Roasted Tomato Chipotle Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower sauce. Nut-free option. Vegan recipe

I was thinking of posting a bread today, then decided to make some cheesy pasta for lunch instead and hence the post. mmmm.. mmmmm.. Most days my confort food is things like Gobi Aloo or daal chawal(daal and rice) or rajma chawal( red kidney beans curry and rice).. but there are days when I or hubbs get a pasta craving.

I did not even like mac and cheese before, but the vegan mac and cheese from Bang Bang Cafe (which is 1 block from my house) is delicious and off I went to the kitchen to make me some.

Hubbs and me both were never too fond of cheese and most of our pasta preps usually are a way to eat more veggies. But now with no need for the real cheese, the fresh creamy sauces can be taken to a whole new level with a little twist here and there!

This cheesy sauce feels light on the tummy, has cauliflower cream, some caramelized cherry tomatoes and onions, smoky chipotle pepper flakes and nutritional yeast for the cheese flavor. The mild smoky chipotle peppers and the roasted tomatoes make this one delicious sauce. Adjust the peppers, nutritional yeast, salt to taste. Make more or less sauce per preference.

I am out of elbows, so this is a colorful shells mac and cheese. Use gf pasta for a gf version.

Cherry tomatoes caremlizing with red onions below. sizzle!

Chipotle pepper flakes, Cauliflower and water added to the tomatoes..

Roasted Tomato Chipotle Mac n Cheese
vegan, dairy, egg, soy free. nut free option

Ingredients: Serves 1 , easily doubled, tripled..
1 cup uncooked Pasta( I used spinach and tomato shells)
2 teaspoons organic canola oil
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes( or regular chopped)
1/4 cup red onion slices
1-2 teaspoons chipotle pepper flakes( to taste, add mroe later if needed)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/3 heaping cup grated Cauliflower
3/4 cup water ( substitute half with non dairy milk for creamier sauce)
1.5 Tablespoon ground raw cashew(or use other thickening options, a few Tablespoons cornstarch or flour for a nutfree sauce)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1+ Tablespoons nutritional yeast , (less or more to taste)
Topping: 1 Tablespoon coarsely ground raw cashew or bread crumbs mixed with nutritional yeast flakes to taste

Cook the pasta according to instruction.
In a large pan, add 2 teaspoons organic canola oil and heat on medium high.
Drop in halved cherry tomatoes, or cubed regular tomatoes and onion slices.
Arrange them in one layer and cook for 8-10 minutes until caramelized to your preference. (You can also roast the tomatoes in the oven at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
To make oil-free, dry roast the tomatoes and onions in the oven till slightly caramelized.
Or you can cook them on medium heat in evoo for a non scorched taste. )
Add chipotle pepper flakes, garlic powder and black pepper to the pan and mix for a few seconds.
Add the grated cauliflower, salt and water and bring to a boil. (add more grated cauliflower for more sauce. You can also use small chopped cauliflower. cover and cook till tender)
Let the mixture cool a bit. (If using flour or starch, add to the boiling mixture and mix well).
Blend this mixture with ground cashew and nutritional yeast, into a smooth paste and return to the pan.
Add the pasta, toss, taste and adjust salt, spice, nutritional yeast, mix and bring to a boil on low-medium.(2 minutes)
Remove from heat. Eat.
Top with coarsely ground cashew or bread crumbs mixed in with nutritional yeast for a cheesy sprinkle or any non dairy cheese before serving.
You can also add roasted veggies, blanched broccoli or greens to make this a complete meal!

Some Smiles for the rest of the week.
Chewie, Our adopted fluffster: Hey, I just met you..

Simo, our first foster .. i hope he is being loved and cuddled.. I cried for 3 days when he got adopted..

Tuggie: Our third foster (rescue from a puppy mill).. he pooped in my jacket pocket :). he found a great home with a shih tzu mix to help him learn hid doggy ways.

Chewie loves to get a chest rub!

