Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

by Susan on October 4, 2014

I had a request for a vegan mac and cheese recipe, and I will confess I didn’t have any tricks up my sleeve. I’ve made a few different “cheese” sauces uses nutritional yeast, raw cashews and so on but haven’t quite nailed the right texture to use for the classic kid-friendly pasta dish.

I was so intrigued by this recipe I found on Vegan Yumminess, especially when I read the many positive reviews and comments readers left about. Added bonus? It uses healthy carrots, potatoes and onions to add body to the sauce.

I usually tell me kids if there’s a secret or surprise about a dish I’ve made, just so I can gauge their reaction. Tonight I purposefully stayed mum, though, as I wanted to see if they’d have a clue that their mac and cheese was lacking the titular ingredient.

When the girl helped herself to a second serving, I decided the experiment was definitely a success!

You could keep things simple by just serving the sauce poured over some freshly cooked pasta, but I think baked mac and cheese is always the tastiest. I also opted for keeping it gluten-free thanks to brown rice pasta and almond meal “bread” crumbs for topping.

Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese
adapted from Vegan Yumminess

12 oz. dried brown rice pasta
1 cup peeled and diced organic potatoes
1/4 cup peeled and diced carrots
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbs. nutritional flakes
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 tsp. salt (might need more, to taste)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of paprika

Cook pasta al dente and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots and onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Before draining take 3/4 cup of the cooking water and put in high-speed blender. Drain vegetables and add them to the blender.

Add cashews, coconut milk, nutritional flakes, lemon juice and seasoning to blender. Process until smooth.

Serve immediately poured over pasta (season to taste) or combine pasta and sauce in a greased baking dish. Top with a few tbs. of breadcrumbs (almond meal is a gluten-free alternative) mixed with garlic powder, salt and a smidge of Earth Balance spread. Bake for 15 minutes.

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