Whenever I’m feeling sorry for my FODMAP self, I think of the low FODMAP vegans. As a general rule, vegans (or the vegans I see on Instagram, please forgive me) seem to eat a lot of fruit, and a lot of legumes – both heavily restricted on the FODMAP diet. If I couldn’t rely on eggs, cheese, and the odd bit of fish, I don’t know where I would be. A whole lot crankier than I currently am, at the very least. So, when I set out to create a vegan, gluten-free mac n’ cheese, I knew it had to be vegan.
A token of appreciation for my FODMAP vegan friends, if you will. A lot of vegan mac n’ cheese recipe that I’ve come across rely heavily on cashews and cauliflower, neither of which are particularly FODMAP friendly. Besides, even if cashews were the friendliest FODMAP in the world, ain’t nobody got time for soaking cashews when they’re in the mood for mac n’ cheese.
This mac n’ cheese is vegan, gluten free, FODMAP friendly, easily nut free, and whipped up in about 15 minutes. You can bake it, eat it straight out of the pot, or even use the sauce for lasagne, a vegie bake, or (from personal experience) a toast spread. So damn good. In the mood for more pasta? Try the vegan avocado herb pasta.
VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE MAC AND CHEESE NOTES
First and foremost, it’s important to say that this dish doesn’t need to be gluten free if you don’t require it. You can obviously use regular pasta – nothing else would change in the recipe regardless.
I have used a number of different milks for this recipe. In my experience, I’ve found that soy milk made for the creamiest cheese sauce without adding unwanted flavour. My votes go to soy and almond, although if you’re not gluten intolerant you could also try oat milk.
Since I developed this recipe, there have been a lot of advances in vegan butter. I use Nuttelex Buttery because I know it’s easily accessible in Australian supermarkets, but you might have a personal favourite. When I can, I plan to get my hands on some Miyokos – I’ve heard great things.
In a similar vein to the last point, vegan cheese is a lot more accessible than it was. The vegan, gluten-free mac and cheese tastes delicious as it is, but you could consider stirring through (or topping) it with some vegan cheese. Make sure it’s good quality and suitable for any dietary requirements you have.
Salt is super important to making this dish taste mac and cheesy. That said, because this is vegan, I recommend adding 1 teaspoon, tasting it and going from there. This is particularly important if you’re adding vegan cheese. You can always add more salt but once you’ve over salted, there’s not much you can do.
If you want to make it into a bake, you could sprinkle some gluten free sourdough breadcrumbs atop and bake in a dish. For a large crowd, I’d probably recommend doubling the recipe.
Finally, if you want to jazz up the flavour a little, a few suggestions. A bit of mustard, some light miso paste or some truffle oil would all make excellent additions.
Vegan Mac and Cheese (that is FODMAP friendly and gluten free)
FOR THE VEGAN MAC:
- 300 g gluten free pasta I used a rice and amaranth blend
- 3 1/2 cups of plant based milk see notes
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter substitute see notes
- 6 tablespoons gluten free cornflour
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1-2 teaspoons sea salt
- Heat a large pot of salted water over a high heat until it reaches boiling point. Add your pasta, and cook as per packet instructions - leave it a little bit underdone if you intend to make a mac n' cheese bake. Drain, and reserve a little starchy pasta water to add to the cheesy sauce.
- While the pasta is cooking, place a medium pot over a high heat. Measure out all your ingredients separately for smooth sailing - the milk, cornflour, nutritional yeast and salt (they can sit together) and the vegan butter.
- Add the vegan butter to the pan, and allow it to melt completely and begin to bubble. Add the cornflour (it should sizzle!) Depending on the butter substitute you are using (when I used the coconut oil based one it didn't solidify so quickly, but when I used Nuttelex it became a paste immediately) allow the mixture to firm up. Add the milk as soon as it does. Turn the heat down immediately, and use a whisk to create a smooth roux. Once you have whisked out any lumps, add the nutritional yeast and salt, and continue whisking until the sauce is golden in colour and thickened. Take it off the heat just before it becomes 'thick thick' and add the pasta and pasta water (1/4 cup max.) Mix thoroughly to combine. From here, you can consume as is, or spread into a baking tray and grill for about 10 minutes.. If you're feeling extravagant, you can top it with some easy, vegan, nut free parmesan.