I don’t know about where you live, but the weather is moody AF here in Washington, D.C. What’s up, mama nature?! While I tend to prefer meals that are heavily plant-based, sometime life calls for some good old Southern comfort food.
My mom has a collection of the best southern dishes, and while they taste ah-maaaazing, they certainly aren’t healthy. The good news is just about any recipe can be modified to fit your dietary needs.
I adjusted my mom’s mac & cheese recipe two ways: 1) gluten free noodles using organic milk and cheese, 2) vegan using creamy cashew sauce
Both of them tasted so delicious, I almost forgot we’re in the clutches of winter. Almost. But not quite.
MAC & SMOKED GOUDA CHEESE
PREP TIME: 10-15 minutes
COOK TIME: 35-40
4 cups dried GF macaroni
1 whole egg
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups ORGANIC whole milk
2 heaping teaspoons dry mustard (more if desired)
1 pound Gouda cheese, grated (not pre-grated cheese)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Salt water and bring to a boil. Add GF noodles and cook per instructions. If you have trouble with soggy noodles, try boiling the water and taking off heat, soaking the noodles till they’re soft. Drain and set aside.
- Make the white sauce: melt butter over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
- Grate the cheese into the white sauce and stir till it melts in.
- Mix in noodles and stir till their thoroughly coated, then add to a casserole dish.
- Put in oven and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until top gets golden brown.
TIPS: Try different cheeses, or mix several cheeses. For non-vegetarians, bacon pairs gloriously with smoked gouda (what the heck, bacon pairs beautifully with LIFE…how I miss you bacon) and pepper-jack cheese. Want your mac to have an extra kick? Add jalapeno peppers. More texture? Top with breadcrumbs for a bit of a crunch. Play around with the ingredients.
VEGAN MAC & CHEESE:
I know, I know. It seems like an contradiction of terms to include vegan and cheese in the same sentence. I always like to be quite clear that under no conditions do certain vegan substitutes “taste just like the real thing.” What a good vegan recipe will do for you though, is give you a really satisfying substitute so you won’t even miss the alternative. This one fits the bill for me.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 10-15 minutes
- 10 ounces dried GF macaroni (or about 2⅔ cups)
- 1 cup peeled/diced yellow potatoes (or russets)
- ¼ cup peeled/diced carrots
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- ¾ cup water (preferably use liquid from pot of boiled veggies)
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 pinch paprika
- Cook macaroni according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
- Bring several cups of water to boil in a small pot. Place chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion in the boiling water, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft enough to blend. Cooking time will vary slightly, based on how small you have chopped your veggies.
- When veggies are soft, use a slotted spoon to remove them from cooking water, and place them in your blender. Add ¾ cup of that cooking water to your blender, along with your remaining ingredients.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour sauce over your cooked macaroni noodles in a casserole dish mixture, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until crumbs are turning golden brown.
TIP: I personally found using GF noodles AND zero cheese was just a little too much…ah, faux mac & cheese tasting for my liking. I used GF in my recipe, and found I liked it better.