Seriously though. I never thought I’d be eating gluten free and vegan macaroni and cheese. Isn’t that just straight up gluten and dairy? Mac’n’Cheese is a comfort food though and sometimes you need a little comfort.
It’s what we ate when mom wasn’t home to cook for us. I remember my sister reading the instructions on the back of the Kraft box while I poured the noodles into the boiling water while standing on a stool. If dad was home alone with us, it was that, ordering in, or pan scrambled eggs. So we had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every so often. But I never dreamt of eating it since becoming gluten and dairy free.
Recently though, I walked into a store (way too hungry) and there wasn’t much I could eat. With few other choices, I settled on the vegan and gluten free mac’n’cheese. I was pleasantly surprised. I decided to recreate it at home more to my taste (and not for $8 for a small container of it!). Here’s what we like the best over in this house. It works the next day for leftovers too.
Vegan and Gluten Free Mac’N’Cheese
1 cup cashews
1 piece garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 almond milk
2 teaspoons salt
pinch of pepper
3 heaping Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoons turnmeric, optional for color
1/4-1/2 cup water
2 cups broccoli, optional
For the topping (optional)
2 slices gluten free grainy bread, toasted
1-2 teaspoons vegan butter
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
9 ounces gluten free, 100% corn pasta
In a food processor, blend cashews until fine. Add garlic and lemon juice, blend. With the motor running, add the oils and then the milk. Next, add the salt, pepper, garlic granules, nutritional yeast, and turmeric if desired. With the motor running, add a little of the water at a time until the texture is smooth, creamy, and still thick. Scoop the “cheese” mixture into a container and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 9-inch baking dish. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. If you’re adding broccoli, boil this for just a couple of minutes now. Set aside. If skipping broccoli, move on to boiling the pasta. I made this version with Schar Pasta, Bionaturae, and the final version with Le Veneziane (penne, pictured). All great options: not just “good for gluten free”. Drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking liquid.
Wipe out the food processor to use for making the breadcrumb topping. Combine the topping ingredients in the processor and blend until fine crumbs.
Combine the pasta, 1 1/4 cup of cheese sauce, broccoli, and 2 Tablespoons of the reserved liquid. Mix until completely combined. If it needs to be smoother, add more of the hot water. If you want it cheesier, add up to another 1/2 cup of the sauce.
Pour the pasta into a 9-inch baking dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Keep any remaining cheese sauce in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Add to hot pasta whenever you need your mac’n’cheese fix.