By Rip Esselstyn
As the weather cools off, many of us start craving comfort food. One of my favorite meals growing up was a plate of frozen Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese, which I’d make myself whenever my parents went out to dinner. After cooking it in the oven for 30 minutes, I’d excitedly pull a stool up to our horseshoe-shaped kitchen island and dig in while watching my favorite television program, “The Wild, Wild West.” Pure decadence.
I now recommend this PlantStrong alternative instead–and keeping the television off!
The Engine 2 Mac & Not Cheese can fill the void for old comfort food cravings. The cashews and lemon juice combine to provide a creaminess that you might not expect from a dairy-free dish. And the nutritional yeast will surprise you with its undertone of cheese flavor.
1 onion, chopped1 cup cashews½ cup lemon juice1 1/3 cups water½ teaspoon sea salt4-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained3 tablespoons nutritional yeast1 teaspoon garlic powder1 teaspoon onion powder16 ounces whole grain elbow pasta, cookedRecommended addition: 365 frozen peas
Preheat oven to 425º. Saute the onion on medium heat in a nonstick skillet for 5 minutes, until translucent. In a food processor, combine onion, cashews, lemon juice, water, and salt. Gradually blend in the roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder. Thoroughly toss the sauce with the pasta. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
Rip Esselstyn is a mission-driven man. As a swimmer at the University of Texas at Austin, he was a three time All-American. As a professional athlete, he was one of the premier triathletes in the world for more than a decade. As a firefighter for the Austin (TX) Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin’s Engine 2 ate to save firefighters’ health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, he is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health. Recently, he has teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for Whole Foods Market team members, customers, and all of America about the benefits of eating a PlantStrongÔ diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Rip comes from a family steeped in medicine. His great-grandfather, George Crile, co-founded the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., was chief of the breast cancer task force and completed one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the relationship between the heart and diet–proving that a plant-based diet can stop, prevent, and even reverse heart disease.
Rip serves on the Board of Directors for The Wellness Foundation, EarthSave’s Meals For Health Program, and the AllergyKids Foundation.