This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is a great recipe to sneak some hidden veggies in for your kids – especially some of those veggies that are harder for them to eat, like zucchini, spinach and cauliflower.
There was once a time that I didn’t actually know what Mac and Cheese was. I used to see reference to it, and wonder what this super amazing comfort food actually was. It always looked so creamy and delicious in pictures.
It wasn’t until I was married that I finally looked up a recipe and made it for dinner. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. I was expecting the holy grail of cheesy, gooey comfort food, and the recipe that I made was actually somewhat bland. It took quite a few attempts to finally achieve the perfect, tasty, comforting bowl of cheesy pasta goodness.
And then I went vegan.
The hunt for the perfect Mac and Cheese recipe began again. I tried recipes with cashews and lemon juice, but it just didn’t have enough flavour. I was completely put off by the idea of nutritional yeast, so I went looking for recipes that didn’t use it. Eventually, I did try it, but I found it didn’t really meet my cheesiness expectations. The vegan community raved about it, and I just found it a bit weird tasting. Some months later, I did try it again, and it actually tasted quite good. Turns out, I just needed to give my taste buds a chance to adjust to vegan flavours.
I kept trying different recipes using pureed cauliflower, vegan butter and flour, cornflour, everything… and I finally came up with the recipe below. It’s a great recipe, especially for kids, because you’re a nice dose of veggies with your comfort food. This recipe also contains some of those vegetables that can be harder to get your kids to eat, like cauliflower, zucchini and broccoli. I find grated zucchini to be a really good vegetable to add, because it hides in the sauce quite well.
This recipe makes quite a large batch, so I tend to put the leftovers in the freezer so I have an easy comfort meal on another night.
- 2 Medium Potatoes
- 1 Medium Carrot
- 1/2 Head Cauliflower
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1 Tspn Salt
- 3 TBS Nutritional Yeast
- 1 TBS Lemon Juice
- 2 Tspn Garlic Powder
- 2 Tspn Onion Powder
- 1 Cup Cashews Soaked
- Peal and dice the potatoes and carrots. Break the cauliflower up into small florets.
- Steam the potatoes, carrot and cauliflower for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until soft. Timing will depend on how big your pieces are.
- Add water and almond milk to blender. Add all other ingredients. (Adding the liquid first in the blender will help the ingredients blend better).
- Blend until smooth.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
Veggie Mac and Cheese
- 500g Pasta gluten free if necessary
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
- 1 cup Mixed Vegetables grated zucchini, spinach, chopped broccoli
- 1 batch Cheesey Sauce see recipe above
- 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs gluten free if necessary
- Vegan Parmesan to serve
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (skip this step if you are using the time saver option of not baking).
- Place a large saucepan of water on the stove to boil. Ensure there is enough water and space in the pot to fit the pasta and vegetables fully submerged.
- Once water is boiling, pour in pasta to cook. Stir pasta to make sure none sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.
- When pasta is almost cooked (still a little crunchy) add frozen peas and mixed vegetables to water to cook. It is normal for the water to stop boiling at this point. Press down vegetables with a spoon to make sure they are all fully submerged. Cook for approximately 2 – 5 minutes depending on the size of the vegetables until vegetables are just soft.
- Drain pasta and vegetables. Pour back into the saucepan. Pour over cheesey sauce. Mix to combine.
- To save time, the pasta can be reheated for a few minutes on the stove and served as is. Top with breadcrumbs and vegan parmesan if desired.
- Otherwise, pour pasta into a large baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until browned and crispy on the top.