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Mac and cheese is like, the ultimate comfort food.
Starchy carbs, gooey cheese sauce and a satisfying crunch on the top.
Mac and cheese though seems like exactly the kind of junk food I thought I’d had to kiss goodbye to when I started eating plant-based & gluten-free. It is literally pasta and cheese – two examples of the exact things I no longer eat
This vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese recipe brings that comfort food right back to your table.
This recipe gives you the basis for many a cheesy dish – use the vegan cheese sauce component in other recipes, like a potato gratin, another pasta-based dish or in savoury pancakes.
I also use the sauce and the crumb from this recipe to make a cauliflower cheese side-dish for Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner.
You could even combine the two – keep the macaroni and add cauliflower to the recipe to create a kind of gooey, veggie-filled hybrid.
How to make macaroni cheese vegan & gluten-free
The recipe for this dish is below. First though, let’s cover the basics of making your mac and cheese vegan and gluten-free
How to make gluten-free mac & cheese
There are two components of macaroni cheese that would typically contain gluten:
- Macaroni – Traditional pasta is made with durum wheat, so it is definitely not gluten-free. Luckily nowadays, you can get gluten-free pasta of all shapes and sizes in most large supermarkets or health-food stores. Use whichever variety you prefer, but do watch out for non-vegan ingredients – while regular dried pasta is usually vegan, some free-from brands use egg or milk to help bind them. If you’re based in the UK, Morrison’s own-brand free-from macaroni has always worked well for me.
- Flour – The cheese sauce in many mac and cheese recipes is made with a roux. A roux combines butter and flour to form a thick, white sauce. The vegan cheese sauce in the recipe isn’t based on a roux, so we don’t need to replace the flour.
How to make vegan mac & cheese
Now clearly, regular macaroni cheese is not vegan: the clue is in the name. So how can we emulate a ‘cheesy’ sauce? There are really two sides to this issue that I can see:
- Texture – by making a sauce based in butterbeans, it comes out nice and thick, and the addition of xanthan gum gives it that sticky, gooey mouthfeel.
- Flavour – every vegan’s go-to for a cheesy taste, the addition of nutritional yeast (plus a little garlic powder) hits your mac with a really cheesy punch of flavour.
Vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese
- 500 g Macaroni (gluten-free)
For the crumb:
- 30 g Almonds
- 30 g Gluten-free oats
For the sauce:
- 2 400g cans Butter beans
- 240 ml Vegan mylk
- 4 tbsp. Rapeseed oil
- 6 tbsp. Nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp. Xanthan gum
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 0.5 tsp. Garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (approx. 350°F)
- Part-cook to macaroni by submerging it in boiling water for just 4-5 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to halt the cooking process and add to an ovenproof dish
- In a food processor or blender, combine the oats and almonds and blast for a few seconds, to make a breadcrumb consistency. Pour into a bowl and set aside
To make the sauce:
- Drain and rinse the beans and add them to a blender with the mylk and oil, and blend for a minute or so, pulsing a few times at the end
- Add in the nutritional yeast, xanthan gum, salt and garlic powder and blend again for a few minutes
- When you are sure that the sauce is free from lumps, pour it over the macaroni in the dish
- Sprinkle over the ‘breadcrumbs’ and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (or 15 minutes if using individual dishes)