Vegan Mac and Cheese
Vegan mac and cheese made with a butternut squash base. Super yummy and creamy, it won't leave you missing the real thing. In fact, you'll be coming back for seconds.
I don't miss dairy much since following a vegan diet for the last year or so. I do miss the flavor of cheese, but not how it makes me feel afterwards. Luckily there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a cheesy flavor while following a plant based diet. All it takes is some nutritional yeast and creativity.
Perfecting Vegan Mac and Cheese
I've been trying to perfect vegan mac and cheese for awhile now. I've been using my Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Queso Dip with Butternut Squash as the base for the mac and cheese with a couple of updates to make it more creamy. While the queso dip is pretty much fat-free, this mac and cheese has a naughty ingredient to make it more creamy and cheesy like: Vegenaise!
It's best to think of this meal as a treat. Definitely not as naughty as the real thing, but probably not something you should be eating every day. We like to eat it on Sundays, which is our day for treats like craft beer, vegan ice cream and vegan nachos or mac & cheese!
The Final Ingredient
There is a final ingredient that really makes this mac and cheese taste like the real thing. It's so simple and inconspicuous that you might overlook it.
The final touch is a ton of cracked pepper on top. I've been using white pepper from Trader Joe's and it tastes amazing.
Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe
Ingredients for Cheese:
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 4 to 5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 lemon wedge
- 3 tablespoons of Vegenaise
- Trader Joe's Brown Rice Penne Pasta (or any type of macaroni type pasta)
- Cracked pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut squash in half, remove seeds. Lightly coat squash in olive oil and sprinkle salt on the inside.
- Bake squash for about 1 hour or when the inside is soft.
- Once the squash is soft, remove from the oven and let cool.
- Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stir, and bring down to a simmer.
- While the pasta is cooking, take this time to make the cheese.
- Remove skin from the squash. Peeling the skin off can be kind of a pain, so I just cut it off. Super easy and quick.
- Cut the squash into medium size pieces. Toss half into a food processor and blend with one cup of almond milk. Add the other half the squash and blend with the second cup of almond milk.
- Add the 4 table spoons of nutritional yeast and garlic cloves, and blend.
- Add cumin, salt, paprika, lemon juice and Vegenaise and blend again until smooth.
- Taste to see if more salt or nutritional yeast is needed.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and rinse with cool water. Add to a large pan.
- Add the vegan cheese to the pasta, stir and heat up on medium heat.
- Add serving to a bowl and top with cracked pepper and whatever other toppings you'd like.