Vegan Mac & Cheese

By Carol Dudar

Photos By Above The Salt

A warm and hearty comfort vegan dish, perfect for apres ski or a relaxing weekend with friends and family. (serves 4)

Pasta:

  • 3 cups (750 ml) gluten free pasta, uncooked

Sauce:

  • 2 cups(500 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) kosher salt
  • 3 cups (750 ml) small chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup (250 ml) peeled and small cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white onion, diced
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled (approx 2 tsp (10 ml)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) fresh black pepper
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) nutritional yeast
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) avocado or a neutral flavoured coconut oil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup (1 ml) kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • (optional: ¼ tsp (1 ml) or less dried chili flakes

Add the thyme, bay leaves and salt to the water and vegetable stock in a medium pot, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat under the pot to a simmer, and add the cauliflower and butternut squash. Simmer for 15-20 min or until the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, bring a large covered pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the packaging. Stir frequently, and do not overcook, but cook until a la dente.

Drain and rinse off in cold water to prevent sticking and from the pasta to keep cooking. Remove from heat, remove thyme and bay leaves, strain liquid off the vegetables and set the liquid aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Add the drained vegetables to a food processor or blender, add the black pepper, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, olive oil and ½ cup of the vegetable cooking liquid.. Blend on low speed until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed and add more cooking liquid if sauce seems too thick.

Preheat a small frying pan, and add the avocado oil.

Mix the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, parsley, salt, black pepper, garlic and chile flakes. Add to the frying pan, heat and stir until bread crumbs are lightly toasted and golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a small (1 L) baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the mixture and cover the baking dish with foil, and bake for 10 min or until hot. Turn the oven setting to broil, remove the foil and broil the top until the top of the mac n’ cheese is a bit crispy and golden brown.

Let rest for 5 min, and serve.