I had been an off and on vegetarian since my twenties. After going through cancer treatment in my early thirties, I found comfort in scientific studies on the physical health of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores and decided to make some dietary changes to bolster my health. A plant-based diet meant parting with a valued member of my family: cheese. So, I immediately started looking for ways to fill that void. Enter stage right: green chile vegan mac and cheese.
This dish feels like sitting at home in your best loungewear with your favorite person who spontaneously volunteers a back rub. It’s all about comfort with a tiny bit of loving surprise. It has a creamy-cashew based sauce with roasted garlic and mild green chiles for a little warmth and acidity. The green chiles bring a new layer of complexity to a home-y favorite.
vegan mac and cheese and wine
Vegan mac and cheese encourages you to do you. Dress it up with sparkling Lambrusco or get cozy with a glass of Rioja.
- Italian Lambrusco: sparkling red wine with hints of cherry, blackberry, and violet and enough bubbles to keep your mouth refreshed in between creamy bites.
- Suggested Regions: Lambrusco di Sorbara or Lambrusco Grasparossa
- Rioja: Spanish wine made from Tempranillo grapes that bring cherry, cedar, and tobacco flavors for a warm, peppery balance.
- Suggested Regions: Rioja, Toro, or Cigales
- Chianti: Italian wine made from Sangiovese grapes. Herbaceous, roasted tomato, leather, and olive. Acidic red which is perfect for the creaminess of the mac and cheese.
If you make this vegan mac and cheese recipe and drink some wine, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #plantandvine on Instagram.
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Creamy, comforting mac and cheese with undertones of green chile warmth. The green chiles are very mild and are further tempered by the creamy sauce. Don’t fear the chiles!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 65 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Mains, Vegan, Pasta
- Method: Roast
- Cuisine: American
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 10 ounces macaroni noodles
- 4 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4-5 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 – 2 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 4-6 Tbsp nutritional yeast, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 ounces canned green chiles, excess liquid drained
To roast garlic, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel back most of white papery covering. Cut off about 1/4 inch of the cloves from the bottom. Drizzle exposed cloves with a bit of oil, a sprinkle of salt, and loosely wrap in foil (see picture).
Place on cooking sheet and roast garlic in tin foil for about 40 minutes. When the garlic is fragrant and the bulb appears soft and golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.
Add pasta to a large pot of boiling, well-salted water. Stir occasionally and boil according to package instructions (usually around 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
To prepare sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 4 tablespoons oil and minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is light golden brown.
Add 4 tablespoons flour to skillet and whisk – cook for 1 minute. We’re making a roux here so feel fancy because you’re being fancy!
Add unsweetened almond milk 1/2 cup at a time to skillet, whisking continually, until 2 cups have been added. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. If sauce is too thick, add more almond milk or if too thin, add more flour. You did it! Roux success.
Transfer sauce to a blender and add roasted garlic (squeeze from base to push out cloves), salt, pepper, vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast. Blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The goal is to get a salty cheesy sauce.
Return sauce back to skillet and cook over low heat until warmed and slightly thickened – about 2-3 minutes.
Add cooked, drained pasta and drained green chiles to skillet. Toss until coated evenly. Top with 1 more additional nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs.
Broil on high on the top rack of your oven for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. I recommend starting with one minute and then doing very short additional increments as needed.
Serve immediately. Top with chopped parsley, red pepper, or more vegan parmesan cheese.
Best when fresh. Can hold in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Recipe is a guide. Adapt ingredients and measurements as desired. Baking times may vary depending on oven settings. Inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Garlic Mac and Cheese.
Keywords: vegan mac and cheese, green chile mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese