Mac and ‘Cheese’ Florentine

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8 oz. elbow macaroni
10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, cooked according to package directions and well drained
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews*
1 3/4 cups water
15.5-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. white miso paste (optional)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

• Cook the macaroni in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the spinach and toss to combine. Set aside.
• Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, covered, until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
• Grind the cashews to a powder in a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup of the water and blend until smooth. Add the onion, beans, miso paste, remaining 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Season with the salt. Pour over the macaroni and spinach and mix well.
• Transfer to a lightly oiled slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
• Clove to serving time, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, stirring well to coat. Cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. When ready to serve, sprinkle the toasted crumbs on top of the casserole.

Makes 4 servings

*Note: If raw cashews are unavailable, use roasted cashews and use less salt in the recipe.

From Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

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