Dinner/Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese with Crispy Quinoa Topping
September 6, 2016

by Alyssa Rimmer

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese with Crispy Quinoa Topping

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This healthy vegan mac and cheese recipe combines a lemon cream sauce with perfectly cooked gluten-free pasta and is finished off with crispy quinoa.

Baked VEGAN Mac and Cheese with a dreamy "cheese" sauce and a crunchy quinoa topping!

Now that we've officially said goodbye to summer, I'm shifting gears into the world of comfort food. But I'm also of the mindset that comfort food can also be really nutritious. I love putting a healthy twist on classic recipes so that everyone can enjoy them anytime they want.

In the past, some of my favorites have been a warm bowl of black bean quinoa chili or a big pile of sweet potato nachos, but ever since I created that vegan lemon cream sauce, I've had pasta on the brain.

So today's healthy comfort food is a baked vegan mac and cheese recipe!

Just like any traditional mac and cheese, we have three things: noodles, cheese sauce, and a crispy topping.

But unlike traditional mac and cheese, we're swapping in our healthier versions of each. We're using a gluten-free pasta made from whole grain brown rice, that vegan lemon cream sauce I mentioned above and top with the whole thing with a layer of quinoa crispies.

Vegan Mac + Cheese Sauce -- simple, easy, creamy and healthy!

I only made one slight modification to the sauce recipe and that was adding a dash of turmeric to turn it that vibrant orange color, but other than that it was perfect. The combination of creamy cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and that subtle lemon undertone, makes the pasta pop with bright, cheesy flavor. You'll never even miss the actual cheese! (<– promise!)

Baked VEGAN Mac and Cheese with a dreamy "cheese" sauce and a crunchy quinoa topping!

Baked VEGAN Mac and Cheese with a dreamy "cheese" sauce and a crunchy quinoa topping!

Then there's the topping!

If you've never made quinoa crispies before, stop what you're doing and go make 'em!

They are so simple to make and have SO many different uses. We've used them as a crunchy topping on yogurt bowls, for adding a crispy texture to chocolate energy balls, and even as a coating on tofu tacos! Quinoa crispies are seriously amazing.

And today we're using them to replace breadcrumbs on our vegan mac and cheese.

This is THE BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe ever! So simple to make, packed with nutrients and delicious!

This is THE BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe ever! So simple to make, packed with nutrients and delicious!

This recipe is super simple to make and freezes well too. You just cook your pasta, blend the sauce, top with the quinoa crispies, bake until warm and bubbly. I made two trays of this and froze the extras for an easy weeknight dinner later on this fall.

But it's also a great base. Since it's just a plain and simple cheese sauce, you could totally add in vegetables, protein, spices, etc., to jazz it up and make it your own. It would be great with peas, broccoli, spinach, grilled chicken or even some ground turkey.

And if you want to make it even higher in protein without adding beans or an animal protein, I suggest using some form of bean pasta (this red lentil pasta is my favorite!), because you're getting 10+g of protein per serving of pasta. Win-win!

This is THE BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe ever! So simple to make, packed with nutrients and delicious!

So now when you're feeling like you need to be wrapped up in a big food hug, you have something that will satisfy those cheesy cravings in a healthy and delicious way. Because this is proof that we don't need gluten or dairy to make an epic mac and cheese!

Your turn…

What is your go-to comfort food that you would like to see remade in a healthy way? I'm always looking for your suggestions, so if you have one that you just can't seem to let go of, let me try my hand at giving you a healthier option 😉

xo Alyssa

This is THE BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe ever! So simple to make, packed with nutrients and delicious!

More Delicious Comfort Food Recipes to try:

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

This recipe is super simple to make and freezes well too.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 371kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
Print Pin
This is THE BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe ever! So simple to make, packed with nutrients and delicious!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 1 lb gluten-free pasta of choice this is my favorite
  • 1 batch vegan lemon cream sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup quinoa crispies

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce (make sure to soak your cashews ahead of time!). Once blended, add in the turmeric and blend again until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to a oven safe baking dish. Pour sauce over top and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle crispies over the top of the noodles, cover the dish with tin foil and bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 452mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1.1mg

 

 

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Baked VEGAN Mac and Cheese with a dreamy "cheese" sauce and a crunchy quinoa topping!

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. I tried it for the first time last week and it was 100% success! My boyfriend loved it! Instead of normal pasta I used lentil pasta and it was great. It will definitely make it into regular meals!

  2. […] Pizza Casserole // Power Pistachio Butter // Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese // How to Make Tempeh Taste Good // Pumpkin Spice Blondies // Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter […]

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