Truthfully having a child gives me an easy excuse to make all of my childhood favorites. One of my favorite dishes as a kid was (and still is) baked mac and cheese. All of those creamy, cheesy noodles and crispy buttery topping…is there anything better, really?
Well, I’m here to tell you YES, yes there is! Say hello to my healthier version of the classic dish. Made with clean, vegan, and gluten-free ingredients such as gluten-free pasta, fiber packed cauliflower, protein rich nutritional yeast, a little antioxidants filled veggie broth, and some basic spices. It’s THAT simple and since it’s loaded with veggies, whole grains, and protein it’s the perfect, well rounded meal! Oh and don’t forget the most important part- the crispy cracker topping (also gluten-free of course).
This dish creates special memories for me and I love that I can still enjoy it in a more nutritious way along with my family. Emerson LOVES it and I truthfully, as a parent, I couldn’t be happier about it! It’s an easy dish to whip up for a weeknight meal or lunches throughout the week (makes a great meal prep!).
What was your favorite food as a kid?
Baked Mac and Cheese
Author: The Hungry Happy Mama
Yields: 6 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook + Bake time: 30 minutes
- 1 lb gluten-free pasta
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 c sweet onion, diced
- 1 large head cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 c unsweetened unflavored almond milk
- 1 c gluten-free ‘ritz-style’ crackers, crushed
- Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly spray a casserole dish.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta to al dente (be careful not to overcook as it will continue to cook once baked and will result in mushy pasta). Once done, remove from heat, drain, rinse, and set aside.
- In a separate pot, add the butter and onion and sauté until just translucent.
- Add the cauliflower, broth, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is fork tender, about 10 minutes.
- Once the cauliflower is ready, allow to cool slightly then pour the contents into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Add the almond milk to thin out as needed.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently toss to coat.
- Add the pasta to the prepared casserole dish and generously sprinkle with the crushed crackers.
- Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes until top is golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Storing: Mac and Chesse will keep for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.