I'm starting this post off by saying that this recipe is NOT vegan. This isn't like some of my other vegan versions of mac and cheese - we're going all out on this one - well, mostly, anyway.
Why? Because sometimes you just need an oooey gooey mac and cheese.
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Now don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that we should be avoiding dairy as much as possible. If you're a loyal reader, you know this one by heart: it's mucus forming and an inflammatory food that's better to be consumed minimally, if at all. Then there's the issue of organic cheese vs. non-organic. We're definitely using organic cheeses in this recipe to ensure we're avoiding growth hormones and antibiotics. We may be going "all out" but we're doing it right and we're using real, whole foods!
With all of that said, every now and again, it's good to feed your soul and eat what you want. For me, it's an ongoing battle to tame the cheese monster inside. So a mac and cheese is my obvious Achilles heel. My diet is squeaky clean for the most part so when I do indulge, I make the most of it and savour the moment. I refuse to have guilt or shame over my food choices. Now, just so we understand each other, this is not an all access pass to eat crap anytime you feel like it. Remember that an indulgence is rare, it's not the norm! I strongly urge you to please read this post here for more on this topic.
Although, I'm considering this an indulgence for me because of the organic cheese I'm still including healthier options in this dish such as gluten-free noodles and almond milk! I hope you enjoy!! We sure did 😋
Oooey Gooey Mac & Cheese
1 lb brown rice noodles, elbow macaroni or shells
3 Tbsp organic butter, ghee or olive oil
3 Tbsp chickpea flour
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup grated organic old cheddar
6 ounces grated organic parmesan cheese
1/2 cup rice breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish and set aside.
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Cook al dente since the pasta is being baked.
- In a medium saucepan melt the butter, ghee or warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and stir until the mixture thickens and adheres to the pan. Add a 1/4 cup of milk (reserving the rest for later), mustard, Dijon, paprika, salt and pepper. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens.
- Add another 1/4 cup of milk and start adding in your cheeses little by little, stirring/whisking constantly. The mixture will thicken as you continue to add the cheese. It will become too thick at points, use your judgement and slowly add a bit more milk until all of the cheese has been whisked in. Your mixture should be oooey and gooey at this point!
- Allow cheese mixture to simmer until the pasta is done cooking. Stirring often.
- In the meantime toast the breadcrumbs: In a small frying pan warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add breadcrumbs, oregano, basil and salt and pepper. Stir constantly and keep an eye on them. You want them to toast up and NOT burn. Remove from heat when they're golden-brown.
- When pasta is done, strain and wash under cold water (this will prevent the rice pasta from sticking together).
- Pour pasta into baking dish and pour cheese mixture over top. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasoning accordingly. Top evenly with toasted breadcrumbs.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
This dish was a real treat for me! I savoured every last bite of it.