This recipe was made using chickpea flour pasta shells provided by Banza.

Fall is prime Mac & Cheese season. When we think “comfort food,” this gooey, cheesy classic is one of the first things to come to mind. Total stick-to-your-ribs fare. I get questions from clients all the time about healthier versions, and this is my go-to vegan mac & cheese I’ve been recommending to clients as we get into the cooler weather.

IMG 1433 1024x929 - Easy Vegan Mac & Cheese

This recipe was created using Banza chickpea pasta shells the company provided me with samples of. I love that it’s a high-protein, high-fiber pasta option that’s also gluten-free. It also holds it shape quite nicely, especially when compared to other gluten-free pastas. If you make this at home, you can use whatever your favorite is, but I’m all about those mini-shells for hugging in that delicious creamy sauce.

Since I grew up eating the blue-box stuff, I associate macaroni and cheese with that dayglo orange color. True, I could add a boatload of turmeric to a cheese sauce to get the effect, but why not take advantage of all the nutrients, texture, and, yes, color in pumpkin? Tofu lends itself quite well to cheese sauce when you puree it (check out Nikki’s recipe here). It doesn’t have to be silken, either—regular firm tofu will do just fine.

I like a little (or a lot of ) green in my mac & cheese. Even as a college student, I used to add thawed frozen broccoli to my Easy-Mac. Old habits die hard. In this case, that’s not a bad thing.

Vegan Mac and Cheese Cooking

Another plus: this whole meal comes together in less than a half-hour. This recipe makes enough for about 4 servings, but feel free to scale up or down as needed. Enjoy!

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

For Vegan Cheese Sauce

  • 1 block tofu
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, paprika, turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste

For Mac & Cheese

  • 5 cups baby spinach, wilted
  • 1 lb frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 8 ounces pasta of choice
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Layer cheese sauce ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, boil water in a large saucepot. Add pasta and cook according to directions on package. Drain retain a little of the starchy pasta water if desired. Return pasta to pot.
  3. Too cheese sauce with pasta to coat well. Fold in vegetables.
  4. Serve hot. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

What’s your go-to comfort food? 

vegan-mac-and-cheese

Disclosure: This recipe is sponsored by Banza. Though I was not compensated for my time, I was provided with free samples. Opinions and recipe are my own. 

An earlier version of this post appeared here.

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