Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

October 10, 2019lectinfreemama

Few comfort foods are more uncomfortably ingrained in American culture than mac and cheese. Ask any sample group of Americans what real macaroni and cheese should be, and you’re likely to get at least three hotly debated answers, up to and including “white people stole it from us.” The “us” being enslaved African-Americans, who first made the dish for Thomas Jefferson. (1)

Some people have never tasted a mac and cheese made with real cheese. In fact, the audience-chosen winner of a San Francisco macaroni and cheese competition (yes, this exists) announced, upon winning, that the “cheese” he used was Velveeta. People dropped their canned beers in horror. Where was the artistry? The counter-culturalism? (1)

Pinterest graphic for vegan macaroni and cheese with red lentil pasta and fresh chopped parsley.
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Anyway, I digress, because the recipe I’m about to share with you is an abomination in the eyes of all facets of American mac and cheese culture. First of all, it’s vegan, so I’m defying the laws of labeling by even calling it mac and cheese. Secondly, it’s gluten free, which inherently makes it the most pretentious mac and cheese east of the Rockies (and south of, say, Manhattan).

Pressure Cooker

Pressure cooking is not optional for this recipe. You need a pressure cooker to cook the noodles or you will not denature enough of the lectins to call this a compliant meal. I use this Instant Pot model in my kitchen almost every day. It’s nearly always on sale on Amazon (see link), but if not, use code LECTINFREEMAMA at the Instant Pot online store to get $10.00 off, plus free shipping.

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Ingredients for Mac & Cheese

To make vegan (and lectin-free) comfort food mac and cheese, you need something that is in the ballpark of real, honest-to-God macaroni. That means no veggie spirals, chopped hearts of palm, or shirataki noodles (delicious in other recipes, but not for this). You’ll also be making a homemade creamy vegetable sauce that tastes like, well, cheese (duh).

Red Lentil Pasta

Pressure cooked lentils are back on the menu for everyone in Dr. Gundry’s latest book, The Longevity Paradox. However, they’ve always been a safe option for vegans and vegetarians on The Plant Paradox diet. I used a red lentil penne pasta (Amazon has a variety pack available), and it was a total experiment. I thought they’d turn to mush in the pressure cooker. That was not the case, however, and I was pleasantly surprised to have a noodle on my fork that tasted like…real pasta.

Lectin-Free Vegan Milk

I used unsweetened almond milk to make the sauce, but you can use flax milk or hemp milk (I’ve heard hemp milk is pretty awesome, but have never been able to find it). Just make sure it’s unsweetened with no added flavoring. (Don’t use coconut milk for this).

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast flakes are the cheese of the vegan world. They kinda taste like an aged Parmesan if you close your eyes and pretend you’re not in Italy. Not only that, they are boosted with B vitamins, which vegans typically lack in their diet. I get this brand–it has a complete line of essential amino acids, plus no folic acid (bad for those with a MTHFR mutation).

Cauliflower

Yes, it’s true. There should be no shock that there is cauliflower in this, because, well, it’s in everything now. We cannot escape its sulfury grasp on our once favorite comfort foods. It’s invaded our pizza crusts, our brunch foods, mashed “potatoes,” and now–for better or for worse–our mac and cheese.

Where to Source Ingredients

Stores are starting to carry major brand lentil pastas now, like Barilla. It’s also getting easier to find compliant nut milks and nutritional yeast flakes. However, I’ve only been able to find organic versions of all these things through Thrive Market. They’re up to 50% cheaper than store prices, too. Look for the Tolerant brand of lentil pasta, Pacific organic nut milks, and the Thrive generic brand of yeast flakes.

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Vegan Mac & Cheese Recipe

PREP TIME 20 MINUTES TOTAL TIME 20 MINUTES SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 8-ounce box red lentil pasta
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 cup plain milk (almond, flax, hemp)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Chopped fresh parsley and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. PLACE pasta in a pressure cooker, along with just enough water to cover noodles. Salt to taste. Seal and pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. Allow steam to naturally release (do not quick release). Remove lid and strain pasta in a colander.
  2. MEANWHILE, combine cauliflower, milk, and garlic in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Add nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ cup of water to the pan and use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender) to process until very creamy and smooth.
  3. COMBINE the pasta with the sauce and gently toss to coat. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley and a generous amount of olive oil.

Printable Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Print

Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

Plant Paradox compliant red lentil penne pasta with an Italian-seasoned creamy cauliflower and nutritional yeast flake sauce

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, phase 3, vegan
Keyword cauliflower, lentil pasta, mac and cheese, nutritional yeast, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author lectinfreemama

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce box red lentil penne pasta
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 cup plain milk almond, flax, or hemp
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving
  • extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Instructions

  1. PLACE pasta in a pressure cooker, along with just enough water to cover noodles. Salt to taste. Seal and pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. Allow steam to naturally release (do not quick release). Remove lid and strain pasta in a colander.

  2. MEANWHILE, combine cauliflower, milk, and garlic in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Add nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ cup of water to the pan and use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender) to process until very creamy and smooth.

  3. COMBINE the pasta with the sauce and gently toss to coat. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley and a generous amount of olive oil.

Recipe Notes

Pressure cooking is not optional–noodles must be pressure cooked to effectively reduce lectins.

14 Comments

  • Janice

    October 15, 2019 at 12:32 am

    This looks amazing! I will definitely try it!

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 15, 2019 at 1:52 am

      Thanks! It was definitely tasty.

  • Jennifer Morrison

    October 15, 2019 at 12:44 am

    This recipe looks so delicious!!!! I can’t wait to try it, and love that it can be done in a pressure cooker.

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 15, 2019 at 1:52 am

      That is a huge factor in many of my meals…whether I can make it in the Instant Pot!

  • Tricia Snow

    October 15, 2019 at 3:51 am

    This looks amazing! You really have nailed it with this one!

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 17, 2019 at 1:36 am

      Thank you!

  • Deanna

    October 15, 2019 at 4:05 am

    We are trying to incorporate vegan food 2xs a week and this is the perfect recipe to fit our family.

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 17, 2019 at 1:37 am

      Good, I’m so glad! This is such a great family recipe that kids love.

  • Heather

    October 15, 2019 at 10:30 am

    I would have never thought to make mac and cheese with a pressure cooker. Really interesting. Mac and Cheese is a great meal to make on those cool weekend nights.

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 17, 2019 at 1:37 am

      Yes, it’s a great fall meal!

  • Tara Hallie

    October 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    This looks like a great recipe! I will have to try it-thanks for sharing!

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 17, 2019 at 1:37 am

      Let me know how you like it!

  • Lisa

    October 16, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Cannot wait to try out our pressure cooker with this!

    1. Autumn.m.boyle@gmail.com

      October 17, 2019 at 1:38 am

      I love pressure cooker meals 🙂

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