It’s that time again.
Time for a new vegan mac ‘n’ cheese recipe (because, delicious), and a new recipe VIDEO!
Origins of Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Mac ‘n’ cheese is the ultimate comfort food! But where did it come from?
It’s believed that the earliest written recipe for a dish resembling mac ‘n’ cheese comes from a 13th century cookbook from southern Italy. The dish (named de lasanis) was made with squares of fermented lasagne dough layered with spices and cheese.
But maybe that’s not what you picture when you hear mac ‘n’ cheese? The dish has been modified in many ways over time!
It’s thought that mac ‘n’ cheese was first introduced in the US when Thomas Jefferson brought back a pasta machine from his travels in Italy. Or perhaps that it originated from a popular New England church dish called macaroni pudding. Then in 1937, Kraft released their boxed mac ‘n’ cheese and it quickly gained popularity because of its affordability.
Our garlicky, plant-based version has all the comfort but without the dairy!
Vegan Garlic Mac ‘n‘ Cheese
Having already created an eggplant– and cashew-based mac ‘n’ cheese recipe, I wanted to do something a bit more traditional using a flour and (almond) milk roux. Although it doesn’t have as much plant power going on, it is insanely creamy and way faster than my other methods once the garlic is roasted, leaving just a 30-minute prep/cook time. This recipe also only requires 10 ingredients.
To inject extra flavor I infused the sauce with two kinds of garlic: an entire head of roasted garlic and fresh minced garlic. This provides both a spicy, garlic bite, and a sweet, creamy roasted garlic flavor. I’m in love.
If you try this easy Garlic Mac ‘n’ Cheese, let us know what you think! Leave a comment and rate it – it’s so helpful for us and other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram – we love seeing what you come up with. Cheers!
Garlic Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- 1 head roasted garlic (see instructions for method)
- 10 ounces macaroni noodles* (use gluten-free pasta for GF // 10 ounces equals ~2 1/4 cups dry)
- 4 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4-5 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (or sub arrowroot powder for GF)
- 2 – 2 1/4 cups Blue Diamond Almondmilk Original Unsweetened
- ~1/2 tsp each 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 (optional // gluten-free for GF)
- To roast garlic, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and cut off the very top of a head of garlic. Drizzle the top with a bit of oil, a sprinkle of salt and loosely wrap in foil.
- Place directly on oven rack and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, depending on size of garlic. You’ll know it’s done when the garlic is very fragrant and the bulb appears soft and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- To prepare pasta, add macaroni to a large pot of boiling, well-salted water. Stir to prevent noodles from sticking, and boil according to package instructions (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and cover with a towel to keep moist – set aside.
- To prepare sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add oil and minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Immediately add lesser amount of flour (or use arrowroot powder // 4 Tbsp as original recipe is written) and whisk – cook for 1 minute. (Later on, if the sauce is not thick enough, add an extra 1 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) later on during the blending process. I found 4 Tbsp to be the perfect amount).
- Add almond milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking to prevent clumps, until 2 cups have been added (amount as original recipe is written // use lesser end of range if altering batch size). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. (Add the additional 1/4 cup (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) almond milk later on if the sauce appears too thick.)
- Transfer sauce to a blender and add roasted garlic (squeeze from base to push out cloves), salt and pepper, vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, and blend on high until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed – you want it pretty well salted + cheesy, so don’t be shy.
- Return sauce back to skillet and cook over low heat until warmed and slightly thickened – about 2-3 minutes.
- Add cooked, drained pasta and toss to coat. Then top with 1 more Tbsp nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
- Broil on high on the top rack of your oven for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown (see photo). Watch closely as it can burn quickly.
- Serve immediately. I love topping mine with an extra pinch of vegan parmesan cheese and a little red pepper flake.
- Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop – add extra almond milk if it’s dry.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with panko bread crumb topping.