Sunday, December 6, 2015

Low-Calorie Vegan Mac & Cheese

So Thanksgiving is over, and the leftovers are FINALLY gone. And, for me, that means it's time to eat a little lighter for a week or so. I've gotta make room for all the holiday cookies and wine and peppermint bark that's soon to come.

Late last week and this past weekend, I've been cutting back a tad. Tonight, I had a big ole bowl of tofu miso veggie soup for dinner, and it just felt so light and clean compared with all the cornbread dressin' and gravy and vegan-cheesy casseroles. When I'm cutting back, one of my very favorite products are Tofu Shiratkai Noodles.

House Foods sent me a few free product coupons awhile back, and I'd been waiting for the right time to use them. And since their Tofu Shirataki Noodles have 10 calories per serving, I figured this post-holiday tune-up was the best time. I mean, come on y'all, 10 CALORIES PER SERVING. That's just madness.

Each package of these tofu-based noodles is supposed to contain two servings, but whatever — I only get one serving per bag, and even still, the whole bag is just 20 calories. The noodles have a very soft and chewy texture, thanks to both the tofu and konjac, a type of starchy Asian yam. They're packed in water, and the water is a tad stinky. So you should always drain and rinse your shirtataki noodles before you start cooking.

Some websites recommend dry-roasting them in a skillet before doing anything else to tighten up the noodles and give them a more pasta-like texture. I've never tried that, but I rather enjoy the strange chewiness. 

I've topped them with vegan alfredo, soy sauce & veggies, and marinara in the past. They're quite versatile. But this time, I wanted something different. I wanted vegan mac & cheese. And I had some extra Daiya vegan cheddar that needed using. So I whipped up the quickest ever cheese sauce. Although shirataki noodles and vegan cheddar don't offer much in the way of nutrients, this was a satisfying low-cal side to a giant, colorful salad loaded with veggies and pumpkin seeds.

I feel a little silly even posting a recipe for this because it only has three ingredients. But it's quick, easy and only 187 calories per cup of noodles.

Super Low-Calorie Vegan Mac & Cheese
Yields 2 (1 cup) servings

4 ounces shredded vegan cheddar (about 1/2 cup)
2 ounces unsweetened almond milk
2 8-ounce packages tofu shirataki noodles, drained and rinsed

In a saucepan, combine the vegan cheese and almond milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Add a splash or more of almond milk if the cheese starts to burn. It should be saucy but not liquidy.

Add the shirtaki noodles and stir to combine. Continue to heat for about 7 minutes or until the noodles are hot.