Vegan Mac & Cheese

By: Julia Huston

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

You guys. I am so excited to share this recipe with you all. As someone whose body doesn’t necessarily agree with dairy, I wanted to find the ultimate dairy-free substitute for one of my favorite comfort foods, and by George I think I’ve got it. Not only is this recipe super quick and easy to make, but I think it may actually be better than the real thing. The delicious, cheesy flavor is created by using nutritional yeast, which is a vegan-friendly, dietary supplement that can be found at your local grocery store. For this recipe, I used Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast which I picked up from my local grocery store, but you can buy any brand. These “cheesy” flakes are rich in vitamin B-12, which is known for boosting energy, and they pack around 8 grams of protein per serving (Medical News Today). Nutritional yeast also contains the powerful antioxidants glutathione and selenomethionine, both of which can help protect your body from chronic diseases caused by oxidative stress (Healthline). All you’ve got to do is throw these ingredients in a blender and boil your noodles, and you’ve got yourself the perfect vegan mac and cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz shell pasta (I used Banza chickpea pasta, good for all my gluten free people out there)
  • 1 ½ cup roasted cashews (soaked in water for 2+ hours) 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 3 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt 
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast 
  • To garnish:
  • Chopped Italian parsley 
  • Red chili flakes 
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the box. 
  2. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce: combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth, about thirty seconds.
  3. Once the pasta is finished boiling, reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water and set aside, then drain the pasta. 
  4. Return the pasta to the same pot and add the sauce from the blender, as well as the pasta water that you set aside (the pasta water will make the sauce extra creamy)!
  5. Mix to combine and serve with parsley, black pepper, and red chili flakes ( as much as  desired).
  6. Store in an air-tight container for up to three days; however, this recipe is best  enjoyed immediately because the “cheese” sauce does not reheat as well. 

Reference List:

Dredsen, Danielle. “Top 5 Nutritional Yeast Benefits and How to Use It.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323245#benefits.

Julson, Erica. “Why Is Nutritional Yeast Good for You? – Healthline.” Healthline, 30 Nov. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutritional-yeast

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