This uber creamy 20-minute vegan mac delivers the tang of sharp cheddar from a surprising source—sun-dried tomatoes! A few basil leaves add complexity to the flavors without making it taste “tomato basil-y.” I like to top it with hemp seeds for a little extra texture and nutrition, but that’s totally optional. Use chickpea or lentil pasta to make this mac ‘n cheez super healthy! Add a side of steamed green beans or broccoli for a complete meal.
Servings: 3-4 Time: Prep: 5 minutes, Cook: 15 minutes
Recipe by: Carrots and Flowers
- 2 cups small pasta shells
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, loosely packed
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 6-7 small basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup shelled hemp seeds (optional for added texture and nutrition)
- Salt and cracked pepper
1. Fill a small saucepan with 3 cups of water and a large saucepan with 8 cups of water. Put them both on high heat. Add the cashews to the small saucepan. (It's ok if it's not boiling yet.) Boil the cashews for 10 minutes until softened.
2. When the large pot of water is boiling, add the pasta shells and a pinch of salt to the pot. Boil according to package instructions but a bit longer than al dente. Drain.
3. When the cashews have two minutes left to boil, add the sun-dried tomatoes to the saucepan. Drain after two minutes. Reserve the water.
4. Add the cashews and sun-dried tomatoes to a high-powered blender, with 2 cups of the reserved water. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and blend on high until smooth, about 2 minutes.
5. Place drained pasta back on medium-high heat. Pour the cheese from the blender to the pan. Stir for 1-2 minutes until sauce begins to thicken into a gooey cheese, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.
6. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and optional 1 tbsp hemp seeds on each portion.
Fresh tip! If using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, skip the boiling, put them straight into the blender, and use pre-soaked cashews to save even more time.
If you double this recipe, the cheese will need an extra minute or two to thicken while stirring, before adding the pasta.
Reprinted with permission from 30 Minute Vegan Dinners by Megan Sadd, Page Street Publishing.