Cowless Macaroni & Cheese: For the Lactose Intolerant
You may have been diagnosed as or believe you are lactose intolerant or have milk allergy, or both. So you cannot indulge the ambrosial gastronomic pleasures of traditional Mac & Cheese at 4th of July parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other fests. Well, here’s your “cowless,” non-dairy, recipe so you can join the party!
First and foremost, if you believe you are Lactose Intolerant (”LI”) or have a milk allergy (”MA”), or even both, consult a physician for a proper diagnosis. Do not rely on mere speculation or guesswork here. This writer is not a doctor and there is no suggestion here that you should take these problems lightly. There is also a plethora of literature out there, online and elsewhere, that discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of these problems. I developed the recipe, “Cowless Macaroni & Cheese,” not only through my research but also because I had so many of my friends and family members complaining of LI and more rarely MA. They have tried my recipe, even when I did not prepare it, and they tell me they liked it and that it did not make them feel sick. Amazing? Not really because if you take the cow out of the mac & cheese but keep a great flavor, you are probably going to have some happy, healthy people!
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Lactose Intolerance – A Digestive Problem
When we talk about “Lactose” we are talking about milk from a cow–bottom line. Lactose refers to the sugar present in milk: a white, oderless, crystalline disaccharide. That is just fancy biochemical talk for a series of carbohydrates, such as lactose, found in milk. Don’t get mad at the cows, they’re just animals like you and me.
The problem is that the LI have a Lactase deficiency. That is, the LI lack the enzyme in their digestive system necessary to break down or “digest” the natural sugar in milk. Hence, consumption of diary products for the LI makes them feel sick, especially to their stomachs, and they are in fact sick.
Milk Allergy – An Immune System Problem
An MAI is the immune system’s reaction to the protein in milk. Symptoms are significantly different from those with LI, and a MA is often considered more rare than LI. This is yet another reason to get properly diagnosed by your physician. Symptoms for MA can inclue hives, skin rash, diarrea, constipation, coughing, breathing problems, vomiting, and other congestion problems.
Cowless Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 1 box (12oz.) elbow noodles. Non-Dairy pasta brands include DeBoleser and Pasterio (rice based pasta)
- 2 cups soy creamer (original Silk brand works good)
- 1 package of 10oz. soy cheddar or vegan cheddar; cut cheese into small cubes
- 3 tablespoons soy or vegan butter (Earth Balance brand works good here)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (I prefer Kosher)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
- ½ cup yellow onion (dice fine)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Dash of cayenne pepper (optional but GOOD!)
- Dash of nutmeg
- To kick it up a notch and make it Mad Cowless Mac, you could dice 1 or 2 jalapenos for the party
(I often pimp my daddy Mac like that!)
- Cook box of noodles stovetop per directions on the box; drain (DO NOT rise to keep flavor in); be sure to salt the boiling water before dropping in the noodles.
- Place drained noodles in a large bowl.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 (the very minimum expense of an oven thermometer is worth it)
- Soy butter, vegan butter, or olive oil spray a 2 quart medium Pyrex baking dish on bottom and all sides up to rim.
- In a blender or food processor place cheese, butter, soy creamer, powdered mustard, onion (or simply fold onion into drained noodles beforehand), paprika, nutmeg, cayenne (if desired), and nutmeg. Give it a spin until you like the consistency, texture, and TASTE IT! Now’s the time to add any seasoning you think is missing.
- Pour blended mixture over noodles and mix thoroughly, adding the salt and pepper. Now would be the time to throw in the diced jalapenos to the party mix. You can sprinkle the top with some bread crumbs for crunchiness if you’d like.
- Pour blended mixture into the Pyrex baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.
- Serve hot
YIELD: serves 4-6
Viva all the LI’s and MA’s! Bon Appetit!