For Allergy Awareness Month, I’m focusing more on everyone-friendly recipes, like this Southwestern-inspired, dairy-free mac and cheese. It just happens to be vegan (with options for add-ins for everyone!), soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and even mustard- and sesame-free for my Top 11-free Canadian friends.
Hungry yet? This versatile little recipe comes together so quickly on the stovetop, can be flavored up or down (we like our salt for more cheesiness!), and is delicious as is (a little savory, spicy and sweet contrast thanks to the corn and fresh bell pepper). But, it can be deliciously pumped up with your favorite Southwestern-style ingredients (see my notes in the recipe for suggestions).
Spice Tips: Though I label it as “spicy”, when made as is, this Southwestern-style dairy-free mac and cheese has a nice little kick that many kids will even enjoy. My husband and I aren’t fire breathers – our definition of spicy is probably just touching on medium heat for many. If you like a bigger zing in your dairy-free mac and cheese, feel free to double the cayenne, sauté a little chopped jalapeno with the bell peppers, add some diced canned green chiles just before serving, stir in a little of your favorite salsa, or add a few shakes of chili powder to the spice mix in the sauce.
This was originally a sponsored post for Vine Market, a Quidsi-Amazon company. But they are no longer around. Also, I’m sharing this recipe on the Gluten-Free Wednesdays Carnival at Gluten-Free Easily and at Allergy Free Wednesdays hosted on Whole New Mom.
Special Diet Notes: Southwestern Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free (though you can use wheat-based macaroni, if desired), peanut-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, vegan, vegetarian and all-around top food allergy-friendly.
- 16 ounces (1 lb) macaroni (I used Glutino Gluten Free Enriched Elbows)
- 3 cups cold unsweetened milk alternative (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage), divided
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¾ cup cooked chopped carrots
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (such as Bob's Red Mill)
- ¼ cup non-GMO cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup diced green pepper
- 2 cups organic corn kernels (defrosted if using frozen)
- Optional add-ins (see note below)
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not rinse.
- While the noodles are cooking, add 1 cup milk alternative, ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, carrot, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne to your blender, and blend until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups milk alternative, and blend until smooth.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers and sauté 2 minutes. Add corn, sauté 1 minute more. Pour in sauce mixture from blender and whisk as it bubbles until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Season sauce to taste with additional salt (I often add ¼ to ½ teaspoon more), cayenne, and/or lemon juice, if desired.
- Stir in the cooked pasta until well-coated. Divide between bowls.
3/4 to 1 lb cooked, diced chicken
1/2 lb cooked chorizo (or vegan chorizo)
Diced green chiles (canned)
Diced jalapeno (cook in with bell pepper, optionally skip cayenne)
Salsa (tastes great stirred in)