It seems that the older I get, the more intolerant of dairy products I become. It's almost at the point of no return for me now, with even a tablespoon of cows milk in a cup of tea leaving me feeling queasy. For the most part I don't miss it at all because I have a horrible association with it after many nights sweating and feeling incredibly nauseous. The one thing I do miss however, is creaminess.
I've been having a play with nut creams and tofu lately and tonight I made a no cheese cheesy bake. This is gluten free but you could substitute the gluten free pasta with normal wheat pasta if you choose to.
GF pasta shells
1 jar of organic tomato pasta sauce
1 tin of diced tomatoes
1 packet of tofu - try and buy organic because soy beans are a crop that can be exposed to heavy use of pesticides and fertilisers as well as some being genetically engineered.
1 C raw unroasted unsalted cashew nuts
3/4 C - 1 C soy milk (again, try for organic)
2 zucchini's or spinach
Salt and white pepper
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just cooked. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into rounds and cook on a tray in the oven with a little olive oil at 180 degrees centigrade for around 15 minutes or until soft.
To prepare the creamy cheesy element of the dish blend the cashew nuts with 3/4 C of the soy milk until smooth. Add the tofu broken into chunks and blend it together until it makes a thick cream, about the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add a little more soy milk if you need to. Season with salt and a pinch of white pepper.
Mix the pasta sauce and tin of tomatoes together in a bowl.
To assemble the dish brush some olive oil in a large rectangular oven proof dish then add a layer of tomato sauce. Add a layer of pasta on top of the sauce then dot 1/2 of the nut tofu cream on top of the pasta evenly. Add another layer of tomato sauce then the zucchini overlapping the pieces as you go. Lastly add the remaining pasta and finish with a final layer of tomato sauce and the remainder of the nut tofu cream.
Cook for 20 minutes in a 180 degree oven (fan bake works best) until golden and bubbling.
You won't taste nuts or tofu, but what you will have is a lovely creamy texture and a healthy no meat protein boost. Even better, my kids loved this meal and didn't miss the meat or cheese at all.