Macaroni and Cheese lovers, this recipe is for you!
Recipe for a foolproof gluten-free and vegan mac and cheese made with cauliflower, cashews, and nutritional yeast. A healthier way to enjoy mac and cheese without compromising on the flavor.
One of last year’s highlights was my visit to the America’s Test Kitchen in Boston. I meant to share more of that trip with you, but sadly I did not have enough photos to create a whole blog post. Truth be told, the whole time I was there I was in awe of being in the test kitchen of my favorite cooking magazine (Cooks Illustrated) I forgot to take enough photos. I have been a follower for such a long time and learned so much from them over the years that it was truly a surreal experience. Nowadays every time I watch the show, I can’t help but feel giddy about the fact that I have been there.
Cheezy, right? I know.
So you can understand my excitement when the folks over there reached out to me and asked if I wanted to share a recipe from their new cookbook, Vegan for Everybody. Today’s recipe, Vegan Mac and Cheese, comes from that book.
As the name suggests, Vegan For Everybody is truly for everyone. If you have never cooked vegan food before and didn’t know where to start, this is the book that you need to get. It gives you detailed information on how to veganize your pantry and teaches you about ingredients and methods to cook your favorite foods (and some new dishes) without any animal products.
With that being said, if you are like me, dabbled with cooking vegan dishes a few times, I still highly recommend it as it also outlines creative technics to achieve similar results that you would while cooking non-vegan foods. A few examples of this are creating the creamy effect with cauliflower, cheese flavor with nutritional yeast, browned food without butter, and egg replacement with aquafaba. In addition, their approach to using vegetables to mimic the taste of some of our favorite non-vegan dishes is very creative and informative.
Now on to the recipe…
How many times have you heard people say, “I can never be vegan, because I love cheese so much.” Well, I am on the same boat. Cheese makes me happy and I cannot imagine my life without it. That is why when I saw this mac and cheese recipe in the book, I was curious to find out how they did it. Think about it, how would they mimic all the butter, milk, flour, Gruyere, and cheddar to create the same consistency and texture?
The only way to find out was to make the recipe so I bought the ingredients and gave it a try. To my surprise, the end product with no cheese, butter or milk was really good. It was definitely compatible with the original mac and cheese and I knew it would be a new favorite in our house.
Intrigued yet? Read on…
About this Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe:
The Cheesy Part:
The first part that I was skeptical about was the cheese flavor. To create the intense cheesy flavor, they used nutritional yeast. This was not news to me. I have used nutritional yeast many times in place of cheese in the past, but I knew that it wouldn’t be enough just by itself. Come to find out, when you mix it with a whopping 4 teaspoons of dry mustard, some tomato paste, garlic, and salt, it tastes pretty cheesy.
The Creamy Part:
The second part I was skeptical about was the creamy part. To mimic what the butter-flour-milk combination does, they mixed almond milk, cauliflower florets and raw cashews. Once all the ingredients were cooked, they blended everything in a blender, which turned into a creamy sauce. Initially it was not thick, but after cooking it for a few minutes it did thicken up to create the creamy sauce that I was accustomed to seeing in the original mac and cheese recipe.
The Mac Part:
The mac part of the recipe is the same. You just cook some pasta until it is al-dente and add it in the sauce. The original recipe suggests using regular elbow macaroni. However, I have tried the same recipe with brown rice pasta as well and it was just as good. If you are observing a gluten-free diet, feel free to use that instead.
I topped it off with some lightly toasted panko breadcrumbs to give it a little bit of a crust. I also sprinkled it with some Italian parsley to give it a fresh taste. Though both are optional.
In the end, both Dwight and I thought that this vegan mac and cheese was a winner. It did fulfill our cravings and offered us a much healthier way of enjoying one of our favorite dishes. So if you want to try something new and surprise your family with this healthier mac and cheese, give this recipe try. It will not disappoint.
Before I let you go, folks at the America’s Test Kitchen is letting me giveaway a copy of Vegan for Everyone to two of my readers. To get a chance to win, leave a comment below letting me know if you have ever tried your hand cooking vegan recipes and how have your experience been. The giveaway is open until May 25th, 2017 – 12 PM EST and only open to the US residents.
Good luck friends!The giveaway is closed now. Winners are Penni and Kristin.
Thank you !
Vegan Mac and Cheese
This vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is a healthier version of our favorite food made with cauliflower, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and cashews.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Vegan
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: American
- 1/3 cup coconut (or olive) oil
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 4 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- salt and pepper
- 4 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 10 ounces (3 cups) cauliflower florets, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 ¼ cups raw cashews, chopped
- 1 pound (16 ounces) brown rice or regular elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, lightly toasted – Optional
- 3-4 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped – Optional
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in nutritional yeast, dry mustard, tomato paste, garlic, turmeric, and 2 teaspoons of salt*. Cook, stirring constantly for a minute.
- Stir in the almond milk, scraping up any browned bits and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the cauliflower and cashews; reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, until cauliflower is soft enough that it falls apart when poked with a fork, 20 minutes.
- Working in two batches, process the cauliflower mixture in a blender (or a food processor) until smooth.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packaging instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
- Pour the cauliflower sauce into now-empty pot and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
- Add in the drained macaroni and vinegar and cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through and the sauce is slightly thickened, 3 minutes.
- If needed, use the reserved liquid to adjust consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If preferred, sprinkle each bowl with toasted panko breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.
* If you are like me, you might think that 2 teaspoons salt is way too much. However, it is not and it is an important part of the “cheese” flavor and after the sauce is mixed in with pasta everything balances out.
*If you are not a fan of coconut oil, feel free to use olive oil instead.
This recipe is adapted with minor changes from Vegan for Everybody.