Who doesn’t love a good Mac & Cheese recipe? My love of macaroni and cheese started at a very young age, which I am sure many folks can attest to the same. I have fond memories of eating boxed Kraft Mac & Cheese with a variety of meals, everything from pork chops to hamburger steak. Sometimes I hoped to eat the Mac & Cheese as a meal all on its own, but my parents were right not to allow that to happen. I would have been happy, but most likely puffed up on copious amounts of powdered cheese and milk.
A few months ago I set out on a quest to create a Mac & Cheese recipe from scratch that supported my need for dairy-free foods. I printed out seven different recipes from a variety of sources that were touted as being either dairy-free or gluten-free. Suggestions from several of the recipes plus my own taste buds created this delicious concoction. It was showcased for the first time at our family Labor Day party. Most importantly my mother enjoyed it so much that she made a request for it just a few weeks later.
This recipe can be created as dairy-free, gluten-free, or both, depending on what dietary restrictions you want to address.
- Elbow noodles ~ 1 full box (I use Barilla gluten-free noodles)
- 1 cup milk of choice (I use Almond Breeze Almond Milk to keep it dairy-free)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I use vegan cheese to keep it dairy-free)
- Garlic powder ~ 1/4 tsp.
- Onion powder ~ 1/4 tsp.
- Black pepper ~ 1/4 tsp.
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- Coconut oil to keep the cheese from sticking
- I like to use Barilla gluten-free noodles and can be purchased at most grocery stores.
- My favorite brand of dairy-free cheese is VioLife Vegan Cheese, but that is not as easy to find as some other brands. I have also used Follow Your Heart brand.
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil; add a pinch of sea salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until pasta is al dente.
- Combine all dry spices in a small bowl.
- Next use the double-boiler method to melt the cheese, especially if you are using vegan cheese. Please reference the external link below on how to set-up the double-boiler. Heat the pot of water to medium-high heat. Once warm place a few drops of coconut oil into the top pot/bowl to keep the cheese from sticking while it melts. To begin I place half of the cheese in there and once that is somewhat melted I add in the remaining cheese and almond milk. Be sure to stir the cheese and almond milk continuously until desired consistency. The entire process takes about 10-12 minutes.
- Once the cheese is melted stir in the combined spices; mix thoroughly.
- Be sure to drain the pasta as soon as it is done cooking. The goal is to allow it to cool for 3 to 5 minutes before mixing in the cheese sauce.
- After the pasta is drained and slightly cool, mix in the cheese sauce.
- Add any additional spices to taste. I frequently add more black pepper as I like mine somewhat spicy.
- Serve Mac & Cheese warm or cool, depending on your tastes.
Reasoning behind double-boiler method…
Truth be told I do not actually own a double-boiler. While that may sound uncommon for someone who likes to cook as much as I do, it seemed totally unnecessary. I use a medium-size pot and a pyrex glass bowl sitting on top. I put enough water in the pot that it reaches the bottom of the glass bowl. If you decide to go this route, here is a great link to How to Make a Double Boiler from Pots You Already Have.
The primary reason behind this method is to keep the cheese from sticking to the pot and to allow for slow cooking to reduce the possibility of burning the cheese.
I hope you will give this Mac & Cheese recipe a try! As always, please alter it to fit your needs. I am open to hearing suggestions and alterations of how to make my dishes better, so do not hesitate to share if you have the time.
Happy Cooking, Mrs. B