I have had this Vegan Jalapeno Mac & Cheese in my recipe archive for a couple months now and I am SO excited to finally share it with you all. One of my favorite dishes in my past gluten and dairy filled life was jalapeno mac & cheese. I had wanted to recreate this dish for a long time but was slightly nervous too because I think it is hard to replicate dairy cheese. I recently started making a bunch of vegan cheesecakes and that gave me the courage to try making a spicy cashew cheese substitute. Well it ended up being AWESOME and I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner.
Cashews help create a really thick sauce which is perfect since classic mac & cheese usually require a roux to thicken it. A few little notes about this recipe! Not all jalapenos are created equal so you may need to change the quantity if you have super mild ones are super hot ones. There are times I have had to add and extra one for more spice and some times I haven’t needed to. I would suggest just tasting everything as you go. Also – feel free to spice it up according to your preference. My husband really likes when I add paprika to make it smoky or more garlic to make it super potent. Don’t be afraid to get creative and adjust the “cheese” sauce to your liking.
- 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 4 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 ¼ cup canned coconut milk (I used lite)
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 4 cups gluten-free pasta shells (I use this one)
- Add the raw cashews to a small saucepan and fill with water. Bring to a boil and then take the pan it off the heat and put a lid on top and let soak for about one hour.
- Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes and then add the jalapeno and garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Strain the cashews and then rinse them and add to a blender with the onions, jalapeño, garlic, coconut milk, sea salt, oregano, nutritional yeast and chili powder.
- Blend until mixture smooth.
- Cook the noodles and strain and add back the pot and turn the stove to medium, low heat. Add the jalapeno cheese and stir to combine and slowly heat.
- Serve once mixture is hot.
- You may need to adjust the amount of jalapeño if they are not spicy enough or too spicy. I would taste the mixture as you go.