Vegan and Gluten-free Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

vegan mac and cheese with broccoli

Vegan and Gluten-free Mac and Cheese recipe
Serves 4

Yes I know this shouldn’t be called Mac and Cheese since there is no cheese and not even real pasta. BUT this creamy pasta recipe really hits the spot when you are craving something cozy and gooey, plus it’s a meal in a bowl that we never mind having leftovers of. One tip: don’t skip the tomato paste. Cashew sauces tend to skew very sweet, so you need to add plenty of salt plus something acidic (like tomatoes) to get a sauce more similar to cheese.

12 oz fusili rice pasta
1 head of broccoli cut into florets (stems saved for curry)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 small russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup teaspoon nutritional yeast
Sriracha to taste (optional)
Salt to taste

1. Cook pasta a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions.  In last 1 minute of cooking, add broccoli florets. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool down.

2. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil and saute chopped onion until it softens, about 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic, granulated garlic, onion powder, turmeric and tomato paste and stir. Add chopped potatoes, cashews, and 2 cups of water.  Simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 10 minutes.

3. Add ingredients from skillet to a blender along with nutritional yeast and sriracha if using.  Blend until smooth adding water to get desired sauce consistency. (I used 1/2 cup.) Taste sauce and season with salt to taste--you’ll probably need more than you expect because real cheese is salty!

4. Return pasta and broccoli to pot and add enough sauce to coat.  You may have some extra sauce. Save for topping veggies, for tacos, or for vegan nachos.