Vegan Spinach Mac & Cheese Recipe
A creamy vegan mac & cheese made with cashews, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, balsamic, and cayenne. A healthy & delicious weeknight dinner.
Jack here, writing for the blog today while Jeanine writes for the book…
I have something to admit that I’m having a hard time with. I’m starting to prefer vegan “mac and cheese” to actual mac and cheese. Now, this is a hard one for me. You see, I love cheese. Almost every time we go to Whole Foods, I raid the “under $3 cheese” bin to find crazy new cheeses that I can barely pronounce. And a great grilled cheese is work of art.
But these vegan “mac and cheese” recipes Jeanine comes up with pretty much hit everything I need out of mac and cheese. This one is as creamy as mac and cheese could ever get, the paprika and turmeric give it an incredible depth of flavor, and the spinach gives it the right amount of texture. I honestly can’t get enough…
Vegan Spinach Mac & Cheese
Author: Jeanine Donofrio
Recipe type: main dish
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight, and drained
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup water, more as needed
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, optional
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces macaroni or small shell pasta*
- 4 cups packed spinach
- In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika and balsamic vinegar and cook another 30 seconds.
- In a high speed blender, puree the sautéed shallot mixture with the cashews, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the water, nutritional yeast, cayenne and turmeric (if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 ¾ cups of sauce.
- Bring a large pot of salted 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. Add the spinach, stir until wilted, season to taste, and serve.
*Gluten-free option: use brown rice pasta