Easy Creamy Shells and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce

The second of six recipes that create one epic seventh recipe, from Dustin Harder’s new cookbook, Epic Vegan: Wild and OveR-the-Top Plant-based Recipes - available now for pre-order.

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

vegan | quick | easy | gluten-free option | 30 minutes or less* | year round

*longer if baking

This is the second of a seven-part post series for Dustin Harder’s new cookbook, Epic Vegan: Wild and Over the Top Plant-based Recipes. The idea behind this awesome book: Dustin takes a collection of tasty recipes and puts them together to make one epic creation - and it’s all vegan!

The Epic Recipe I chose: Bacon Macaroni and Cheese BBQ Blue Burger. Today, we are focussing on the Macaroni and Cheese part, with actually two recipes from the book: Cheesiest Cheese Sauce and Easy Creamy Shells and Cheese. It is just what it sounds, super creamy and this recipe makes a nice big batch. I had never tried using sauerkraut in a cheese sauce until now, and while it might sound strange, it actually adds a little pleasant tanginess that helps balance the other ingredients - genius! There are a lot of veggies in this sauce, so it’s a nutritious winner for the whole family.

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce

Easy Creamy Mac and Cheese with the Cheesiest Cheese Sauce, from Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipes by Dustin Harder. Image by Kari of Beautiful Ingredient. #veganmacandcheese #vegankidrecipe #veganmacaroniandcheese #vegancheesesauce


Easy Creamy shells and Cheese with The Cheesiest Cheese Sauce

recipes
from Epic Vegan by Dustin Harder

vegan | quick | easy | gluten-free option | 30 minutes or less* | year round

PREP TIME: 10 minutes | COOK TIME: 20 minutes, if baking 50 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes; *if baking, 60-70 minutes

YIELDS 6 cups (1425 g) sauce (more than enough for a pound of pasta); 8 pasta servings

Author’s note: I once was a close contender for a spot on the Food Network’s show The Great Food Truck Race. If chosen to compete, I knew I wouldn’t be able to rely on things like nutritional yeast and miso, which can be challenging to find sometimes. I set forth to create a cheese sauce with ingredients I knew I could find anywhere in the country so I could effectively compete in any given situation, and that’s when I got obsessive about creating this recipe. It’s so versatile; I hope you love it as much as I do!

Tip: I prefer kabocha squash, as it is slightly richer in flavor and color, but if you can find only butternut squash, that works as well - and you can sometimes find it already peeled and cubed in the grocery store! Mac and Cheese: This recipe comes together in a cinch. While your pasta is cooking, whip up the cheese sauce. Crunch up potato chips for an extra-fun crust on top.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups (570 ml) water

  • 2 cups (10 ounces/340 g) peeled and cubed kabocha or butternut squash

  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed

  • 1/3 cup (50 g) arborio rice

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

  • 1/2 cup (80g) chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup (75 g) chopped red bell pepper

  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup (71 g) sauerkraut

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) tahini

  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 box (1 lb./454 g) or 2 8-oz boxes pasta shells (gluten-free if desired)

  • Hemp Parmesan (optional)

easy-creamy-vegan-mac-and-cheese-on-bacon-mac-and-cheese-bbq-blue-burger.jpg

available for pre-0rder

instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, squash, potato, and rice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender. Do not drain the water.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.

  3. Meanwhile, get a pot boiling and cook your pasta shells according to the package instructions.

  4. In a high-speed blender, combine the sauerkraut, tahini, mustard, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Transfer the contents of the saucepan (including the water) and the contents of the skillet to the blender. Remove the plug from the lid of the blender and place a dish towel over the hole to allow steam to escape. Blend on low and increase the speed until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about two minutes.

  5. In the large pot that the shells were prepared in, combine the cheese sauce and the shells until the shells are entirely coated. Serve topped with the parmesan, if desired. Serve warm on recipes as needed or toss it with steamed broccoli or your favorite vegetables! Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat when needed.

  6. To bake: While the shells cook, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Transfer the finished mac and cheese to a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges have started to brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with (vegan) parmesan, if desired.


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Bacon Mac and Cheese BBQ Blue Burger from Epic Vegan by Dustin Harder: