Creamy VEGAN Mac n Cheese made with a low fat cheeseless sauce using Idaho® potatoes, topped with crispy curried breadcrumbs.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions, as always, are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Love is in my tummy.
The potato cheese sauce from the VEGAN Khachapuri gave me a reason to explore new places to use the potato-cheese sauce. And when I think of cheese sauce, I think of Mac n Cheese – what better ingredient to drown in cheese than the humble macaroni? Right? Right.
Now, I’m not going to use verbal hyperbole and tell you how exactly like the real deal this mac n cheese is. No. Cheese is cheese; it is ever so rare for two ingredients in nature to taste exactly the same. BUT, I can tell you, with complete honesty, that this cheeseless potato-cheese sauce is wicked good. It is creamy, it is flavorful, it is nutritious, and the best, best part: after you indulge in a bowlful of this deliciousness, you aren’t left with those horrible feelings of greasiness, bloating or guilt.
This here is a clean, creamy, delicious bowl of VEGAN Mac n Cheese. No frills. Nothing artificial. And in my opinion, better than the real deal.
The Spudtastic Cheese Sauce
What can one single potato and a tiny carrot do? Turns out, tons! This is one of those recipes that you only need a little bit of each ingredient, and they go a long way. Seriously, this recipe makes enough sauce for your macaroni to take a very comfortable swim in.
What makes this sauce amazeballs, besides that comforting soft flavor? The nutrition.
Potato (Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B6), Carrot (Vitamin A, Biotin), Nutritional Yeast (Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, B3, protein), Cashews (Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Folate).
A whole lot of goodness, disguised in a plain looking, indulgent package.
Instead of regular macaroni, substitute with protein-rich or whole wheat pasta for more nutritional points.
The Curried Breadcrumb topping
The next best part about this VEGAN Mac n Cheese, is this curried breadcrumb topping. It is my favorite thing to top all non-marinara pastas, I swear! It is sinfully crisp, thereby offering a change in texture. And then there’s the matter of flavor. Frying the breadcrumbs in an oil infused with thyme, jalapeno and curry powder, takes this topping to another level. I swap up the flavors based on the dish it’s topping. Sometimes, I skip the jalapenos. Swap it with onions instead. The thyme I swap with another herb, like sage or oregano depending on what the pasta is being flavored with. If curry powder is not your thing, feel free to swap it with something you like instead.
It is absolutely customizable and delicious nevertheless!
This VEGAN Mac n Cheese is best enjoyed straight out of the pan – warm and gooey with steam rising off the bowl – and with a generous topping of the curried breadcrumbs.
Life can be good, and yet, so simple. Enjoy!
For the sauce
- 1 medium Idaho® Russet potato (5oz), peeled and chopped
- 1 small carrot (1.5oz), peeled and chopped
- 80g raw cashews
- water for boiling
- 1/2 c non-dairy milk (I used Oat milk)
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 c onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- a pinch of ground turmeric
For the curried breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp jalapeno, chopped finely
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/2 c Panko-style breadcrumbs
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- a pinch of salt
For the pasta
- 9 oz macaroni pasta
- Water for boiling
- 2 tsp salt
- a pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
Make the sauce
- Bring a small saucepan full of water to a rolling boil. Add the chopped potatoes and carrots and cook until soft.
- Turn off heat, add the raw cashews and let sit for 5 minutes, or until the cashews soften.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, and then drain the rest.
- Add cooked vegetables and cashews to a blender, along with 1/2 cup reserved water, 1/2 c non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the chopped onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt and ground turmeric until it's soft. Reserve 1/4 c of this mixture, and transfer the rest into the blender.
- Blend everything until smooth, scraping down the sides, if necessary. Set aside.
Cook the pasta
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Add the dried macaroni and salt, cook for about 8 minutes or until the pasta is soft. While the pasta is cooking, make the breadcrumb topping.
- Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water, and drain the rest.
Make the curried breadcrumb topping
- In the same skillet that you sauteed the onions, heat 1 tsp oil. Add the chopped jalapenos and the two sprigs of thyme and saute until the jalapeno begins to brown.
- Reduce heat to low and add the breadcrumbs, curry powder and salt, then saute until the breadcrumbs are crisp and brown. Stir constantly and don't let it burn.
- Remove from heat and transfer the curried breadcrumbs to a small serving bowl. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the drained pasta, reserved sauteed onions and pour over the sauce. Stir to combine, adding as much sauce as you prefer. If the sauce is too thick, use as much pasta cooking water as you need to dilute it. Bring it to a slow simmer over medium heat.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, adding nutmeg and/or ground black pepper to taste.
- Transfer to serving bowls, top generously with the curried breadcrumbs and enjoy immediately.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for upto 2 days. While re-heating, you may need to add a little water to make the sauce smooth again.
- You can make the sauce ahead of time, and just toss in freshly cooked pasta before serving. It keeps well refrigerated for upto 3 days.
- The curried breadcrumbs can be made ahead of time, and stored in a clean dry container for upto a week.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 580Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 2630mgCarbohydrates: 84gFiber: 10gSugar: 11gProtein: 23g
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.