Enjoy a healthy dinner tonight with our nut-free Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese. This rich and comforting dish is a wholesome twist on a classic favorite. Unique creamy carrot hemp seed sauce brings super creaminess without the need for cashews and coconut cream. Not only is this recipe incredibly easy to make, but its taste is truly delightful.
So, whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just looking to explore a healthier, dairy-free option, unveil the magic of Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese, made without cashews, you will be surprised how delicious it is!
- Carrots: Carrots serve as the primary base for our creamy sauce. Beyond their vibrant color, carrots are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, including beta-carotene, which can promote eye health.
- Pasta: Pasta provides the classic mac and cheese feel. Opt for whole-grain or gluten-free pasta to add fiber and cater to dietary preferences.
- Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds are the star ingredient that gives the creamy texture to your mac and cheese. They are a nutritional powerhouse, offering a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential amino acids, and protein.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds refreshing notes to the sauce while contributing vitamin C and a slight acidity to balance the flavors.
- Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is the go-to ingredient for achieving a cheesy taste without using cheese.
- Miso Paste: Miso paste is a fermented ingredient that infuses the sauce with a deep, savory umami flavor. It’s also a source of probiotics, which can benefit gut health.
- Sea Salt: To season the dish.
- Black Pepper: Black pepper provides a hint of spiciness and complements the dish’s flavors.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder contributes a subtle, aromatic garlic flavor to the sauce.
How to Make Nut-free Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Prepare the Carrots: Place the sliced carrots in a medium saucepan. Add water just enough to cover them. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the carrots on low heat until they are fork-tender. This will take approximately 8 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level; if it evaporates before the carrots are tender, add a bit more water. Alternatively, you can steam the carrots for a similar result.
- Cook the Pasta: While the carrots are cooking, bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water for later use.
- Blend the Creamy Sauce: Transfer the cooked carrots to a blender. Add the hemp seeds, ¾ cup of water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso paste, sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If the sauce is too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if needed, adding more salt, pepper, or garlic powder to suit your preferences.
- Combine and Serve: Pour the creamy sauce into the pot with the cooked pasta. Warm the sauce and pasta together over low heat until they are well combined and heated through. Serve your creamy vegan mac and cheese right away, garnishing it with chopped parsley for a fresh touch.
Enjoy your homemade Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese, where the magic of hemp seeds creates a delectable, nut-free, and dairy-free creamy sauce that’s sure to satisfy your food cravings.
- Hemp Seeds for Creaminess: Hemp seeds are a fantastic substitute for cashews, lending creaminess without the nutty flavor. They’re also rich in healthy fats and protein, making your mac and cheese both delicious and nutritious.
- Carrots for Color and Nutrition: While carrots are a crucial component of this recipe, they serve as much for their vibrant color as they do for flavor. They add a beautiful orange hue and nutritional value to your mac and cheese. Ensure they’re cooked to perfection for the best results.
- Miso for Extra Flavor: The umami-rich miso paste adds a layer of depth and complexity to your sauce, making it taste even closer to traditional cheese-based versions.
- Balancing Seasonings: Taste your sauce before combining it with the pasta and adjust seasonings as needed. Nutritional yeast provides that classic cheesy flavor, so feel free to add more if you desire extra cheesiness. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your personal preference.
- Achieving the Right Consistency: If your sauce turns out thicker than desired, simply use some of the reserved pasta water to reach the perfect consistency without sacrificing flavor.
- Get Creative with Add-Ins: Don’t hesitate to get inventive! Customize your mac and cheese with your favorite vegetables, herbs, or spices. Whether it’s sautéed spinach, roasted red peppers, or a touch of smoked paprika, experimenting can lead to delightful variations.
By following these expert tips, you’ll create a delectable, creamy vegan mac and cheese where hemp seeds take center stage, providing both the texture and nutty richness that make this dish a standout favorite. Enjoy your culinary journey!
If you happen to have any leftovers (though it’s so delicious, they might disappear quickly!), here’s how to store your Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese:
- Refrigeration: Transfer any remaining mac and cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate it promptly. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheat the mac and cheese on the stovetop or in the microwave. To maintain its creaminess, add a splash of your preferred plant-based milk (like almond or oat) while reheating. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.
Ideas for Add-Ins
One of the joys of making mac and cheese is the freedom to customize it to your liking. Here are some delicious add-in ideas to try:
- Steamed Broccoli Florets: Add a pop of green and extra nutrition by tossing in some steamed broccoli florets. They pair perfectly with the creamy sauce.
- Sautéed Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms bring a rich, earthy flavor to the dish. You can cook them separately and fold them into your mac and cheese for added depth.
- Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Roasted cherry tomatoes burst with sweet and savory goodness. Roast them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then mix them into your mac and cheese for a burst of flavor.
- Vegan Bacon Bits: Crispy vegan bacon bits add a delightful smokiness and crunch to your mac and cheese. You can find pre-made vegan bacon bits at many grocery stores or make your own from tempeh or coconut flakes.
- Chopped Spinach or Kale: Add some leafy greens for extra nutrition and a vibrant color contrast. Sauté or steam them before mixing them into your mac and cheese.
- Caramelized Onions: Slowly caramelized onions add a natural sweetness and depth of flavor. They pair wonderfully with the creamy sauce.
- Hot Sauce or Red Pepper Flakes: If you like a bit of heat, drizzle your mac and cheese with hot sauce or sprinkle it with red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
- Smoked Paprika: A pinch of smoked paprika can impart a smoky, barbecue-like flavor to your dish. It complements the creaminess of the sauce beautifully.
If you enjoyed this recipe or have any questions, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. And don’t forget to explore our other plant-based recipes for more culinary adventures.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes to Try
- 2 cups (300 g) carrots, sliced
- 8 oz (226 g) pasta of your choice
- ½ cup (80 g) hemp seeds
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice (about half of the lemon)
- 3 tbsp (18 g) nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp (5 g) miso paste
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Place carrots in a medium saucepan and add water just enough to cover them. Place on a stove over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat until fork-tender; this will take about 8 minutes, but cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the carrots. The water will evaporate almost completely; keep an eye on it and add a bit more if the carrot is not cooked, and the water is gone. Alternatively, you can steam the carrots.
- While the carrots are cooking, boil the pasta according to the package instructions. When ready, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Once the carrots are ready, transfer them to the blender along with hemp seeds, ¾ cup of water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso paste, salt, and pepper. If the mixture is too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings with more salt, pepper, or garlic powder if needed.
- Add the creamy sauce to the pot with the cooked pasta and warm it, ensuring the sauce coats the pasta evenly.
- Serve your creamy vegan mac and cheese right away, garnishing it with chopped parsley. Enjoy!