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Quick Chili Mac and “Cheese”

Posted on by Alisa Fleming in Dairy-Free Recipes, News, Nutrition Headlines, Pasta with 3 Comments
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Beth HillsonThis is a special guest post and chili mac recipe from Beth Hillson, author of Gluten-Free Makeovers. Beyond her blog and book, Beth wears many hats in the gluten-free community – – president of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, a volunteer advocacy group that works on celiac causes such as the FDA gluten-free labeling regulations; editor of a weekly e-newsletter for www.glutenfree.com; and food editor of Living Without Magazine specializing multiple food allergies including gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts. 

When I was diagnosed with celiac disease 35 years ago, I went to culinary school to better understand how food was prepared.  I discovered I could remake the recipes so they were safe for my gluten-free diet.  As long as I maintained the ratio of ingredients in the original recipe, I could replace regular flour with gluten-free flour and the results were always delicious.

As food editor at Living Without Magazine, I am always thinking “substitution” when we make a recipe and these basic principles I discovered 35 years ago still hold true.  We regularly replace the gluten, dairy and sometimes the eggs in our recipes with yummy results.

I think of myself as the champion of substitution these days. But truthfully, it’s mostly about knowing the ingredients to replace. For that I keep a running list of suitable alternatives. I know, for instance, that some butter alternatives contain casein while others are vegan and completely dairy-free. I know that these dairy-free butter substitutions can be cut and frozen to make flakier pie crust and cookies. And I can list the alternatives for milk in order of the ones with the highest protein – - Soy, Hemp, Almond, Rice, and Potato – - for starters.

When one of our readers contacts me with a lengthy list of ingredients they must avoid, I suggest that they make a list of the ingredients they can have, too, and keep those in mind every time they want to make a recipe.  It’s empowering.  It makes them feel like the world is full of possibilities.  After all, the glass is not empty if you arm yourself with friendly substitutions.

Here is a recipe that has been a favorite with our readers, Quick Macaroni and Cheese. To be honest, I hadn’t tasted macaroni and cheese in many years. Gluten-free/dairy-free versions aren’t standard fare on restaurant menus and making it from scratch—well, let’s just say, it seemed like a lot of work. But this year I gave into my craving and headed to the kitchen to develop a gluten-free, dairy-free version of this universal favorite.

My goal was to make something fast, yet flavorful – - a mac and cheese full of creamy good taste without the time-consuming preparation. I had no desire to stir up a “cream” sauce or shop for ingredients. Instead, I used what I had on hand. Then I melded flavors (and saved time) by using the microwave.

The result? A wonderfully grown-up version of mac and cheese that speaks comfort. This chili mac is so delicious and easy to make, I wonder why I waited so long.

Dairy-Free Chili Mac and Cheese


For more of Beth’s recipes, check out her book, Gluten-Free Makeovers.

Gluten-Free Makeovers Cookbook by Beth Hillson

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About Alisa Fleming

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

View all posts by Alisa Fleming →

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living


  1. JoanneOctober 5, 2012 at 5:09 amReply

    This mac and cheese looks creamy dreamy! So delicious. I also love the mentality of remembering what you CAN have rather than what you can’t.

  2. Surfing Saturday 10-6-12 | Elite Daily Diet and FitnessOctober 6, 2012 at 8:06 amReply

    [...] (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational) Butternut Squash Soup Quick Chili Mac and “Cheese” Must-Have Ingredients for Gluten-Free [...]

  3. Stephanie ShipleyOctober 7, 2012 at 11:04 amReply

    This looks delicious!

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