Very dear to my heart, this was my inaugural recipe for my award-winning column, “Veganize It!” in VegNews Magazine. I intentionally created it without tofu, soy cheese and nutritional yeast, all of which are commonly found in vegan recipes for mac ‘n’ cheese. Feel free to make it gluten-free by using brown rice pasta (my fave is Andean Dream’s quinoa + brown rice pasta) and gf breadcrumbs. At my house I add some very well cooked garbanzo beans in place of some of the potatoes for added protein.
If you’re wondering how a bunch of veggies and cashews can live up to the creamy decadence of America’s favorite comfort food, make this recipe now to find out. Enjoy!
Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Ingredients for the pasta:
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
For the breadcrumbs:
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
For the cheese sauce:
2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1. For the pasta, in a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a fine texture. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9″ x 12″ casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.
Sometimes we skip the casserole and breadcrumbs altogether and just make cheese sauce to pour over pasta, veggies or baked potatoes or to make grilled cheese sandwiches.
What’s your favorite way to use this versatile cheesy sauce?If you’re looking for more gluten-free sweet and savory options, check out the rest of Allison’s awesome vegan recipes and the vegan fudge, vegan toffee and other gluten-free confections on the AG website.