1lbmacaroni pastaor your choice, gluten free if needed
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F roast and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Add the cubed sweet potato, quartered onion and garlic (with the peel) to your baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the oven.
Now peel the garlic, and place all the roasted veggies, along with the cashews, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, thyme, milk, and veggie broth to your blende and process until smooth.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook your pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and return to pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well.
Optional: Set the oven to broil and transfer the pasta and sauce to an oven safe dish. Place on top rack for 2-3 minutes until the top is golden and crispy, or to desired 'doneness'. Check often so it doesn't burn.
The sauce will thicken as it cools so if preparing ahead, you will need to add more broth or milk when ready to serve.If you do not have a high speed blender, soak your cashews in boiling hot water for about 30 minutes first to soften them. Then drain and use as directed.For nut free: sub the raw cashews with sunflower seeds, and the cashew milk with soy, oat, or any milk you like. Sunflower seeds are a little less mild in flavour when compared to cashews, but definitely not overpowering. Especially when considering all the other flavours and seasoning in this dish. As an added bonus, sunflower seeds are budget friendly and lower in fat too!**For oil free: omit the oil for roasting the veggies. Instead you can spray or drizzle the veggies in water or broth to keep them from burning. Watch them carefully.For "nooch" free: if you don't have, can't find, or don't want to use nutritional yeast, you may sub for 1-2 tablespoons of miso paste or soy sauce, but omit the teaspoon of salt from the sauce. Keep in mind this substitution will give you a nice umami flavour, but not the cheesiness that nutritional yeast offers.For more crunch: If you're optionally baking your mac and cheese, you may also add half a cup of panko breadcrumbs on top before broiling. This will add even more flavour and added crunch to the top layer.