This recipe was extremely exciting for me. I decided to really go with my gut on this one and incorporate different ingredients that I have worked with the past few months to create something new. I have read tons of recipes and articles that go back and forth between using soaked cashews or potato/carrot bases to create vegan cheese sauces. I decided to mix em all up together and see what happens!
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical because I know how creamy and decadent a Mac n Cheese sauce is, so I did not want this one to disappoint! Luckily, this turned out to be absolutely delicious and I cannot wait to keep messing with this recipe to find new and exciting plays on it.
This sauce is relatively mild on its own and is perfectly delicious to keep that way, especially if you have small children or picky eaters in the house. It is a perfect way to incorporate veggies into the ever-growing demand for Mac n Cheese from little ones! Or- if you are like me and think everything is better with a little spice, you can add the Mexican Chipotle vegan sausage by Field Roast. (At this point you can probably tell that I am ever-so-slighty in love with Field Roast products so bear with me!)
OH and just in case you didn’t know, this recipe used Banza pasta which is made out of chickpea flour and completely Gluten Free! 🙂
- 2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
- 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 can of full fat coconut milk
- 3 or more tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box of Banza dried “Cavatappi” Pasta, cooked “Al Dente” as directed on box
- 2 Mexican Chipotle sausage links, crumbled with hands
- about 1 cup of broccoli florets, steamed
*Soak your raw unsalted cashews in water overnight to help break them down.
Peel your carrots and potatoes, then chop them into small chunks or cubes. When chopped, place them in a large skillet and cover with water. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder into the skillet. This will season your potatoes and carrots as they cook down. Turn the burner on to a medium/low heat and cover the skillet for about 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, poke your carrots and potatoes with a fork to check if tender. Once they are tender turn the burners off and keep covered until ready to use.
Then take out a large food processor or Vitamix. Drain your carrots, potatoes, and cashews and place them into the processor. Add in your minced garlic, canned coconut milk, nutritional yeast, turmeric, paprika, and salt and pepper. Be somewhat liberal with your salt and pepper because they will both help to create a depth of flavor. Then turn your processor/Vitamix on and blend until thick and creamy. (If you have a Vitamix, place it on the setting for soup. This will ensure that everything breaks down and becomes smooth while also heating this sauce up for you!)
Once your sauce is fully blended you can leave it in the processor until your pasta and toppings are done cooking.
Cook your pasta as directed by the package for “al dente.” Make sure to salt your pasta water liberally so that you can season the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, you can begin to cook your toppings. Steam your broccoli florets ((however you prefer to) until they are tender.
While the broccoli is steaming, crumble your mexican chipotle sausage into a skillet on medium/high heat. (I suggest using the one you had your carrots and potatoes in so you have less to clean!) Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet with the sausage and stir. Let the sausage crumbles cook and brown for about 3 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside. Once the broccoli is steamed, you can pour it into the same skillet with the sausage and lightly mix them together.
Then, when pasta is fully cooked, reserve about 1/3 cup of pasta water and then drain the Cavatappi. Pour the drained Cavatappi into a large bowl. Top it with your sausage and broccoli and mix together. Finally, give your vegan cheese sauce another few pulses in the processor and pour over your pasta along with your reserved pasta water.
Depending on how much sauce you want on the pasta, you may have some extra sauce left over! This will save well in the fridge for a couple of days. Or- you can use it to make a mild mac n cheese dish on the side if you are serving both spice loving adults and small kids!
Use two spoons to toss the pasta together with the sauce. This will help to ensure that each piece of Cavatappi gets covered in cheesy goodness! Once fully mixed, you can serve and enjoy!
I hope that this recipe sparks some fun new Mac n Cheese experiences in your home. You can add any spices or toppings to this and make it completely your own. The options are endless and you can really never go wrong because this is Mac n Cheese and nothing is better than Mac n Cheese!