The Everyday Chef: Dairy-Free Mac & ‘Cheese’
Andrew Dole, RDN, CEC
Everyday Chef, Fruits & Veggies—More Matters
As we get older it is not uncommon to develop new food allergies or intolerances; dairy is one of the more likely foods that we can become sensitive to. As a chef, finding out dairy was something I could no longer do was tough. When I had a recent craving for mac & cheese it took some tinkering and research to find a good alternative. Thankfully, the influence of world cuisines has given us some truly creative culinary alternatives, such as this vegetable- and nut-based recipe that uses nutritional yeast to create an amazingly creamy mac & cheese sauce.
I’m not kidding. It’s a good recipe. Quick story – The following morning, after I made the final version of this recipe, my 17-year-old son comes down to the kitchen. Thinking I would have to beg him to try the no-dairy mac, I asked if he wanted to try my new “mac & cheese” recipe. Clearly, I wasn’t going to tell him exactly what it was. He says to me, “Oh, that was really good….my friend and I ate most of it last night when we got home.” After I told him what it really was he just shrugged and said “ok, it was still really good.”
If two teenagers barely noticed any difference, it’s a huge win.
There isn’t that much to do when making this recipe. I always break out the steps and add a few more numbers to explain in better detail. But after you make this once it’s about a 4-step recipe!
No Cheese Mac
- 1 lb – Elbow Macaroni, dry
- 1 cup – Carrot, Raw, peeled, medium, diced
- 1 cup – Potato, Russet, peeled, raw, med diced
- 1/2 cup – Yellow Onion, medium, diced
- 1 tbsp – Turmeric Powder
- 2 cups – Water
- 1/2 cup – Almond, Blanched, raw
- 1 cup – Nutritional Yeast
- 1/2 tsp – Coarse Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tbsp – Olive Oil
- In a large pot – cook noodles until firm, but tender. Drain. Run under cold water to cool. Toss lightly with 1 tsp oil to prevent sticking. Keep cold.
- In a small sauce pot. Place almonds in pot with enough water to cover. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat and gently simmer while potatoes cook.
- In a medium sauce pot. Add remaining oil and bring to medium heat. Add vegetables (potato, carrot, onion) and cook until onions are translucent.
- Add turmeric and salt to vegetables. Stir often to coat vegetables with spice. Cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of water to vegetable mix. Bring to simmer. Cover. Simmer until vegetables smash easily with fork.
- When vegetable mixture is tender, transfer nuts and any liquid left into a blender. Blend nuts first to a smooth paste. Add some of the liquid from the potato mixture if more is needed to keep nuts blending. NOTE: If you don’t blend the nuts first by themselves the mixture can be grainy.
- Add vegetable mixture with remaining liquid and nutritional yeast to blender. Blend until smooth. Add additional water if necessary to smooth and loosen sauce.
You now have a large batch of cooked noodles in the refrigerator and a large batch of sauce ready to go. Decide what you want to eat now and combine noodles with some sauce in a pot over low heat to warm.
I recommend storing the sauce and noodles separately for better reheating quality. Also, the sauce can be frozen for use much later.
Calories: 241 kcal, Protein: 10 g, Carbs: 38 g, Total Fat: 4.5 g
Sat Fat: 0.35 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 104.50 mg, Fiber: 2.7 g
Photo Credit: Andrew Dole