One major aspect of my philosophy when it comes to vegan cooking is to not get too hung up on veganizing dishes that rely heavily on non-vegan foods, with cheese as a prime example. I was drawn to this recipe, however, because it uses simple vegetables to create the cheesy sauce, as opposed to cashews, which can be expensive, time-consuming, or dependent on a high-speed blender to turn into sauce; or a concoction of non-dairy milk and flour, which can be bland or troublesome to thicken.
I also love that this recipe can be made entirely on the stovetop, not requiring any oven time.
I opted to add some herby toasted breadcrumbs to add a bit of crunch of the dish, but this is totally optional.
Vegan Nut-Free Mac ‘n’ Cheese Recipe
Ingredients (Serves ~2)
Vegan Cheese Sauce:
- 1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used Butter Potatoes)
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
- .5 can Great Northern Beans (or any white beans), rinsed and drained
- ~.40 cup of unsweetened plant-based milk or water (I used Silk soy milk)
- 2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
- .5 tbsp lemon juice
- .5 tsp salt
- 1-2 cloves of garlic or .25 tsp garlic powder
- .25 tsp onion powder
- A very small splash of liquid smoke (optional)
- .25 tsp tomato paste (optional)
- .5 pound dried pasta, I used shell pasta
- .25 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) (optional)
- 1 tbsp additional nutritional yeast (optional)
- .5 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- .5 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
- Dried oregano (optional)
- A few fresh basil or parsley leaves (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil the potatoes and carrots together in a large pot for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
2. While it boils, cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
3. Once the potatoes and carrots are soft, put them into a blender (or leave in the pot to immersion blend) along with all of the other Vegan Cheese Sauce ingredients. Blend well and adjust seasonings as needed.
4. Once the pasta has cooked, reserve .25 cup pasta water, drain the pasta, and add it to the large pot of Vegan Cheese Sauce.
5. Mix well and adjust seasonings as needed. If it seems too thick, slowly add some of the reserved pasta water. If it doesn’t seem cheesy enough, add the additional nutritional yeast, butter, and/or salt and pepper.
6. For the breadcrumb topping: In a separate pan, heat .5 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat until the oil can be swirled around the pan and is nearly smoking.
7. Add the .5 cup of panko breadcrumbs to the pan and stir constantly until they all look goldeny brown. Keep an eye on them the whole time! Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Mix in some dried oregano to your liking.
8. Spoon breadcrumbs mixture over the top of your vegan nut-free mac ‘n’ cheese, and rip up some fresh basil (or parsley) to garnish. Enjoy!
This recipe was inspired by “Nut Free Vegan Mac N Cheese” by Alexa Fueled Naturally. Thank you for sharing!