Today we are making one of my favorite comfort food dishes growing up: Vegan Mac and Cheese. It’s dairy free, gluten free and the vegan cheese sauce has a secret ingredient that makes it extra creamy without adding any nuts... Cooked cauliflower!
You can sneak in as many veggies as you like but even if you didn’t have any extra vegetables with this mac and cheese, you would still get an entire head of cauliflower – fantastic, right? It’s the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, and I love using it as a quick dinner recipe for busy weeknights too.
Since I’m currently experimenting with a higher fat low carb ‘ketogenic’ way of eating (and we made this video a while ago), I’ve included several ‘keto pasta alternatives’ in the tips & tricks down below.
If you’d like me to create more ‘keto’ pasta recipes that are grain-free, low in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats, definitely leave a comment down below. I’d love to hear what your favorite pasta dishes are!
How to make Vegan Mac and Cheese | Low Carb Cauliflower Cheese Sauce (Keto, Paleo, Nut Free, Gluten Free)
SERVES: 2-4 people (meal or side dish)
EQUIPMENT: blender, rubber spatula, baking dish, oven, cooking pot (optional)
Cauliflower Cheese Sauce
6 cups cauliflower florets (1 medium head), steamed or cooked
½ cup cooking water
½ cup oat milk, unsweetened (low carb ‘keto’ options: see tips & tricks)
4 to 8 tablespoons nutritional yeast (depending on how ‘cheesy’ you like it)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1-2 tablespoon(s) Shiro miso (optional, or use extra salt)
1 tablespoon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used 2 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper)
2 gratings nutmeg (optional)
Vegan Mac and Cheese
250g macaroni, fusilli or penne (I used lentil pasta – for low carb ‘keto’ options: see tips & tricks)
Vegan cheese, finely sliced (optional - I used one that has coconut oil, bean flour and turmeric)
Cashew Parmesan (optional - a recipe from Vegan & Raw 2)
Cauliflower Cheese Sauce
1. Cook or steam the cauliflower florets until tender. Don’t pour away the cooking liquid, you’ll need some of it for the sauce.
2. Put the cauliflower in the blender together with ½ cup of the cooking water, oat milk, nutritional yeast, olive oil, miso, mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Blend until smooth.
Vegan Mac and Cheese
1. Pre-boiling the pasta is optional so you can skip this step if you prefer your pasta ‘al dente’. Boil some water in a medium cooking pot, add a generous sprinkle of sea salt and boil the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes (no longer or the pasta will become too soft in the oven).
2. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
3. I like to mix the pasta with the sauce in the cooking pot and then pour the whole thing into a baking dish. If you want to, you could add extra veggies like sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, shredded kale, broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms…
4. Top with vegan cheese shreds if you like (totally optional) and/or a generous sprinkle of nut cheese crumble (a recipe from my cookbook ‘Vegan & Raw 2’).
5. Pop the mac and cheese in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how soft you like your pasta.
JULIE’S TIPS & TRICKS:
• This vegan mac and cheese will stay fresh for at least 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can store leftovers in the freezer too.
• Want to pump up the flavor and nutrient content of this vegan mac and cheese? Add extra vegetables like sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, shredded kale, broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms…
• Want to make this cauliflower cheese sauce completely grain free and ‘keto’ approved? Replace the oat milk with unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
• There are so many gluten free pasta alternatives on the market, made from buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, beans… The lentil pasta I used in the video is grain free + higher in fiber and protein than regular pasta.
• There are several ‘keto pasta alternatives’ too.
o The first option: kelp noodles, which are made from seaweed. They’re a great source of iodine + they don’t taste like anything so they’re perfect to combine with the vegan cheese sauce.
o The second option: konnyaku/shirataki based ‘miracle’ noodles, which are made from the Japanese Konjac root (also called White Yam). To make the noodles, the soluble fiber is extracted from the Konjac root and mixed with water and limewater. The result: zero carb and gluten free noodles that are 97% water and 3% fiber – basically zero calorie noodles which is why they’re called ‘miracle’ noodles. I haven’t tried them yet but I definitely want to order them soon! Will keep you updated on that If you’ve tried them before, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
o The third option: spiralized zucchini noodles. I personally prefer to serve the noodles raw so they hold their shape and nutrients. If you want the ‘full mac and cheese option’, put the vegan cheese sauce in the oven with the vegan cheese shreds and allow these to melt and brown a bit. Then you can top the raw noodles with the ‘vegan cheese gratin’ and a sprinkle of nut cheese crumble if you wish
Now I would love to hear from you!
Were you a fan of mac and cheese as a child too? What’s your go-to pasta dish right now?
Would you like me to create more ‘keto’ pasta recipes that are grain-free, low in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats?
Definitely let me know by leaving a comment down below.
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