Mac & Cheese used to be one of my favourite pasta dishes growing up. It’s so creamy & comforting and just the perfect thing to tuck into on these cold, wintry evenings. Im definitely having one of those days today. I feel like I could just curl up on the sofa and tuck into a huge mountain of Mac & cheese and drink mugs of hot chocolate under a blanket all evening. I’ve been feeling super drowsy and tired all day and not full of energy in the slightest! I really hate it when I have days like this because I’ve been so motivated recently and constantly buzzing around on the go.
So, anyway.. vegan Mac & cheese. I’m not strictly dairy free, but it’s not something that I eat a large quantity of and I actually prefer most non-dairy alternatives. I LOVE vegan pizza and there’s now luckily some really great vegan cheeses on the market. I remember when the choice was fairly limited and I really wasn’t a fan; but now there’s such a huge range and you can even get vegan soft cheeses and mozzarella. For this recipe I’ve actually just used one of my old faithful ingredients: nutritional yeast to create that delicious cheesy flavour. I’ve been buying this for the longest time now and always make sure to have s good supply in my kitchen cupboard. It looks a little strange in appearance (a bit like fish food actually) but trust me on this one, it has a delicious cheesy flavour and works really well when making vegan sauces, dips and even in pesto. To be honest I could sprinkle it over just about any savoury dish really. It’s great on salads and pizza!
The sauce is made kinda how you would make a traditional white sauce, apart from I’ve subbed most of the ingredients for slightly different alternatives. But it’s still super quick and simple to do and can be used in such a variety of different recipes. You can also really customise the flavours- so it’s a good staple recipe to book mark. For the pasta, I’ve used a gluten free rice macaroni pasta, which has actually held it’s shape really well here. I’ve said this before, but I do find that gluten free pastas can be so hit and miss. I’ve tried SO many over the years and lots of them become a bit soggy and just fall apart when you stir through the sauce.. not ideal.
I think this would be a great recipe to make for someone who isn’t vegan, as it’s a recreation of a typical non-vegan comfort food. I feel like these kinda’ things are a great way to introduce people to more plant based meal options, rather than handing them a giant plate full of salad leaves.
Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Heaped Tsp coconut oil
- Tbsp spelt flour can use gluten free
- 1 cup coconut milk I used Rebel Kitchen
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- Pink salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 100 g rice macaroni pasta
- 250 g chestnut mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- Olive Oil for cooking
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.
- To make the sauce, start by heating the coconut oil over a low heat, then stir In the flour to create a roux.
- Remove this from the heat and pour in a little of the milk and whisk continuously to dissolve the flour mix.
- Return the sauce to a low heat and whisk in the rest of the milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce a simmer and continue to stir as the sauce thickens.
- Stir through the seasonings and nutritional yeast.
- Meanwhile, wash and slice the mushrooms and sauté these in a frying pan over medium to high heat and crush in the garlic clove. Cook these until golden and crisp on the edges.
- Once the pasta has cooked, drain the excess water and stir through the cheese sauce.
- Serve topped with the garlic mushrooms and dig in!