Here’s a mac-and-"cheese" dish your parents will love as much as you will. Plus, the "cheese" sauce can be a tasty addition to lots of fun foods: Add jalapeño for a spicy nacho sauce, or pour it over potatoes for creamy gravy. Make sure a parent helps you prep and cook this treat!
Combine the water and cashews in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain the nuts and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until it’s tender but firm when you bite it. Drain the pasta, then rinse and drain again. Set aside in a large mixing bowl and cover.
In a large saucepan, bring the sweet potatoes and almond milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the sweet potatoes in a bowl. Save the almond milk and add more (if needed) to equal 3 cups.
Cool the 3 cups almond milk to lukewarm and place in a heavy-duty blender. Add the cashews. Blend until the sauce is smooth. Add the sweet potatoes, hot sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Process until the sauce is smooth, scraping down the container as needed.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well. Place in a 10-by-12-inch casserole or baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
To make the sauce less sweet, replace half the almond milk with unsweetened hemp or soy milk. For a crunchy topping, sprinkle with whole grain breadcrumbs.