Brandi is natural born food lover of anything from gourmet cheeses and wine down to plain baked breads. When not in the kitchen cooking, she loves to be outdoors, especially near the ocean. She puts her focus mainly on healthy organic ea...
Cashews are the secret ingredient in this creamy, dreamy vegan mac and cheese recipe
Macaroni and cheese goes vegan in this recipe, and you won’t believe how deliciously creamy it is.
I love the idea of healthy, plant-based meals for my family, and although I am not vegan, I really enjoy experimenting with vegan recipes, especially cheesy comfort food. This vegan mac and no cheese is just as good if not better than the real thing. It yields that hearty, comforting flavor and texture, but with absolutely no dairy.
Cashews are a magical ingredient in this recipe, and when pureed, they become very creamy — perfect for this dish. Then quinoa pasta gets tossed in the rich and flavorful “cheese” sauce made from the pureed cashews and coconut milk, and is baked up casserole-style, just like your usual cheesy favorite.
2 (8 ounce) boxes small shaped quinoa pasta (I used elbows)
3/4 cup plain, full-fat coconut milk
1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or more for a cheesier flavor)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1/4 cup vegan shredded cheese (optional)
Breadcrumbs, for topping (if desired)
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
To a bowl, add the raw cashews, and cover them with the hot water. Let the cashews soak for 4 hours to soften.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the quinoa pasta, and cook as directed on the package, about 8 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain the pasta, and set it aside.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and spray a medium-size casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Drain the cashews, and add them to a food processor along with the coconut milk, minced onions, nutritional yeast and seasonings. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.
Transfer the cooked pasta to the baking dish, pour the cashew sauce on top, and mix well.
Sprinkle the top of your mac and cheese with the vegan cheese and breadcrumbs (if desired), and bake uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes or until the top of the macaroni and cheese begins to brown.
Remove from the oven, and garnish with fresh parsley. Best when served warm.