My kids love macaroni and cheese, and I mean LOVE. Every week this school year I’ve bought a box of gluten and dairy free daiya mac and cheese for Lance and Annies Mac and Cheese for Ava (she doesn’t like the daiya even though me and Lance love it!) to make after school for a snack and then I send the leftovers in their lunchboxes the next day.
But I got tired of spending 8 or 9 dollars for mac and cheese every week when I could make my own that’s healthier, cheaper, and not much more effort so I went to work to make my own recipe.
To get the flavors just right I made the cheese sauce from a box of Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese so I could do a side-by-side taste test as I made mine and it definitely paid off – I was able to get the flavor spot on!! There were only a few subtle differences I could taste, one being that the dairy free version just barely had a flatter aftertaste, if that makes any sense. But trust me, unless you were doing a side-by-side taste test like me, no one would ever know!
It’s rich, creamy, cheesy, and comforting – everything you would expect from a good mac-n-cheese. Or leave out the macaroni and serve it as as a nacho cheese dip. Even if you can have dairy, I’m sure you will love it and it will leave you wanting more 🙂
Note- After I came up with this recipe I ran across Tessa The Domestic Diva’s Cheese Sauce Recipe and it’s so similar!! Tessa and I frequently make each other’s recipes and we are amazed at how similar our taste buds are so I guess it makes sense that eventually we would come up with such a similar recipe, lol 🙂
pin for later:
- 16 oz. Gluten Free Elbow or Shell Pasta of Choice
- 1 Cup Raw Cashews (soak in hot water 1+ hours if you do not have a high speed blender)
- ½ Cup Water
- ½ Cup Non-Dairy Milk
- ⅓ C Nutritional Yeast
- ¾ tsp. Minced Garlic
- 1½ tsp. Onion Powder
- 1⅛ tsp. Sea Salt
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- ⅛ tsp. Chili Powder
- ¼ tsp. Dried Mustard
- 1½ Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbsp. Ghee or Non-Dairy Butter
- 1 tsp. Arrowroot Flour (or any gluten free starch)
- Prepare pasta according to package directions and set aside.
- Melt the non-dairy butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and browned, about 1 minute.
- Set the saucepan aside for later use.
- In a blender, add the butter/garlic mixture, cashews, water, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, paprika, chili powder, dried mustard, and arrowroot until very smooth. I use my Vita Mix to get it completely smooth.
- Return to the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, whisking frequently.
- Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and cooked pasta (if using).
- Serve immediately. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.