Vegan Mac and Cheesy Goodness with Green Chillis
What's for dinner?
People of the internet! I am sure that you are just as obsessed with pasta as I am. It's delicious and an easy dish to quickly whip up when you are running low on time or groceries. It’s also a super versatile meal so it can satisfy a plethora of dietary choices. In our house, I eat a plant-based diet while my husband eats everything. My go-to recipe includes brown rice pasta, marinara (sometimes homemade or store-bought that I add my own flair to) and any veggies we have (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, lentils are some examples). Add a side salad and you've got dinner in under 30 minutes!
But, when I have a bit more time on my hands, I will make this incredible mac and cheese dish. And yes, it's completely vegan and easy to make! It's hearty, tangy, creamy, and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!
Vegan Mac and Cheese with Green Chillis
Escape adulthood for an evening by making this gooey, creamy, and delicious mac and cheese using plant based ingredients. Use brown rice pasta to turn this dish gluten-free. Pair with fuzzy socks, a cozy blanket, and a SpongeBob Squarepants episode.
One 16 oz pack of brown rice spirals (I used these from Tinkyada)
½ white onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw cashews (cover with boiling water for 20-30 minutes to soften or soak overnight in the fridge)
½ cup cooked potato
1 ½ cups vegetable broth (I used low-sodium to control the salt levels of the dish)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard
1 lemon (juiced)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp paprika
¾ tsp chili powder
⅓ cup nutritional yeast (add more to up the cheesy flavor)
1 4 oz can of diced chills (use half for the sauce and the rest to use as toppings)
Start by cooking the pasta according to package instructions. While the water boils and the pasta cooks, use a medium sized pan to saute the onions and garlic with a bit of olive oil or a splash of veggie stock (medium to high heat). Salt and pepper to taste and cook until translucent about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
Next, add the onion and garlic mixture to a high-speed blender with the remaining ingredients, adding only half of the green chilies. Blend until smooth (scrape down the sides or add a bit more liquid if the sauce is too thick to blend). *Keep adjusting the seasonings until the sauce tastes just right*
Once the pasta is done, drain, set aside, and cover with a kitchen towel. Put the now empty pot that you used to boil the pasta back on the stove and add the cashew cheese. Cook on low, while stirring frequently, until it has thickened. Add the pasta noodles to the cheese sauce, along with the remaining green chilies and stir. Serve this deliciousness immediately!
The secret to this sauce (and to cooking in general) is to always taste as you go and to season to your liking. A recipe is more like a guideline so follow your gut and add more spices that you think will make the dish better (I rarely measure when I cook). You are not bound to the measurements of a recipe so use your intuition when you cook and your food will turn out amazing!
(baking is the only exception as it can be a bit tricky since the measurements have to be more exact to bake/rise properly)
*Recipe adapted from amazing chef Dana, The Minimalist Baker