This 3 Pepper Vegan Mac & Cheese combines some of my favorite things…
- Creamy Sauce
That combo is undeniably delicious.
The creaminess comes from the cashew sauce.
Soaked cashews are combined with seasonings and spicy peppers in a blender until smooth and then put on the stove top to heat up.
TIP: Be sure to soak your cashews for at least 4 hours before using. I like to keep a mason jar of soaking cashews in the fridge so I always have some on hand.
The peppers we are going to use are serranos, jalapeños and canned green chilies (which are usually anaheim chilies). If you aren’t familiar with serrano peppers, let me just tell you – they are spicy little guys.
As with all peppers, the level of spice you get is kind of by chance. I’ve had some jalapenos that have the spiciness of bell peppers and I’ve had others that made me feel like my tongue is going to fall off. So, proceed at your own risk – and remember that you can always add your peppers in small batches and taste the sauce as you go. If it needs more heat, add it.
Once your sauce is spiced to your liking and heated through, add it to your pasta and top with additional peppers, cilantro and some caramelized onions.
3 Pepper Vegan Mac & Cheese
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 12 oz. dry pasta shells
- 1 tbsp. olive oil separated
- 3/4 large white onion separated, diced
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeño diced
- 2 serrano peppers diced
- 1 4 oz. can green chilies separated
- 2-3 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp. corn starch
- salt and pepper to taste
- cilantro optional
- additional jalapeños + serranos optional
Soak cashews in water for 4+ hours. Drain and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
While pasta is cooking, put a pan on the stove over medium low heat. Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Once heated, add 1/2 of the onion and the garlic. Add salt and pepper, and cook until soft - about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Add remaining 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to the pan and add serrano and jalapeño peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes (or until peppers soften). Set aside.
Place pan back on the stove and add remaining uncooked onions. Cook on medium low for 5-10 minutes* Set aside.
Add cashews, cooked onion (excluding the 1/4 onion you just caramelized), garlic, jalapeños, serranos, 1/2 can green chilies, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, vegetable broth and corn starch to a blender. Blend on high until sauce is creamy and smooth.
Drain pasta and set aside.
Add sauce back to the pasta pan and cook on low until it begins to thicken - about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and remaining 1/2 can of green chilies. Add pasta back to the pan and stir to combine.
Serve immediately with cilantro, additional peppers and caramelized onions on top.
*Since you aren't adding any oil, you will want to add water to the pan when the onions dry out - 1 tbsp. at a time until the onions are soft and brown.
*Recipe inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Green Chili Mac n Cheese.