This by any means is not healthy but man is it GOOD! You’ll quickly learn I don’t often (if ever) cook with dairy.
I’ve been severely allergic to dairy since I was born, so it’s been a journey navigating the dairy-free world. Let me just say it’s improved significantly in the last 15 years. There are tons of food lovers and food artisans out there creating lovely alternatives for us dairy-free guys and gals.
One such brand is Daiya! MAN OH MAN have their alternative cheeses and cream cheeses made a huge difference in my ability to make childhood favorites like Mac & Cheese, Quesadillas, Grilled Cheeses and PIZZA!
My boyfriend who doesn’t have any allergies even loves it! Many people have mentioned to me it tastes similar to the real thing and BONUS! It even melts. Now isn’t that the greatest news?! I bring you my dairy-free version of Mac & Cheese!
Vegan Mac & Cheese
- 1/4 cup Butter (unsalted Fleischman’s or Earth Balance)
- 2 cups Milk (unflavored, unsweetened almond or rice milk)
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- Salt + Pepper, to taste
- Picante, to taste (I used Cholula Chili Garlic)
- 2 1/2 cups Daiya Cheese (I used shredded Cheddar and Havarti cut up)
- 1 box pasta (Gemelli, Penne or Macaroni)
- Salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup Spinach (cooked and drained)
- 1 container Mushrooms (chopped)
- 1/2 lb Ground Meat (cook separately)
- 1 tsp Herbs (Basil, Rosemary or Parsley chopped)
- 1 whole Red pepper (chopped and cooked)
- 1 cup Daiya cheese (shredded Cheddar)
- Crispy fried onions
- Picante (Cholula, Sriracha, Tabasco)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Boil a pot of water for pasta. Salt the water. Once water is boiling, put in pasta. Cook 1-2 min less according time on the box – you do not want mushy pasta, you want it just a bit undone because when you bake it will soften. Drain, set aside.
- Cook your sausage or meat and all the mix ins you plan to have for the dish. Drain of oil and water if needed. Set aside.
- Make Roux – melt butter in pot. Once melted, whisk in flour, cumin, salt and pepper slowly so it’s mixed with the butter. You want it to get thick. Whisk for 2 min. Slowly pour in milk while whisking to create the base of the cheese sauce. Whisk constantly (so it doesn’t burn) for 8-10 minutes or until thick. Once thick, Remove from heat. Add half of the cheese, mix in and melt. Add rest of cheese (leaving 1 cup for the top). Now you have your cheese sauce!
- Get baking pan and line with aluminum foil. Lightly coat in oil. Pour some cheese sauce at the bottom of a mixing bowl. Add pasta. Mix pasta, rest of cheese sauce, and all your fixings in a bowl. Pour into foiled pan and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Sprinkle fried onions and apply picante liberally!
- Bake for 15 minutes. Check to see if it is crispy on top. If not, bake for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes before serving.