For the cheeze
- 1 cup cashews soaked in water at least 2 hours or overnight
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 tabslespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Eggplant Bacon
- 1 pound eggplant
- Cooking spray
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
For the BLT Mac
- 8 ounces small shell pasta whole wheat, gluten free or any type
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or chopped regular tomatoes
- 1 recipe Eggplant Bacon see above
To make the Cheeze
- Drain the cashews and place with all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend away until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure you get everything. Depending on the strength of your blender, this could take from 1 to 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, keeping in mind that you want it just a little saltier than you think because it's going to be poured over all the other ingredients.
To make the Eggplant Bacon
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare the eggplant while the oven in preheating. Eggplants will vary in size, so if using baby eggplant that is 2 inches wide at its widest, just slice into ⅛-inch circles. If using large eggplants, first cut in half lengthwise, then slice the halves into ⅛-inch-thick half-moons.
- Spray the lined baking sheets lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the eggplant pieces in a single layer and spray lightly once more. Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, keeping a close eye. Rotate the pans about halfway through baking.
- Remove from the oven and flip the slices. They should be browning and ready, and if any are slightly burnt, don't worry; just transfer them to a plate to cool. Return the remaining strips to the oven for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. The eggplant should be dark brown to burnt in some places, and yellowish white and tender in some places. Transfer to a plate to prevent further baking.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Mix the soy sauce and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. Dip the eggplant slices in mixture a few at a time and return to the baking sheet. Bake for about 3 more minutes, until heated through.
To make the BLT Mac
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is tender, drain it in a colander. Immediately place it back in the pot you boiled it in and stir in the sauce. Place the pot on low heat and stir for 3 minutes or so, until the sauce is thickened a bit and everything is deliciously creamy. Taste for salt again. Now toss in the arugula, tomatoes and eggplant bacon, leaving a little extra aside to garnish, if you like. Serve!