While I don’t think we should need an excuse to make lots of warming comfort food, I will gladly use the dropping temperatures as motivation to make as much as I want. This vegan mac & cheese really hit the spot, and this recipe made enough sauce that I can use the leftovers on nachos or on more pasta later in the week.
This plant-based sauce is my favorite because it is oil-free, nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free and it has an amazing smooth texture. If you’re looking for a substitute to the boxed stuff, definitely be aware that the taste of this sauce doesn’t remind me of a cheese sauce from a box or the kind made with real cheese (or vegan faux cheese). The texture and appearance is very similar, but the taste isn’t the same since this is made from whole plant foods.
I’ll be honest: If your palette isn’t adjusted to simple and pure plant-based eating, you might not love this, so I’ve suggested some things to add below to enhance the flavor. Also, this dish is best when fresh. Once stored in the fridge it loses its creaminess due to the starches in the potato, so don’t say I didn’t warn ya! You can reheat the sauce on its own and add it to fresh pasta to keep the creamy texture though.
Either way, if you’re curious to try something different with ingredients that are easy to find, this is definitely one to try. You basically just need to boil up some potatoes and carrots then add those to a blender with some spices and blend it until very smooth. That’s it! I love to serve mine with some stewed tomatoes on top to kick up the flavor, or even a little squirt of ketchup. It’s also fun to try adding difference spices, peppers or sriracha as well.
This recipe is adapted from Chef Mark Anthony to be oil-free, vegan and just as delicious.
- 1 box of your pasta of choice (I used chickpea pasta from Banza)
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (or 2 large)
- 3 regular sized carrots
- 1 cup water reserved from boiling the potatoes and carrots
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (add more if you desire)
- 2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon or brown mustard
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- Prepare your pasta as directed on the box and set aside (you can do this at any point. I like to make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge and add to fresh pasta).
- Scrub potatoes and carrots (peel if desired). Chop potatoes and carrots into cubes about 1 inch thick.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and carrots and boil for about 10-15 minutes, until fork tender.
- While the potatoes and carrots are boiling, add the rest of the ingredients (except the pasta) to a bowl.
- Once the potatoes and carrots are soft, reserve about 1 cup of water from the pot.
- Drain the rest of the pot and add the potatoes and carrots to a high-speed blender, or scoop them out of the pot and transfer them to the blender, taking care not to add too much extra water to the blender.
- Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved water to the blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more water as necessary to reach your desired consistency. I ended up adding about 3/4 cup of water.
- Add in remaining sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. I blended for about 3-4 minutes until it was absolutely silky and smooth. (If you don’t have a high-quality blender you might not be able to get it super silky.)
- Add the sauce and mix it with your pasta until you’ve got the right amount (you will have leftover sauce!). Feel free to add any toppings you might like (crushed red pepper, stewed tomatoes, ketchup, etc.) and store the remaining sauce in the fridge for up to a week.