Smoky Mac ’n’ Cheese
Yield: 4 servings
When we think of Southern comfort food, we think of mac ’n’ cheese. This decadent and soul-warming dish is a favorite in the South and the Midwest, especially at backyard BBQs. This is why we had to remake the standard mac ’n’ cheese into a vegan version. The cashew cheese makes it just as creamy and comforting as dairy cheese, only a whole lot healthier. And don’t skip the coconut bacon, because it adds that “sumpin sumpin” that only bacon flavor can.
  • 1 cup (60 g) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) liquid smoke
  • 3 cups (720 ml) water
  • ½ cauliflower head, chopped into small florets
  • ½ cup (56 g) raw cashews soaked overnight in ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 cup (160 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb (453 g) cavatappi noodles
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup (45 g) breadcrumbs
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the coconut flakes with liquid smoke and spread them evenly on a lined baking sheet. Bake the coconut for approximately 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and then set aside.
  3. Boil the water in a small pot. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and boil for 15 minutes. Drain the cooked cauliflower and place in a high-speed blender or food processor. Drain and rinse the cashews, and add to the food processor with the almond milk and lemon juice, then blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper to the cashew cream and blend until well incorporated into the cashew–cauliflower mixture. Set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Mix in the cashew– cauliflower mixture and pour into a baking dish. Combine the olive oil and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle on top of the noodles.
  5. Set the oven to broil, place the mac ’n’ cheese on the top rack of the oven and broil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Serve by topping the mac ’n’ cheese with the coconut bacon and green onions.
Reprinted with permission by Page Street Publishing. Photography by Kelly Allison Photography.
Recipe by Chic Vegan at