A classic comfort food made gluten-free and vegan! My version of stovetop vegan mac and cheese is ready in just 20 minutes and is so creamy you won’t believe that it’s dairy-free!
Is there anything better than a bowl of macaroni and cheese? It has been quite some time since I’ve had “real” mac and cheese and dang that one was a hard one to let go of, but I have to say, there are so many amazing vegan replacements for the traditional comfort food favorite.
Arguably America’s favorite meal, maybe aside from pizza, is creamy and delicious macaroni and cheese. nd I’m not talking the kind that comes in a box with that cheese powder, I’m talking real, whole food mac and cheese. And if you have a dairy intolerance like myself, you may have been on the hunt for a solid swap. I hope that this recipe is that for you.
There are recipes for vegan mac and cheese made with cashews, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, and non-dairy shredded cheese replacements- which are all tasty, like my Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, but I was searching for something a little bit more classic and basic all at the same time.
Let’s touch on some problem scenarios you may have encountered when trying to make vegan, non-dairy macaroni and cheese and see if this recipe can check all those boxes.
Problem scenario #1: The recipes you’ve tried aren’t “cheesy” so it’s more of like a cream pasta.
This recipe: definitely has a cheesy taste with the use of ample nutritional yeast (which also packs a lot of B vitamins and protein!) In combination with the nutritional yeast, the use of vegan parmesan cheese and garlic in this recipe also gives it a cheesy boost.
Problem scenario #2: The recipes you’ve tried aren’t creamy enough and the cheese sauce is too thin.
This recipe: is definitely creamy! It’s made with coconut milk to help raise the creamy factor while also offering that thickness. I also use a secret ingredient, cauliflower to creamify it, thicken it, and add more nutritional value (while being sneaky with your kids who won’t eat cauliflower!)
Problem scenario #3: It doesn’t look like mac and cheese… the color is off.
This recipe: Instead of using orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, etc. this recipe uses pimentos which not only give it that cheddar orange hue, but it also provides a little sharpness, like cheddar cheese, in taste too (without making it too starchy or altering the flavor).
I’m going to count this recipe as a problem solver, craving satisfier, sneaky kid nutrifier all in one meal ready in just 20 minutes!
I would love to hear your thoughts on my version of vegan mac and cheese so please leave a comment below and tag me on Instagram! @HealthyLittleVittles #HealthyLittleVittles
- 12 oz (340 g) gluten-free pasta (I used Jovial Foods Organic Brown Rice Shells)
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) minced garlic
- 1.5 cups (150 g) cauliflower florets, chopped
- 3 tablespoons (24 g) tapioca flour/starch
- 2 tablespoons diced pimentos (jarred/canned)
- 1 can (13.6 oz, 403 mL) coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons (53 g) nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup (23 g) vegan parmesan cheese (or you may use regular if not vegan)
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the minced garlic and cauliflower tossing occasionally to cook evenly and prevent it from burning.
- Once the cauliflower is soft (about 10 minutes) whisk in the tapioca flour to make a roux.
- Next, add the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, diced pimentos, vegan parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Transfer the cheese sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sauce back to the skillet.
- Drain and rinse the pasta and then add it to the skillet, toss in the cheese sauce and serve! Garnish with more vegan parmesan cheese if desired.
* recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker
*Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker