Simon Hill has completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, completed a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Course at Cornell University and is currently finishing his Masters in Nutrition at Deakin University. He is passionate about making nutritional information simple and accessible so that people can make informed decisions about the food they feed themselves and their family. You can find him at @plant_proof.
If you’ve grown up eating Mac & Cheese and don’t want to part ways with it now that you’re a responsible and healthy adult, this recipe is for you! Delivering the same mouth-watering taste minus the profuse amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol in the conventional version, this vegan Mac & Cheese is bound to be a winner amongst your friends and family.
The surprisingly cheesy sauce is made from a blend of cashews and veggies, making it both incredibly nutritious and tasty. The pasta base can be made with a pulse or legume pasta for added protein, and is topped with Omega3-rich hemp seeds and homemade breadcrumbs for that unmistakable crunch.
This Mac & Cheese Pasta Bake is oil-free, rich in protein and Omega 3s and is a good source of healthy carbohydrates—and did I mention it’s delicious too? One of these weekends, spoil your friends/family with this Vegan Mac & Cheese and watch for their jaws to drop!
Calories Per Serve: 420 Kcal
4 cups Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce (per recipe)
700g Gluten Free Penne Pasta (or other pasta, chickpea or other legume pasta works too and is super high in protein and gluten free too)
1-2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 slices gluten-free bread (If not fussed about gluten, can use any bread)
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1. Preheat the oven at 180-200°C
2. Make the Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce per the Sharp Vegan Cheese recipe. This will be quite flavoursome (perhaps seems a little too flavoursome), but during baking some of the flavour cooks off/soaks into the pasta to make a more even and more refined cheesy flavour
3. Take the garlic powder, dried oregano, 2 slices of toasted bread, hemp seeds, a pinch of salt and put into a food processor until they are broken up into a nice crumbly mix. Careful not to go too fine as the extra crunch after baking really makes this dish!
4. Cook the pasta for just 10 minutes in boiling water per packet instructions. Do not fully cook pasta because the next step is to put the entire dish in the oven and the pasta will cook further. If you boil the pasta for too long, you will end up with soggy mac & cheese which is not fun. When the pasta is cooked, give it a good rinse under water, drain and then leave in the pot.
5. Now, pour in the cheese sauce into the pot and mix through thoroughly to ensure the sauce evenly covers all sides of the pasta.
6. Now, put the pasta into a baking tray and put the crispy topping over the top evenly.
7. Now you will bake for 10-20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes as depending on what type of pasta you choose cooking time can vary.
Sharp Vegan Cheese Sauce:
Calories: 130 kcal
3 Potatoes (Red or white)
5 Baby Carrots (yellow or orange)
1/2 large Yellow Capsicum
1/2 cup Soaked Cashews
2-2.5 tsp Chickpea Miso
4 cloves Roasted Garlic
3 tsp Mustard Seed Powder
3 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1.5 cups Water
2 tsp Pink Sea Salt
Roast your garlic by peeling, wrapping in foil and popping in the oven for approx 20 minutes at 200-220°C until browning.
Peel the potatoes and then boil with carrots, yellow capsicum (yellow pepper), onion and carrots for approx 25 minutes. You can tell when this is ready by piercing the potato with a fork – if nice and soft then the vegetables are done.
Drain the liquid then put the potatoes into your food processor first and blend until you get it nice thick and mushy. Then, add the garlic, carrots, yellow capsicum and onion and blend again until they, too, become completely blended into a constant mushy texture with no visible solid bits.
Now, add every other ingredient in the list above (with water being slowly added) until you get a nice smooth consistency. If you wish for a thicker sauce, add less water. Sometimes if I am making this cheese for other dishes, I use less water and then let it set in the fridge to create a lovely cheese for dipping and buddha bowls. For mac & cheese, I prefer to add all the water in slowly while blending as once we bake the dish, some of the extra fluid cooks off so it prevents it from drying out.
If you do let this set in the fridge, it will firm up a bit. So when using, if you want to thin it back down, heat it up on the pan and as required, add some extra water by the tbsp until you get to the desired consistency.
Visit plantproof.com for more.