Level up your dairy-free mac ‘n’ cheese with greens and vegan pesto.
Pesto and pasta are two peas in a pod, so to do a variation with mac n’ cheese isn’t really a stretch. But I bulked up this simple idea with other yummy green things, like peas, so that you feel like the epitome of health eating it. It’s also got mixed greens, ’cause we all need more of those, and chopped pistachios for a crunchy green addition on top. She’s the prettiest of the group and you’re going to be very fond of her.
One Pot Dairy-Free Mac ‘n’ Cheese With Greens and Vegan Pesto
One-Pot Mac 'n' Cheese
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1½ cups elbow macaroni
- ¾ cup vegan Cheddar shreds
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- ground black pepper to taste
Green Mac 'n' Cheese
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- 1 batch One-Pot Mac 'n’ Cheese
- 1 cup packed mixed greens, coarsely chopped (such as arugula, spinach, baby kale)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil, divided
- 2 tbsp store- bought vegan pesto, plus more for drizzling
- ⅓ cup salted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
For the One Pot Mac 'n' Cheese
- In a pot over medium- high heat, add the water and nondairy milk and bring to a low simmer, 5 to 6 minutes, whisking occasionally to prevent burning. The mixture will get foamy.
- Turn the heat down slightly to keep the liquid at a low simmer. Whisk in the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, Dijon, sea salt, and cayenne, until well combined. Add the macaroni and stir. Cook the mixture over a low simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente. (Double- check your pasta’s package directions because the cook time will vary depending on the brand and what the pasta is made from.) Stir the mixture constantly to prevent sticking.
- When the pasta is done, the sauce will look a little thin. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vegan cheddar shreds, vegan butter, and black pepper. Cover the pot for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens up and the cheese is completely melted.
- Serve with extra ground black pepper, if desired, or level up your mac 'n’ cheese with one of the variations that follow. To reheat leftovers, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of nondairy milk and heat over medium-low until warmed through.
For the Green Mac 'n' Cheese
- If using frozen peas, add to a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for 3 to 4 minutes and drain well.
- To the prepared mac 'n’ cheese, add the peas, mixed greens, and half the basil. Stir to combine well.
- Gently fold in the 2 tablespoons vegan pesto so it ribbons through the mac 'n’ cheese. Top each serving with another drizzle of pesto, and sprinkle with the remaining basil and chopped pistachios.
Reprinted with permission from Hot for Food All Day, by Lauren Toyota. Ten Speed Press 2021. All rights reserved.