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Leyla Eraybar: Gluten, Dairy and Guilt-Free Mac’n’Cheese

Leyla Eraybar Mac n cheese

When considering the constraints of a vegetarian, gluten-free diet, certain comfort foods seem like they will just have to be distant memories. And considering that a lot of comfort foods aren’t necessarily that healthy, generally I don’t mind this fact. Being conscious and considered about what foods you put into your body important, however, when it comes to a classic macaroni and cheese, I couldn’t help but look for a recipe that works. As a kid growing up in the South Carolina, southern comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and collard greens were staples of down home cooking. However, again it is important to note that sometimes the way these foods are prepared aren’t conducive to maintaining a gluten-free diet. And some modifications usually need to be made in order to keep the recipe relatively healthy. But, even with modifying the recipe, taste is also super important! With all of that in mind, what I’m sharing below is  a delicious vegan mac’n’ cheese that eliminates some of the heavier ingredients found in traditional recipes for this dish. Even so,  do remember to always try and eat in moderation!

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 35 mins

Serves: 5 to 6 people

Ingredients for vegan Cheese Sauce:

1 cup of nutritional yeast flakes

1 can of cannellini beans(about 1 1/2 cups) – make sure to drain before adding to blender

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp dijon mustard (add more or less depending on taste)

1/4 tsp fine pepper + salt (also to taste)

1 cup of mashed sweet potato (about 1 small potato)

1/3 cup of vegan butter softened (I like to use Earth Balance, but there are plenty of other options to choose from)

plain soy milk, creamer or water (to thin sauce to desired thickness at the the end)

Directions for “cheese” sauce:

1. Bake the sweet potato .

2. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Begin on a low setting and gradually increase speed until mixture becomes smooth.

3. Now do a small taste test and adjust spices and sweetness accordingly. 

4. Finally, thin out the sauce to desired thickness using the soy milk, soy creamer or water. I like to use the soy creamer, but any of the other options will work just fine.

5. Allow the sauce to simmer on the stove top until ready to be served over the macaroni. 

Ingredients for Macaroni:

6 cups of cooked gluten free elbow macaroni (try glutino)

2 tbs parsley flakes (dried)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

3 cups “cheese” sauce (see recipe above)

Optional Ingredients for Macaroni:

1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes

dash of salt

pinch of chili pepper flakes

Directions for Macaroni:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, boil macaroni to desired firmness or softness.
  2. Drain this pot of macaroni.
  3. Pour macaroni into a large heat-resistant serving bowl and add in nutritional yeast, parsley and tomatoes (if you are choosing to include tomatoes).
  4. Toss all of these ingredients together.
  5. Stir in the “cheese sauce” to this macaroni mixture.
  6. Taste test the combined ingredients and add in optional salt or pepper flakes if necessary.
  7. Serve to guests and enjoy the meal!
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