Mac’n’Cheeze – but not as you know it 😉
Mac’n’Cheese is usually made with white macaroni pasta, lots of dairy such as cheese and milk, plus some salt and hmmm…not much else. Well I think it’s missing a trick to include some more healthful ingredients! I’ve created a vegan version of this popular dish by swapping out the dairy milk for oat milk and the cheese for a mix of nutritional yeast flakes and some grated vegan cheese. Sweet smoked paprika, wholegrain mustard and some boullion stock, ramp up the flavour and I’ve also managed to sneak in a whole cauliflower and a whole lot of butter beans too!
Topped with some breadcrumbs and a little extra vegan cheese, it gives it a crunchy texture on top after being baked in the oven.
I managed to find some macaroni which had been made using oat flour which means it is a slower releasing carbohydrate compared to regular white pasta. If you can’t find any, you can sub the small macaroni pasta shape for any wholewheat or gluten free pasta – just follow the recipe the same as directed. Cooking your pasta al dente – so taking it out about 1 minute before it is fully cooked, means it won’t go mushy in the oven when it is baked. Just test a piece 1 minute before the packet instructions and check it is cooked but should still have a ‘bite’ to it.
That’s it! Lets get cooking!
Enjoy! Joanne 🙂
First, assemble all of the ingredients together. You will need;
- 1 cauliflower
- an onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tin butter beans
- wholegrain mustard
- sweet smoked paprika
- boullion powder or a vegetable stock cube
- plantbased milk – I used oat – I made my own quickly by whizzing 1/2 cup jumbo oats in a blender with 450mls water – no need to strain – it’s ready to use like this.
- nutritional yeast flakes
- salt & pepper
- breadcrumbs – panko or make your own by blitzing 1-2 slices of bread in a food processor until it forms a crumb texture.
- vegan cheese – optional for topping
Read through the instructions below before starting and make a note to preheat your oven once the pasta has finished cooking.
Next, place the pasta into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and allow to cook for about 8-10mins – or as per packet instructions. Just remember to take it out and drain it about 1 minute before so it is al dente and has a ‘bite’ to it when you chew it:
While the pasta is cooking, place the cauliflower (washed and broken into smaller florets), onion (skin removed and quartered), 2 cloves garlic (skin removed), 1 tin butter beans (rinsed and drained), 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp boullion powder or 1 stock cube, into a food processor:
Pulse a few times, then process for about 1 minute:
Next, with the food processor running, slowly pour in the milk through the jug spout if it has one. If not, turn off the food processor motor, add half of the milk, replace the lid and pulse a few times, add the remaining milk and then process for about a minute until smooth:
Once the pasta is cooked, (time to preheat the oven to 180 degrees), remove it from the heat, drain and add to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the mixture from the food processor and stir together with a spoon and season with ground black pepper and sea salt:
Pour the mixture into an oven proof dish which is large enough to contain all of the mixture:
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered, at 180 degrees. After 30 minutes, take it from the oven and sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and grated cheese:
Return to the oven and bake for a further 5-10mins until it is crispy and golden on top:
It’s now ready to serve! I added some rocket leaves and alfalfa/radish sprouts as I felt the peppery flavours blended well with the mustard and sweet paprika in the Mac’n’Cheeze but if you find this too overpowering, you could try a milder tasting mix of steamed broccoli and fresh, spinach leaves:
Healthy, Vegan Cauliflower & Butterbean Mac'n'Cheeze Bake
- 300 g macaroni pasta dried weight
- 1 medium cauliflower washed, broken into smaller florets
- 1 medium brown onion skin removed and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic skin removed
- 1 tin butter beans rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp wholegrain English mustard
- 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp boullion powder or 1 veg stock cube
- 450 mls plantbased milk I used oat - made with 1/2 cup oats, blended with 450mls water
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- ground black pepper & salt to season
- 1 cup grated vegan cheese
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
Begin by assembling all of the ingredients and read through the instructions to familiarise yourself with them.
Next, add the pasta to a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Once, boiled, turned down to a simmer for about 8-10mins or as per packet instructions. Just test 1 minute before the end of cooking time and drain once it is cooked al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, place the cauliflower, onion, garlic, butterbeans, mustard, paprika, cumin, and the boullion or stock cube, into a food processor and pulse until it is broken down.
Next, gradually add the milk to the food processor while it is switched on. Process until the mixture is smooth - around 1 minute.
Once the pasta is cooked, (also, now preheat the oven to 180 degrees), drain it and add it to a large mixing bowl. Stir through the mixture from the food processor. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Now add the whole mixture to a suitable sized, oven proof dish and spread evenly.
Cook, uncovered for 30 mins. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and grated cheese on top. Retrun to the oven for about 5-10mins until the top is crusty and golden.
Serve with rocket leaves and micro greens such as alfalfa and radish sprouts or a more mild green like spinach and steamed broccoli.