

Lower heat to simmer and add sweet potato, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, liquid aminos, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Whisk until combined.

Add in the diced poblano pepper and stir to combine. Lastly, add in the pasta and stir until it is completely coated in the sauce.

Pour into an 8 X 8 pan, smoothing out the top. Top with panko breadcrumbs and place in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, uncovered. When ready, the breadcrumbs should be slightly browned.

Makes 1- 8 X 8 pan.

Recipe adapted from Chef Chloe Coscarelli Sweet Potato Mac ‘N’ Cheese

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