Who does not love mac and cheese! Everyone's favorite comfort food growing up, it's so good but oh-so-bad for you. And I would believe that most of us have been guilty of the overly processed boxed mac and cheese when we are rushed on time but needed a quick cheesy fix. This wholesome dish is both filling and its creaminess oozes with strong flavors, making it the perfect healthier replacement for the traditional mac and cheese.
Nutritional yeast is used in place of cheese, and is a source of protein and vitamin B-12 and is completely gluten free. Nut milk is used to cater to vegan diets, and gluten-free pasta can be used instead of regular wholewheat pasta as I'm using here. My 'cheese sauce' was made using kabocha, but pumpkin or even canned pumpkins can be used if you are short on time. I added turmeric for its anti-inflammatory goodness but it really does not alter the taste much and adds a rich golden color. Sometimes I sneak different kinds of veggies such as broccoli or kale, and other times I just make it as it is. Get creative with your vegetables especially if you have picky little eaters!
This recipe is always a crowd-pleaser, and let me warn you that it's hard to stop picking at it and going back for more servings, especially knowing that it has everything good for you!
Vegan Mac & Cheese
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1hour 15 mins
- 300g Wholewheat Fusilli
- 700g Kabocha (or pumpkin, cut into wedges with seeds removed)
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Red Onion (diced)
- 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 stalks Celery (chopped roughly)
- 2 tsp dried Sage (I used fresh)
- 3 sprigs of fresh Rosemary (optional)
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Arrow Root Powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 cup Vegetable Broth
- 2/3 cup Almond milk (or just any non-sweetened, non-dairy milk such as soy or rice milk)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Baby kale garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 200c. Line a tray with baking sheet and arrange the kabocha wedges evenly. Top with sage and rosemary and drizzle olive oil evenly. Season with salt and pepper and place tray into the oven for 40 minutes.
- Cook pasta in boiling water according to packet instructions.
- When the kabocha is done in the oven, remove and leave to rest. Pierce the flesh with a fork to make sure it is tender. Scoop all the flesh including the sage and rosemary and put into a blender. Pour in the vegetable stock and blend everything together until a smooth puree. Set aside.
- Heat a saucepan on the stove with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When heated, add the onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Next, stir in the spices (paprika, cinnamon, turmeric powder and dijon mustard) and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the kabocha puree and simmer on a low boil for 5 minutes.
- While waiting for the puree mixture to cook, remove cooked pasta from boiling water when al dente and pour onto a serving dish. Add in the chopped celery and mix evenly. Set aside.
- Mix the arrowroot powder into the milk and whisk. Once the kabocha puree has been simmering for 5 minutes, pour the arrowroot and milk mixture into the saucepan and stir well. Turn off the heat, and add the nutritional yeast. Whisk everything thoroughly until even and there are no clumps from the nutritional yeast.
- Pour the mixture into the dish with the celery and pasta and mix well. Top with garnish.
Recipe and pictures by Joanna Fong of Clean Cheating