Gluten-Free & Vegan Mac N Cheese

1. Mac 'n Cheese with broccoli & peas copy

If you’re anything like me, by the time February rolls around, you’re craving some comfort food. At the top of my list for this soothing pleasure is macaroni and cheese. The trouble with this is, it isn’t very healthy or comforting to my body. If I ate this only once in a great while, I wouldn’t worry about it but this dish is a regular request in my home so I had to make it nutritious.

Here’s what I did…

I used gluten-free pasta. I got the creamy, cheesy flavor I (and my family) craved by using cashew cream plus nutritional yeast instead of using cheese and cream. I added broccoli and peas to get some veggies in on the action. And finally, I got a crunchy texture with a sprinkling of gluten-free panko and tomato slices for the finishing touch. This dish was so good that even my cheese loving, boxed mac and cheese making, daughter couldn’t get enough of it!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. gluten-free pasta (I like a small pasta like a mini penne so that the sauce isn’t overwhelmed with a big pasta)
  • 1 lb. broccoli, par-boiled so that it’s half way done
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 slices of sun-dried tomatoes, cut in a 1/4” strips and then in 1/4″ dice
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free panko for the crunchy topping
  • 7 slices of fresh tomato for garnish

Directions

Make the cashew cream by soaking the cashews in water for about 20 minutes. Add nuts and water to the a food processor and puree until smooth.

In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, but drain when still quite firm to the touch (you’ll cook it for about half the recommended cooking time on the package).

Place a large (at least 10”) sauté pan over medium heat, and add the oil.

Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook just until the garlic begins to color.

Lower the heat to med-low, add the cashew cream and the nutritional yeast. Season with salt and pepper and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the pasta and follow with the broccoli, peas and sun-dried tomatoes. Add a bit more water if too thick.

Add the pasta and sauce to a baking dish.

Sprinkle liberally with panko. Top with the tomato slices.

Bake covered in a pre-heated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes; uncover and cook under the broiler for 2 minutes or just until the panko turns golden.

Remove from the oven and serve.

6 Responses to Gluten-Free & Vegan Mac N Cheese

  1. Carolyn Dugas February 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    This mac and cheese recipe sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it. Please let me know what the calories are per serving and the what the serving size is. T

    • chefsilvia February 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      Hi Carolyn. The calories for a large serving (1/4 lb of pasta) is 608.6 calories. That serving size also has 20.8 grams of protein. Personally that would be too filling for me but this will give you a reference point. Thank you for asking.

  2. Melissa February 25, 2014 at 3:56 am #

    Beautiful looking dish! Since I’m gluten free all the way I’m loving it even more! Thanks for posting it ;-)

    • chefsilvia February 25, 2014 at 4:44 am #

      My pleasure Melissa. Lots more GF goodies here too. Let me know if you’re looking for anything in particular and I’ll be happy to experiment. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment.

  3. Heather S August 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    I can not wait to try this. I am cooking it tonight for my picky family comprised of vegans, meat eaters and a teen that won’t eat veggies. I think this will make everyone happy.

    • chefsilvia August 16, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

      Woohoo! I’m so excited that you’re making this.

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