I’m always trying to find creative dairy free recipes so our oldest daughter can enjoy some of our favorite dishes (she is very intolerant to dairy and I’m hoping she out grows it). Recently I made an awesome one that I will definitely make again (I can’t say that for many) and had to share. I first saw it when my friend Ashley posted it on Facebook from Bold Vegan’s blog. The title was “extra Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese (not some hippy dippy “cheesy”Mac and cheese).” This catchy title caught my attention as a I love cheese and am not a vegan. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try using nutritional yeast as people say its a great cheese alternative.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast sold in flakes or powder form for cooking. It’s a great source of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium , zinc and is a complete protein. If you are a vegan or vegetarian I recommend looking for one that is fortified with vitamin B12. Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contain about 45 calorie and 8 grams of protein. The recipe below uses 1/2 cup which would be ~24 grams of protein from the yeast.
It produces a cheesy, nutty flavor that was great in our recipe. You can use a few tablespoons to add creaminess to sauces, soups or mashed potatoes (I plan to start doing this) or you can add in more for a cheesy texture. I’ve also heard you can sprinkle it on popcorn for added flavor. I found mine at whole foods in the bulk section and would imagine most co-ops also sell it. For a little over 1/2 a cup it cost me $2.09 ($18.99/lb).
Without further explanation I will let you get to the recipe. Know that my husband, brother, mom and I all liked it. It was creamy with a nice slight nutty flavor and an added bonus that there were vegetables blended in! We served ours with sesame green beans. I’ll include how I make those below as they are a family staple.
Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese using Nutritional Yeast
- 1russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup carrot, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup butter (for vegan version use Earth Balance spread)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (40g)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk (full fat is recommended but I used Trader Joe’s Light Coconut milk)
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 box (8 oz) of macaroni noodles or elbows (I probably used about 12 ounces of noodles from a 16 0z box–I didnt measure just poured)
- Parsley for garnish
- Place potato, carrot and onion in a pan, cover with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- While the potato mixture is cooking start your water for the noodles and cook noodles according to the package.
- After 20 minutes, turn off heat in potato pan and add butter (or Earth Balance spread f making vegan), nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine until melted (DO NOT discard the water, keep it in the pan)
- Pour mixture into a blender and blend for ~1 minute until creamy and smooth (NOTE: I used an immersion blender and did the blending in the pan it cooked in which was super easy). You may need to scrape the sides down from the blender a couple of times for everything to get incorporated.
- Add coconut milk to the blender and continue to blend until mixture is creamy throughout.
- Pour cheese sauce over cooked noodles.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
Sesame Seed Green Beans
If you are crunched for time like me you can buy a bag of green beans to steam in the microwave or if you have more time or fresh green beans sautee them in a pan with a small amount of olive oil. I like my green beans with a lot of crunch so I usually do the least amount of time recommended on the steam bag. Once they are cooked drizzle with sesame seed oil, salt, pepper and sesame seeds and serve.