I am all about revamping the classics into a healthier form. While classic mac and cheese was always amazing I think we can all agree it isn’t exactly the most nutritious meal you could be eating. But don’t worry with this recipe you can have your vegan mac and cheese and eat it too! A cheese sauce that is so good you won’t believe it is made of cashews, cauliflower and cannellini beans. This recipe is healthy, high protein and almost gluten free (minus the breadcrumbs on the tofu)!
If you follow this recipe carefully you are going to end up with a high protein, incredibly delicious vegan mac and cheese. While the cheese sauce tastes incredibly decadent and indulgent is filled with nutrients and vitamins. The cauliflower, cashew, bean combo may sound weird. But when you add a bit of seasonings, non-dairy milk and nutritional yeast you are going to want to lick it off a spatula. If you have a nut allergy you can use extra beans.
Let’s talk about the pasta. I love regular pasta, trust me I do. But a good swap for regular pasta is a higher protein pasta made from chickpeas! I used the Banza chickpea pasta for this. There are a lot of pastas out there made from legumes now, so take your pick! Red lentil pasta, black bean pasta, edamame pasta the list goes on. If you decide to use regular pasta you will alter the macros but if that is not important to you then it is all good!
Finally, the buffalo tofu. This isn’t a new recipe here. If you follow me on Instagram you will know how much I love buffalo tofu. It is so delicious. The tofu helps to amp the protein in this dish as it is a complete protein. If you can’t have soy you can use seitan as another high protein choice. Otherwise you can always throw in cauliflower, broccoli, peas whatever veggie you like.
I don’t usually care too much about the macros of my recipe. However, this one I did design with the mindset of higher protein, lower carb mac and cheese. So if you split the whole recipe up in to 5 servings you will be look at something like this: 495 calories, 36G protein, 15G fat, 60G carbs. Of course this could vary slightly based on actual serving size and ingredients used.
400G Banza pasta (about 1 and 3/4 boxes)
1 block firm or extra firm tofu [400g]
3 tbsp fine breadcrumbs [30g]
*use gluten free breadcrumbs if necessary
1/2 cup non-dairy milk [120ml]
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (I use the one from Frank’s Red Hot)
*if you like your food less spicy you can use a 1/4 cup of hot sauce and a 1/4 non-dairy milk
Green onion for garnish
1/2 cup cashews [60g]
1-2 small carrots [35g]
1/2 medium cauliflower [250g]
1 can of cannellini beans, drained [245g]
1 cup non-dairy milk, unflavored and unsweetened [240ml]
1 and 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 450F .
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add in the cashews, cauliflower and carrots. Boil until fork tender, about 20 mins.
- While that boils press the tofu. Once the tofu is pressed cut it into cubes. As big as small as you like. I prefer not to go too tiny. Getting anywhere from 35-45 cubes.
- Add the cubes into a bowl and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Move the bowl around and toss the tofu to coat it. These do not need to be perfectly covered just enough for a light breading.
- Place the tofu on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy and golden.
- Prepare the buffalo sauce by mixing together the non-dairy milk and buffalo sauce.
- Once cauliflower, carrots and cashews are done boiling drain them.
- Boil your water for the pasta. Cook the pasta to your preference. I have found with chickpea pasta I like to let it cook for longer.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- In a high speed blender (if using a regular blender this may take a few extra minutes or extra non-dairy milk) or food processor add all the ingredients for the cheese sauce.
- Blend until extremely smooth. Be sure to taste the sauce to make sure you like the flavors. If you are worried about adding too much salt start with a 1/4 tsp.
- Once the tofu is done cooking lightly toss it in the buffalo sauce and place it back on your baking sheet. I prefer to put the tofu back in my warmed completely off oven after so the sauce bakes into the breadcrumbs a bit. But you can just coat them and leave it to the side if you prefer.
- The leftover buffalo sauce can be added into the pasta or drizzled on top.
- Once the chickpea pasta is done boiling drain and give it a rinse. There is a foam that gets created and can leave residue.
- Add all of the cheese sauce into the pasta and mix. You can also add in some of your leftover buffalo sauce or save it all for the top.
- To serve transfer the mac and cheese into a big serving dish or individual bowls. Add the buffalo tofu on top, remaining buffalo sauce and sliced green onion.
Makes 5 servings
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