Medium | Servings: 4 | Ready In: 60 minutes | Yield: about 8 cups
Cheesy, creamy, and comforting – this easy, vegan mac and cheese leaves you satisfied on so many levels. A rich, oil-free vegan cheese sauce comes from roasted sweet potatoes and soaked cashews. Gluten-free chickpea noodles make this a dish everyone can love. Your family will be begging you for more! Enjoy on its own, serve with Kale Avocado Salad, top with 5-Minute Vegan Cashew “Parm”, and finish the meal with 5-Minute Chocolate Banana “I-Scream!”.
For the Vegan Sweet Potato “Geez!” Sauce:
- 1 medium sweet potato, roasted (about 1 ½ cups or about 330g roasted potato)
- ½ cup roasted cashews, soaked overnight
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups water (use the water from boiling the pasta)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Makes about 4 ½ cups sauce
For the Gluten-Free Chickpea Pasta and Peas:
- 4 servings chickpea pasta shells
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
How it’s Done:
To make the Vegan Sweet Potato “Geez!” Sauce: Place the sweet potato on a baking pan and roast at 375F until it is knife-glide tender. It will take about 60-75 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the sweet potato cools, boil the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook just shy of what the packaging says. You want the pasta to be “al dente” (with a little bite), so cook about 2 minutes shy of done. When the pasta is ready, portion out 2 cups of the cooking water. You’ll use this for the sauce. Drain the pasta well. Return back to the pot. Finish the sweet potato sauce.
When the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Measure 1 ½ cups of the sweet potato flesh into a blender. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and add them to the blender. Add the remaining ingredients, along with the 2 cups of reserved pasta water. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Taste to adjust seasoning.
To finish the Vegan Mac and Sweet Potato “Geez!”: Pour the sweet potato “geez!” sauce into the pot with the pasta shells. Add the peas and stir well to combine.
Chef’ Katie’s Tips
Quicker Microwave Version: For a quicker version of this recipe, cook the sweet potato in the microwave. Pierce it a few times with a sharp knife and place in the microwave on “potato” setting. If you don’t have this setting, cook for 90 seconds, flip over, cook another 90 seconds, flip, and repeat until the potato is knife-glide tender. A medium potato usually takes about 5-6 minutes in the microwave.
No time to Soake Cashews? If you don’t have time to soak the cashews, do a quick-soak in warm water, while the sweet potatoes roast. With a high-power blender, you may not need to pre-soak the nuts at all. Just let the blender run for a longer time (2-3 minutes) to get the smooth, creamy consistency.
Nut-Free: Swap out the cashews for firm tofu, cooked white beans, cooked chickpeas, or soaked sunflower seeds.
Extra Sauce: Make a double-batch of this sauce and freeze extras. Use it for future versions of this recipe or use it as a healthy, dairy-free replacement for cheese sauce in other dishes. It goes great over roasted Brussels Sprouts, baked scallop potatoes, lentil chili, or on vegan nachos.
Other Pastas: Chickpea pasta is full of healthy protein and fiber, while also being gluten-free. If you can’t find it or prefer to use something else, use whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, or even lentil pasta. Make sure to a get a pasta shape that has nooks and crannies. Shapes like macaroni, shells, and penne rigate offer lots of surface area to old creamy sauces like this one.
Other veggies: Besides peas, add any other frozen vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, and frozen green beans would all be delicious additions to this recipe.
Oil-Free Mission: I’m on a mission to get rid of empty calories, and oil is the most calorie-dense food. For this recipe, roasted cashews and macadamia nuts add rich, nutty flavor, while also bringing healthy fiber and key nutrients. You can substitute with other roasted nuts and seeds (Brazil nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds are my favorites).
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 11 g||17 %|
|Saturated Fat 1 g||6 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 4 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 416 mg||17 %|
|Potassium 282 mg||8 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 51 g||17 %|
|Dietary Fiber 12 g||48 %|
|Sugars 9 g|
|Protein 22 g||45 %|
|Vitamin A||245 %|
|Vitamin C||12 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Shopping and Gear List
- Banza Chickpea Pasta – High Protein Gluten Free Healthy Pasta – Cavatappi (Pack of 6)
- Frontier Culinary Spices Garlic Granules, 2.7-Ounce Bottle
- Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning 4.5 Ounce
- Sincerely Nuts – Whole Cashews Roasted and Unsalted