Creamy Plant-Powered Mac & Cheese
Serves 6 to 8
Gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free
Special Equipment: Blender
This Creamy Plant-Powered Mac & Cheese demonstrates so deliciously that we can enjoy familiar favorites with a few healthy and compassionate twists. The downsides that come with the high fat and high cholesterol aspects of dairy and cheese are real but using a few humble ingredients and seasonings, you can have your mac & cheese and eat it, too!
This plant-powered version uses nourishing foods like vegetables and beans to create the scrumptious, creamy dish we all know and love. Beans provide protein and important fiber which is important to heart and digestive health. Using everyday ingredients like carrots and potatoes means you probably have everything you need to make this dish without a trip to the grocery store.
Nutritional yeast is one ingredient that may not be familiar but can be found in most grocery stores today (often in the baking or “healthy eating” aisle). It’s a yellow, flaky ingredient that gives this dish its cheesy flavor. You can also use it in soups, stews, on salads, and on popcorn for an added boost of B vitamins and savory flavor so it definitely won’t go to waste! If you like an extra flavor pop, try adding a couple of tablespoons of sriracha or buffalo sauce to the sauce when blending.
For the Macaroni
1 pound regular or gluten-free macaroni
1 teaspoon salt
For the Sauce
1 15-ounce) can of cannellini beans, with liquid
1 medium potato (fist-sized), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, peeled, quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1. In a large pot, cook the macaroni in salted water according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes, add the frozen vegetables, if using. Drain and return the macaroni to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, put the beans, potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, water, and salt in a medium pot, then bring to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are soft.
3. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until completely smooth and glossy. Pour the sauce over the macaroni in the pot and reheat. Sauce will absorb as macaroni sits so don’t be afraid to use it all. Alternatively, transfer macaroni to a baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs then bake for about 20 minutes at 375ºF. Serve immediately.