4 out 5 of our foster dogs(2009-2010), were from Death row dogs in CA. They were picked on the day they were to be put to sleep and put on a plane to Seattle. Can you believe that!
These pretty faces, super adoptable breeds, even puppies, are euthanized in high kill CA shelters with kill rates as high as 60%.
Lets show some love to doggies this weekend in and around Seattle, by dropping by the walk for animals or adoption events. Events Calender here.
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  1. says

    this mac and cheeze looks delicious! i love the little bits of “cheese” throughout the pasta. it reminds me of parmigiano cheese! this is such a great alternative to vegan mac and cheeze recipes full of oil/earth balance, flour, etc. DEFINITELY giving this a try 😉

    and i love the pics of chewie and your foster children. you have such a beautiful soul, richa <4

    • says

      Let me know when you try it! i dont like to use most of the alternate processed stuff if i can help it… the coarse flavord cashew is soft enough to pass on as a quick parmigiano. Though i dont really remember the orginal cheese taste anymore.. i am super happy with this creamy concoction.:)

      i need to start fostering again. though it is really tough physically and mentally, i miss seeing the faces go from sad to happy:)

  2. says

    This sounds really good! I like that you added cauliflower to keep it creamy but light! And chipotle is always a good flavour in my books.

    Your puppies are just adorable. I’d come over and hug and squeeze them any day :)

    • says

      i know right.. chipotle works everytime. i like light sauces too! my pom is tired of my sueezes.. but he doesnt mind squeezes from new faces.. so drop on by.:)

  3. says

    Very interesting recipe. I love mac and cheese and sometimes, I want to have some cheese free version handy for kids with allergies. thanks for sharing.

  4. says

    I haven’t had Mac n’ Cheese in years! It always sounds way too heavy for me these days, but I love that you’ve lightened it up a bit with cauliflower, and then added those gorgeous little tomatoes! Looks so good!

    I love all your little fur babies! I want so badly to foster dogs, like, only 9 or 10 or so. 😉 My Samantha, however, is an old crotchety lady and not interested in having canine roommates,. Oh well- I’m happy to know there’s people like you taking them in. :-)

    • says

      i know. the only reason i want a bigger house(apart from the need for a bigger kitchen and an extra room for photography, which is not so urgent) is that i want a yard where i can foster a bunch of pups all the time!
      yup the sauce is quite easy on the tummy!

  5. louiseb says

    I have 6 rescues, 1 a foster failure (couldn’t let her go when another home was found for her) High props to those who foster!!!!

    Oh, and can’t wait to try recipe!

    • says

      Thanks Louiseb. i know. i cried for 3 days like a mad woman after my first foster got adopted. my husband was like, if you are going to be a mess after each foster, we cant do it:) got better at it later.

  6. says

    I love your take on mac and cheese! I could add chipotle to anything – love the stuff! Can’t wait to try your recipe and your dogs are just adorable…bet they were hoping you’d drop some mac on the floor for them 😉

    • says

      yeah chewie sits at the kitchen entrance when i cook and comes in when i am done to vacuum the floor:) Do let me know when you try it!

  7. says

    Yum – that pasta looks delicious! So creamy and rich looking but without the heaviness of other cream-based or cheesy pasta dishes. I like the idea of adding broccoli or greens to make it even healthier!

  8. says

    Aw, your fosters are so cute. Thanks for the recipe, I’m saving it to Pinterest next. I can’t have cashew (darn, wish I could because so many recipes use a cashew cream) so I often substitute almond. But I like the idea of the cauliflower in the sauce and here I think I’ll stick with the cauliflower, roasted tomato, and chipotle, that should be plenty flavorful with or without the nuts.

  9. chris says

    This Looks awesome! Can you use chia instead of cashews?
    Can you eliminate the tomatoes and hot spices to make it “mild cheddar”?
    Thanks!!! I wish I had cauliflower in the house to make this tonight :)

  10. says

    Richa you are such an amazing person – I don’t understand how they can put those adorable pups to sleep or the people that do not take active steps to prevent overbreeding – In NH we have one of the Highest placement rates/adoption rates for pups and they come from all over the US.

    LOVE this take on Mac n’ cheese, my tummy is ah grumbling for some!

  11. says

    I followed a link here from vegansaurus and was surprised to find a shout-out to Bang Bang’s vegan mac! It’s definitely the best ever. I started going there right when they first opened and I wish I was still Seattle so I could eat some. :(


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