Smokey Mac N Cheese

Mac n Cheese is an all time great comfort food. The simpleness of it, the creaminess, the saltiness, the great texture of melted cheese, it’s got it all. However, as a diabetic, Mac n Cheese can unfortunately be a nightmare. In recent years, I’ve experimented with replacing some pasta with cauliflower, even once going as far as completely replacing the pasta with cauliflower. Here, I think the perfect balance has been struck to make Mac N Cheese a bit healthier while still retaining the factors that make it so enjoyable. 

Like my Vegan(ish) Nachos we use a cashew based sauce usually found in vegan Mac N Cheese and we add in some good ole’ fashion grated cheese. The vegan cheese sauce here is fantastic, and that’s because my sister went on a personal crusade to make the best vegan cheese sauce last year. She was nice enough to let me borrow her secret sauce for this recipe. 

This Mac n Cheese has some nice smokey undertones. We top it with Coconut Bacon, green onion and add in red chili flakes to the sauce to give it bbq vibes. With that said, the coconut bacon needs to be made in advance. However, it only takes 5 minutes to make, excluding the time it spends in the oven, so feel free to make it right before you make the Mac n Cheese. I hope this comfort food brings you as much joy as it brings me!

Active time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Medium head of cauliflower
  • Two medium carrots, peeled (120g)
  • Heaping ¾  cup cashews, (Soaked 6-8 hours without high powered blender)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup chickpeas              
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1  cup almond milk
  • 8 oz macaroni
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut bacon
  • 150g cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into thin slices

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Put a medium saucepan filled with salted water on at high heat. We will first rice the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into florets small enough to fit in a food processor. Put the grater blade into the food processor and process the whole head. The same result can be accomplished with a box grater. Set the cauliflower aside. 
  2. Once the water is boiling drop the carrots in, boil for 9-10 minutes, until easy to pierce with a fork. Once finished, pull the carrots out with thongs or a slotted spoon, the same water will be used for pasta. Set aside. 
  3. Now make the sauce. Add the carrots, cashews, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chickpeas, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and water to a blender. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, we want this to be very smooth. 
  4. Now, return the salted water to the heat and cook your macaroni along the instructions on the box. Cook them al dente. 
  5. While the pasta cooks, heat a medium pan on medium heat. Add the oil, cauliflower and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes. 
  6. Now it is time to assemble, get a 9x13in casserole dish. Add the pasta, cauliflower, sauce and the shredded cheese. Mix well. Top with the coconut bacon and the green onion. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, until it is bubbling around the sides. Enjoy!

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