Love Mac n’ Cheese. Too bad I do not do the cheese thang anymore. From time to time I still make the Annie’s Organic Shells n’ Cheese for the My Foodie Call kids. Usually when I am in a rush, feeling super lazy, or they have friends over. For myself, I feel better staying dairy-free as much as possible. With that being said, I do have cravings and am always on the hunt for an awesome Vegan (dairy-free) Mac n’ Cheese. This recipe is adapted from a recipe that I found on allrecipes.com. Of course, I modified it until it met my health standards. Of course.
Gather your ingredients and let’s get started!
Healthy Vegan Mac n’ Cheese
16 ounce package of whole wheat macaroni, rotini, ziti (or whatever floats your boat)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for sauteing your onion)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cup cashews (soak these babies in water for 2 hours to help soften. This is the key ingredient that helps create a creamy, velvety, non-dairy base)
2 lemons (for squeezing and juicing!)
1 2/3 cups water
salt to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (for your cheese sauce)
1 (7-8 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained (do not skip this. This really helps the flavor in this recipe)
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast (did you order this yet?)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4-1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (optional, but recommended)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray your 9×13 pan with non-stick spray.
- Cook pasta according to directions. Transfer to a medium baking dish.
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender and lightly browned.
- In a high-speed blender (or food processor), mix cashews, juice from 2 lemons, water, and salt. (Note: if you are using a food processor, you will need to do it in two batches because it may be a bit too much water for a 9 cup processor. No leaky messes!)
- Gradually blend in sautéed onions, olive oil, roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. Blend until smooth.
- Thoroughly mix cheese sauce with the pasta.
- Sprinkle with whole wheat bread crumbs if so desired.
- Bake 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.