Baked Macaroni & Cheddar

Baked Mac and Cheddar - A Plant-Based Revolution

This is everyone’s favorite growing up. This Baked Macaroni & Cheddar is totally dairy-free and you will swear you are indulging in cheddar cheese sauce!

One of my favorite foods was my grandmother’s incredible macaroni and cheese! She used white cheese (Muenster and Wisconsin) for hers and we could never get enough of it.

Cheese is one thing so many people having a hard time giving up – I can relate trust me, but this dish will not disappoint! And this Baked Macaroni & Cheddar is an easy recipe to make using ingredients you probably already have. I used brown rice macaroni shells, raw unsalted cashews, unsweetened coconut milk, roasted red peppers along with nutritional yeast, key lime juice (this is key), and seasonings.

Baked Macaroni & Cheddar - A Plant-Based Revolution
Baked Mac & Cheddar

This time I really wanted to create something a little different apart from my other Macaroni and Cheese recipe. I used some of the same ingredients and made a few changes. A cheddar flavor was not even in my thoughts, but what turned out blew me away. Of course, you know I use Jeff as my guinea pig and the first thing he said was “wow is this cheddar cheese?” Naturally, I hadn’t even tasted it yet so naturally, I grabbed a spoon, and sure enough, it’s close to a cheddar taste.

The previous recipe for macaroni and cheese called for onions, carrots, and potatoes. I left them out and added key lime juice, roasted peppers, cashews and to make it thicker, I used cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot). I had some leftover white miso so I added some in as well. The key lime juice really gave it a distinct flavor that lemon juice just doesn’t do.

Red Peppers cut in half - a plant-based revolution
Red peppers cut in half to roast

I actually made two batches, one with a parmesan cheese topping and one without. They were both delicious so you can pick how you want it.

Start roasting the red peppers in the oven for 35-40 minutes. You can either roast them whole, cut them in half, or in large slices. I’ve done all three so anyway is good. If you roast them whole, remove the stem and seeds after roasting.

Place the peppers in the center of your oven and check on them about 20 minutes in to see if they are getting soft and somewhat charred. You don’t need to use oil. Just lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As it is getting closer to being done, the peppers may look like they puffed up or a little caved and that is good. When they are done remove them and reduce the oven temp down to 350°F. Some people peel the skin off but I actually leave them on. Check out the directions on how to roast peppers without oil.

Roasted red peppers - A Plant-Based Revolution
Roasted Red Peppers

While the peppers are baking, soak the cashews in boiling hot water for 25-30 min. And while the cashews are soaking, cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. It all timed pretty well – prepping is key. At this point, remove the pasta, rinse and drain, placing it in a 2 qt. baking dish (or larger). Chop the peppers into smaller pieces. Drain the water from the cashews, and place all the ingredients (up to the parmesan cheese) into a blender, and process until very smooth.

Next pour the cheese sauce into a saucepan on medium heat. You will need to continually stir or whisk as this sauce thickens up as it cooks. When it is nice and thick, remove pour over the pasta and stir to blend in. At this point you can add a little peas or small broccoli florets for added veggies – stir in. If you want the parmesan cheese topping, Sprinkle it on top prior to baking. The amount varies to your liking. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until it is bubbling and the edges start to brown.

Baked Mac & Cheddar - A Plant-Based Revolution
Baked Mac & Cheddar – A Plant-Based Revolution

I guarantee you will go back for seconds! You’ll want to make this today. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below for Baked Macaroni & Cheddar. If you have a photo – post it on my Facebook or Instagram page. Tag me using the hastag #aplantbasedrevolution in the caption. This way I won’t miss it.

Baked Mac and Cheddar - A Plant-Based Revolution

Baked Macaroni & Cheddar

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Who loves Macaroni & Cheese? I do for sure. This delicious recipe is so good, you'll think you are having cheddar cheese on your pasta! Super easy to make and you will come back for seconds.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. box of brown rice or whole-grain elbow macaroni (or other favorite macaroni)
  • 1/3 Cup raw cashews – soaked in hot water for 25-30 min
  • 1 1/2 Cup unsweetened Light coconut milk (or regular unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 Cup or more of roasted red bell peppers (depending on size 2-3)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 Tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. onion powder
  • 2 1/2 Tsp. white miso
  • 3/4 Tbsp. Key lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 – 1/4 Tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 Tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 Cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 5 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. onion powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Roast peppers by placing whole, halved or sliced peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until soft and its starting to look somewhat charred. Remove and reduce the temp to 350°F. If roasting whole peppers, cut the stems off at this point and remove the seeds - set aside.
  2. While the peppers are roasting, start soaking the cashews in boiling hot water for 20 -25 minutes. When done, drain and set aside.
  3. Cook your pasta noodles according to directions. Drain, rinse and place in a 2-4 qt. baking dish.
  4. Next place all the ingredients for the cheddar cheese sauce in a blender (from cashews down to onion powder). Blend until the sauce is very creamy with no chunks from the peppers. Remove and transfer the sauce to a saucepan. On medium heat, continually stir or whisk until the sauce thickens. Do not stop whisking or it can burn the bottom.
  5. Pour the sauce over the macaroni in the baking dish and blend well. If you want to add any other vegetable such as small broccoli florets or peas, blend in at this point.
  6. Sprinkle some of the parmesan cheese all over the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until its bubbly, and the edges start to burn around the dish.
  7. Serve with your favorite salad and oil free dressing.

For the Parmesan Cheese:

  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor or high-speed blender and process until it is a fine powder.
  2. Parmesan cheese can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

Red peppers are the best to use in this recipe. Using green can change the color and the yellow/orange is not as sweet as the red. This keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear from you!

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Michele Wallace

Entrepreneur and author of A Plant-Based Revolution.com. Michele has also earned her Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from eCornell University. The book is an easy and complete guide for those wanting to get healthy and offers step-by-step instructions, including over 85 delicious and healthy recipes.
A Plant-Based Revolution is dedicated to whole food plant-based nutrition.

You may also like...

2 Comments

  1. This is the best! Thanks for adding it. We ate it all and made more the next day. To my surprise it did have a cheddar flavor that was sooooo good!. I did use your parmesan cheese recipe for the topping but I modified the topping a bit and mixed some broken up whole wheat Panko bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese and it was perfect because it blended with the cheese sauce. This is a 20 for sure! Oh and the sauce? Perfect! I used it on baked potatoes with broccoli mixed it. Does this freeze by any chance?

    1. Hi Bethany,
      So glad you loved it. It is a modified version of what is in my cookbook. It’s my favorite for sure. Using the whole wheat panko bread crumbs is great and I have used it as well. Freezing noodles is hard as they tend to get mushy. BUT… you can freeze the sauce for about a month. You have to be careful thawing it. I have let mine sit out, as well as running it under hot water (with the lid securely on if using a jar). Past that I wouldn’t recommend. Let me know if you try any other recipes!
      Much love, Michele

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe