Vegan Mac and Cheese

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Welcome to my new favourite healthy weeknight meal. Yes, macaroni and cheese really can be made healthy and still taste just as good as it's boxed counterpart. All you need to do is make this simple creamy vegan cheese sauce that's dairy-free, soy-free, and packed with loads of nutritional bonuses. Like nutritional yeast. It's full of vitamins B6 + B12, Thiamin, and Riboflavin. Plus it packs an excellent boost of protein and fiber. Just 2 tablespoons has 8g of protein and 4 grams of fiber.

Finger. Licking. Good.

Now this doesn't taste like real cheese but it's pretty darn tasty if I do say so. The sauce is made up of a handful of ingredients that starts out with sautéed onions and garlic for the ultimate flavour boost. I found that adding sautéed onions and garlic deepened the flavour of the "cheese" sauce in a wonderful way. It was so tasty!

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Next up we toss the onions and garlic into a high-speed blender and add nutritional yeast, soaked cashews, tomato paste, smoked paprika, turmeric and a small handful of other ingredients. I don't think it's necessary but if you prefer you can use unsweetened almond milk in place of water in the sauce.

Oh cashew-vegan cheeze sauce how I love you. This sauce cannot only be added to macaroni but many other things as well. Try adding it to: 

  • Mashed potatoes (russets, yukon, red, etc.)
  • Quinoa and rice dishes 
  • Casseroles
  • Sandwiches
  • Veggies of all kinds including steamed or roasted (broccoli, cauliflower and green beans are excellent!)

There are many options!

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The sauce makes enough for about 4 generous servings of pasta (I used brown rice elbow macaroni).

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Now I'm not going to tell you this is a recipe for old-fashioned mac n'cheese, because it's definitely not that. What I can tell you is that it's absolutely delicious and just as comforting. Besides you could totally serve this to a non-vegan and they'd love it! It's so satisfying you may even convert them over.

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Vegan Mac and Cheese |

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight, and drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 12 ounces macaroni or small shell pasta (gluten-free if needed)
  • Fresh thyme or red pepper flakes (to garnish)

Optional add-ins

  • roasted broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, or peas


In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes on low.

In a high speed blender, puree the sautéed onions and garlic with the cashews, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, paprika, water, nutritional yeast, turmeric, a pinch of cayenne, and a pinch of salt. Makes about 2 1/4 cups of sauce.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the sauce, adding the pasta water as needed to thin the sauce and make it creamy. If you're adding any roasted or sauteed veggies, this would be the time to do it.

Serve hot garnished with fresh thyme or a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

Welcome to my new favourite meal.

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas |

This is a meal suitable for lunch or dinner. Actually, if you make this for dinner you can easily pack up the leftovers for a nutritious on-the-go lunch the next day.

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas |

This simple, zesty Italian salad dressing is about to become your new favourite dressing. I used fresh thyme, basil, and oregano as my herb base. Believe me, once you start making your own homemade salad dressings you will never want to go back to store bought again. You can make this dressing in a blender, but if you want to make things really easy, shake all the ingredients together in a jar until fully combined. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so to develop it's flavour and then you're ready to add it to the salad.

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas |

As the quinoa cooks you can pop the chickpeas into the oven to roast, then work on the dressing and chop up the broccoli and red pepper.

I would definitely call this a 30 minute meal. And after it's done cooking you can serve it up hot or let it chill in the fridge and serve cold.

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas |

By the way, you may have noticed the new photography background surface I've been using. Here it is in the works on instagram. I decided to try a little DIY a few weeks ago and make my own background. Let me just say I can't believe it took me so long to do this. I was starting to feel like my current backgrounds were getting old and I desperately wanted something new to shoot on. It was fairly easy to put together and it only cost me around $15-20. Very affordable. I used this tutorial from Ashley from The Edible Perspective to help me do it. Genius!

Now I go back and forth between super clean and white to a rustic + vintage feel with the new wood boards and old baking pans.

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas |

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

Quinoa Veggie Salad with Roasted Chickpeas |

by Jennifer Trennum

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: main dish lunch salad gluten-free grain-free nut-free protein sugar-free vegan option vegetarian vegan bell peppers mustard goats cheese chickpeas

Ingredients (6 servings)

For the Salad
  • 1 cup raw quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large broccoli heads, chopped into florets (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • feta or goat cheese, optional
For the Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (or 1.5 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
For the Dressing
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced (or passed through a garlic press)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of fresh basil, oregano, and thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Heat a large sauce pot over medium-high heat, and add the quinoa. Toast, stirring until the grains begin to smell fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Slowly pour in the water and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Do not stir or uncover while cooking. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.

Roast the chickpeas: While the quinoa cooks, place garbanzo beans in a tea towel (or paper towel) and rub dry. Toss with oil, salt, and garlic powder on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes at 400˚F, then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet, then roast for another 5-8 minutes, until lightly golden.

Prepare the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients into a blender, and blend until fully combined (or shake ingredients in a mason jar). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Combine quinoa, broccoli, red pepper, in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and top with cheese if desired. Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator.


Refrigerate leftovers for 3-4 days in a sealed container.

Nutritional Information

Based on 6 Serving's without cheese  Calories: 252 Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 1.5g Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 1g Protein: 8g Sodium: 211mg

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Fresh and simple.

Happy Wednesday!

Some of my other leftover-friendly salad meals from the archives: