Recipe: Vegan Mac + Cheese

Vegan Mac and Cheese

First off, NO I am not vegan (nor do I think I’ll ever be) but I do love exploring all different types of foods especially when that means that I can have a healthier dish with simple replacements. As part of Operation Cleanse, an online cleansing program I created (learn more about it here), I guide you on a sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and animal protein free diet for 14 days. To keep my clients excited during the program, I explored ways to spice up some my favorites. I found an awesome vegan mac and cheese recipe using nutritional yeast. If you have never heard of nutritional yeast, I highly recommend it – it seriously tastes just like parmesan cheese. Being dairy free is something tend to encourage and if you love cheese, this is a great replacement.

I’m terrible at following instructions so I improvised a bit from the recipe I found and this was the result. I encourage you to do the same, don’t always follow a recipe to the T, add the ingredients you love! You may be pleasantly surprised at the result.

Vegan Mac + Cheese

Ingredients

  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast powder (can use flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 3 clove garlic
  • pinch of turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (add more if you like spicy)
  • 1 tsp. mustard (dijon or yellow)
  • For the Pasta:
  • 16 oz. of elbow or shell pasta of choice. Keep it healthy and buy a quinoa pasta shell.
  • For the Add Ons:
  • 2 brocolli bunches, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cups spinach
  • ½ cup onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the shell pasta in boiling water. I had some fresh sofrito and used ½ tablespoon to boil the pasta for a little added taste. Cook until desired consistency. Strain and set aside.
  3. Sauté add on ingredients in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Start first with the onions until cooked then add mushrooms, broccoli and spinach. Add garlic powder to taste.
  4. Blend all ingredients for the cheese sauce in a blender until smooth and creamy.
  5. In baking pan, mix all ingredients for add ons and pasta together. Then add cheese sauce and mix together.
  6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until hardened on top. When finished, garnish with a bit of paprika (to taste)
  7. BONUS – For added crunch on top, add hemp seeds.
  8. Enjoy! (all in moderation)
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