Vegan Mac and Cheese
I am sooooo stoked on this vegan mac and cheese recipe!! If you’re gluten-free you can enjoy this too! I came up with it on a whim; I was knee deep in a comfort food craving, had a fridge full of fresh organic spinach I just ordered from Milk&Eggs (I know the name of this company is ironic seeing that I don’t drink milk or eat eggs, but this grocery delivery service is RAD! Check them out!) and I was on a mission to make something warm, satisfying and comforting, without indulging in foods that don’t make me feel good. I have to say, I sort of nailed it with this dish, because it is just that: warm, satisfying, comforting, HEALTHY and easy! From start to finish, I’d say it took me 10 minutes to make, and 8 of those minutes is just the pasta boiling- so when I say this is easy, I mean it, IT’S EASY!
Alright, I have a confession: one of my FAVORITE indulgences before going vegan was mac and cheese.. it didn’t need to be fancy either, I would happily feast on Kraft mac and cheese, you know the one with the weird powdered cheese, and the list of 20+ ingredients I couldn’t pronounce…. (yuck!!!) I was even down for the microwavable kind too, I was just down for mac and cheese in general lol. It was one of my weird guilty pleasures, and definitely my previous go to choice of hangover food.
Since going plant-based with my diet and fully committing to a healthy lifestyle, I have been experimenting with reinventing some of my old favorites (I just recently posted a revamped stuffed mushroom recipe which you can check out here!) This vegan mac and cheese dish is PROOF that you can still enjoy the foods you used to enjoy, even when eating plant-based and HEALTHY!
I also love that this particular vegan mac and cheese recipe that I concocted is PACKED with plant-based protein, as being an athletic vegan, protein intake is always on my mind. The spinach, nutritional yeast AND the penne pasta are all plant-based protein sources. The penne I used is made by an awesome company called Ancient Harvest.. this pasta is actually made with lentils! I chose to use the Green Lentil Penne, which has 25g of protein and 7g of fiber per serving! YESSSSS. Side note: I discovered this brand at Whole Foods a while back, I have tried a few of their products and honestly all of them are fantastic! This brand has become a must have for me!
In this vegan mac and cheese dish there is roughly 35.8g of plant-based protein!!!
2 Cups of Spinach = 1.8 g of protein
3 TBSP of Nutritional Yeast = 9g of protein
3.5 Ounces of POW Green Lentil Penne= 25g of protein
Ingredients for Vegan Mac and Cheese:
2 Cups fresh spinach
3 TBSP nutritional yeast
Himalayan pink salt + fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
*optional: 2 TBSP Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Cook pasta according to the directions listed on the box, once they are done, rinse with cold water and set aside!
- On medium heat, warm up 1 TBSP of the earth balance buttery spread
- Once the spread is melted, turn down the heat to low and add in 2 cups (or more!) of fresh spinach, mixing as the spinach begins to wilt
- Season the spinach with garlic powder, then add in your cooked pasta, nutritional yeast and mix it all up!
- In the ingredients list I added Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk as an added option, because I have made this dish both with and without the almond milk- to be honest, both were great and it didn’t really make THAT much of a difference so it’s really up to you! Maybe experiment with both ways and see which one you like more!
- Season with pink salt and black pepper, and you’re good to go! YAY!