PLANT BASED COMFORT FOOD! Woo! Without the guilt. 😉
This plant based mac and cheese is absolutely the most delicious version of mac and cheese I have tasted since going vegan. I have tried many different versions of plant based mac and cheese but honestly is one wins in the categories of taste, texture, and most importantly health. This recipe has evolved over time from many other versions of vegan mac and cheese but I always had a list of criteria that I wanted out of my own mac and cheese recipe:
- No oil
- No plant based butter or margarine
- It needed to have nuts (preferably cashews) to give it a creamy texture and stimulate our taste receptors in our mouth for fat and salt
- It needed to be made out of veggies to keep it healthy and plant based
- It needed to be simple enough that any 8 year old could make it for their mother on mother’s day 🙂 (with help when straining the veggies of course)
As a child, I loved mac and cheese. When my mom would come home from the grocery store with those KD boxes, I knew it was going to be an awesome girls day (since my dad never really enjoyed KD). I remember being a little girl and getting my warm creamy bowl of mac and cheese and sitting on my bean bag chair to devour it. I remember in the summer on lake huron, in Canada, swimming all morning from 8am to noon with my cousins only to realize we were all starving. Soaking wet, and shivering, we would run up to my grandma’s camp to find she had just finished making a huge pot of mac and cheese.
Best. Day. Ever!
Then as I got older I started realizing that even though I loved the taste and memories associated with mac and cheese, it was not healthy for me in anyway. It was actually completely detrimental to my health and… did not keep me full.
However, I still couldn’t shake the mac and cheese monster. I started buying the whole wheat KD mac and cheese, but honestly, I should have just tossed my money out the window because it was disgusting. I started thinking “well, okay, that’s not the solution”…
Fast forward to 2018 and I have mastered a health promoting, tasty version of mac and cheese that takes comfort food to a whole other level. I can still enjoy my beloved mac and cheese after a long stressful day or on the weekends while staying healthy and feeling no guilt. When I have children of my own I will be able to give this to them and their friends during sleepovers and watch them devour their bowls, while providing them with essential nutrients and not watching them get a tummy ache. Now at my grandma’s camp on lake huron, I can make this for my little cousins after we are all done swimming for the morning and help them realize that eating plants can be really tasty and satisfying.
I hope this recipe brings you joy, happiness and love while providing you and your family with delicious comfort food.
Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 medium carrot or 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (I prefer red onion)
- 2 cups chopped yellow potato
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup water from boiled veg or regular water
- 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp paprika (I recommend smoked paprika)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I like it cheesy)
- 1/2 small lemon or 1 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt (not necessary) - if desired
- 1 box of pasta (450-500g)
1. Boil two pots of water, one for your pasta and one for your vegetables.
2. Chop onions, carrots and potatoes (peel potatoes if desired). Places vegetables in boiling water along with cashews until vegetables are soft enough to pierce with a fork and completely cooked. Do not worry about the cashews, they will be soft enough to smoothly blend at this point.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, boil the pasta.
. When vegetables and cashews are soft, add them to a high speed blender (I use a ninja blender) and add in all the spices, coconut milk, water from boiling the veggies (or regular water if there is not enough), nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Blend until creamy and smooth.
5. Drain the pasta and place back in the pot or in a large bowl.
6. Pour the creamy "cheese" sauce over the pasta and serve right away, as it is best when warm.
**You will probably have extra cheese sauce left over to eat on tacos, burrito bowls, boiled/steamed veggies, or mashed potatoes.**