Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! This version uses a vegetable-based cheese sauce and let’s you choose use any type of pasta you like. You can also add other vegetables, such as red pepper, tomatoes, broccoli, etc., to the macaroni and cheese before topping with breadcrumbs and baking in the oven. Just make sure the vegetables are pre-cooked if you do that because the casserole isn’t in the oven long enough to cook them.
The cheese sauce can be made ahead and stored, refrigerated until ready to serve. The macaroni can also be cooked ahead and stored in the refrigerator until needed. I adore recipes that have one or more component that I can make ahead!
Yield: 3-4 servings
- 2-3 cups dry elbow macaroni (use your favourite gluten free, or regular pasta)
- 1 fresh tomato, seeded and diced (for garnish, optional)
- 1 large potato (equal to 2 cups peeled & coarsely chopped)
- 1 large carrot (equal to 1 cup coarsely chopped)
- 3 sundried tomatoes (not oil packed), soaked
- 1 green onion, white part only
- ¼ red pepper (about 1/3 cup coarsely chopped)
- 3 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. mustard powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, (I make my own but you can use any purchased non-dairy milk)
- 1 cup fresh GF breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. salt
Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon juice and salt well in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the potatoes and carrots in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Boil until fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes. Strain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Add the cooked potatoes and carrots to a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Prep the remaining vegetables and add them to the blender with seasonings and spices.
Puree vegetables with half of the reserved cooking water. Add the remaining water as necessary to reach a silky smooth texture. (At this point, the sauce can be refrigerated until ready to assemble the dish).
Cook your favourite macaroni in a medium saucepan until al dente. Meanwhile, pour the pureed contents of the blender into a medium-small saucepan and add the almond milk. Stir over a very low heat until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy.
When your macaroni is ready, strain the water and pour the noodles into a 8″ X 8″ oven-proof dish. Add the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. Turn the heat to broil and lightly brown the breadcrumbs. Watch closely – this takes less than a minute.
*The cheese sauce recipe, minus the almond milk, doubles as a nacho cheese sauce for dipping too!