Kid Friendly Plant-Based Mac and Cheese!

My readers know how much I prefer to cook outside-the-box and supply modifications to my recipes. Parents need to pivot at any moment, and that means anything in the pantry could be on the menu. This high protein plant-based version of my Mac and Cheese recipe is also vegan. Whether you are eating plant-based or not, this twist on traditional family favorite will have your kids eating clean without dairy, dyes, or stablizers. A win-win for all! 

You’ll Need:

1 pound Elbow or Fusille Bucati pasta, cooked to manufactures directions 

1-2 tablespoons Olive oil for cooked macaroni to prevent sticking

1 can ( 15 oz ) organic Cannellini beans

3-4 tablespoons Cashew milk, or your favorite substitute

1/2 – 1 cup Daiya brand vegan cheese shreds, white or yellow cheese substitute flavors. Add additional cup if baking the optional casserole recipe

1/2 teaspoon Kosher or pink Himalayan salt 

1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder, or to taste

2 tablespoons Miyoko’s creamery European style cultured vegan butter or good quality olive oil 

Pinch of ground Turmeric

Pinch of ground Nutmeg

Pinch of ground Cayenne pepper ( optional ) 

Here’s How: 

Cook and drain the pasta according to the manufacture’s directions. Toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil or Miyokos butter to prevent the pasta from sticking. Set aside. You’ll thank me later.

Drain and rinse the beans, reserving liquid. Add the beans to the bowl of your food processor or standing blender with the remaining ingredients, except the cheese, butter, and seasonings. 

Blend on high to liquefy. Add additional cashew milk, or reserved liquid from the beans if your family prefers a thinner sauce.

Transfer to a medium, high-sided pot and continue to warm on medium-low heat. Add the cheese and butter, occasionally stirring, until cheese shreds are melted. 

Add the cooked pasta, stir to cover with sauce. Add seasonings and adjust to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley, or fresh basil leaves for additional sweetness. Serve warm.

Variations: 

Can’t find Vegan Cheese? Substitute with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. If using nutritional yeast, add 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.

No Beans? No Problem. Substitute with additional vegan cheese. I love cashew cheese because it provides the lovely nutty notes we love in Mac and Cheese. 

Instant Pot Version. Place blended mixture in your instant pot and heat on manual for 5 minutes, season when done.

Try not to Substitute Cannellini’s due to their level of creaminess, but if you need to, Great White Northern beans would be a close match.

Bake it!  Place your completed mac and cheese a 9 x 13 heatproof baking dish and top with additioal cheese , seasoned bread crumbs or Panko and bake 350′ F Degrees until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are toasty brown. 

Add Cooked Green Peas and tell the kids the recipe is, “Mac and Sneeze”! Trust me- they’ll love it!

Not just for Pasta! Use this delicious sauce to plunge or pour over veggies!

Nutritional information if you need it: 

Based on 1/4 cup sauce using Cashew milk and Nutritional Yeast. If including Miyoko’s vegan butter, add 10 calories and 1 additional gram of fat per serving. 

Approximate Serving Size: 2.5 ounces. Based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Calories: 37 

Calories from Fat: 5

Total Fat: 0.5

Trans Fat: 0

Cholesterol : 0

Sodium: 148 mg

Potassium: 15 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 5.7 grams

Dietary Fiber: 1.9 grams

Protein 2.6 grams

Vitamin A: 1%

Calcium : 5%

Iron 5%

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