Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese

I’ve made a lot of vegan mac and cheese. All kinds. If you can think it, I’ve probably made it: some good, some bad but this one is my absolute favorite. It also happens to be exceptionally easy. A staple in our house, I hope it will become one in your house as well. This vegan version is oil-free and oh so creamy and delicious.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese - I’ve made a lot of vegan mac and cheese. All kinds. If you can think it, I’ve probably made it: some good, some bad but this one is my absolute favorite. It also happens to be exceptionally easy. A staple in our house, I hope it will become one in your house as well. This vegan version is oil-free and oh so creamy and delicious.

Noticed some changes? Produce On Parade got a bit of a makeover! What do you think of it? I hope you like it; we felt we needed a bit more of a modern feel. Something clean and shiny, eh. If you have any comments please let me know through the brand new contact page at the top right on the screen. I'd love to hear what you're thinking.

Anywho, what I am thinking is... comfort food. A teething Oliver is getting up every two hours to nurse #whatdidwedo and then with me working full-time, this is one dead momma. I literally ran into a wall today, in front of a patient. That's what three intermittent hours of sleep get you. I need food that is fast and filling and yummy. Last night I was really craving mac and cheese, so we whipped this up in no time. I thought it was about time I shared this recipe. It's always the staples that I have yet to share for some reason.

Not only is this dish killer but it happens to be the only vegan mac and cheese recipe that is Todd approved. He doesn't like the sweet potato or butternut squash mac and cheeses. Nope, this is the only one. Oh well, makes my life easier!

Produce On Parade - Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese - I’ve made a lot of vegan mac and cheese. All kinds. If you can think it, I’ve probably made it: some good, some bad but this one is my absolute favorite. It also happens to be exceptionally easy. A staple in our house, I hope it will become one in your house as well. This vegan version is oil-free and oh so creamy and delicious.

Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese

Recipe by Kathleen @ Produce On Parade

I’ve made a lot of vegan mac and cheese. All kinds. If you can think it, I’ve probably made it: some good, some bad but this one is my absolute favorite. It also happens to be exceptionally easy. A staple in our house, I hope it will become one in your house as well. This vegan version is oil-free and oh so creamy and delicious. Inspired by BuzzFeed. *A high powered blender works best. If you don’t have one just soak the cashews in boiling water for 20 minutes prior to use.

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup raw cashews*
  • scant ¼ cup large-flake nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz dry pasta shells

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil for the vegetables. Boil the potatoes and garlic clove for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and boil for 5 additional minutes. Add the onion and boil for 7 additional minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are boiling, add the remaining ingredients except the pasta to a blender. Drain the veggies saving the water (1 ½ cups), add them to a blender along with the saved water; blend on high until smooth and creamy. It makes about 4 cups of sauce.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta and cook according to the package. Drain and return to the pot. Stir 3 cups of the sauce into the cooked pasta, reserving 1 cup for stirring in later if all the mac and cheese won’t be all eaten immediately. Serve hot.
Produce On Parade - Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese - I’ve made a lot of vegan mac and cheese. All kinds. If you can think it, I’ve probably made it: some good, some bad but this one is my absolute favorite. It also happens to be exceptionally easy. A staple in our house, I hope it will become one in your house as well. This vegan version is oil-free and oh so creamy and delicious.

ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

When Todd and I first decided to do an elimination diet to try to help alleviate his Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), gluten was the first thing to go. We wanted so badly for gluten to be a sort of scapegoat for his flare-ups. At the suggestion of a co-worker, we had high hopes that eliminating it would really help. However, the lack of gluten didn't make a different from him at all. Regardless, I am eternally grateful for that trial period. That's what really got us to look into diet and how it can affect RA.  What followed the gluten trial was the elimination of meat and dairy, two of the biggest dietary triggers for RA. Google "Rheumatoid Arthritis and diet" and that's what you'll find. Avoid meat and dairy. So, that's what we did. And boy did it help. Then, I discovered nutritionfacts.org and I cannot tell you how instrumental that website was to our vegan journey and still is! I researched eggs, as essentially that was the only animal product we were consuming at that time. I had no idea how inflammatory they were and we eliminated them from our diet immediately. Being completely vegan relieved his worst RA symptoms incredibly. We were both so surprised at how substantially diet impacted him, with regards to the arthritis.

I became very interested in a vegan diet due to the benefits that myself and especially Todd experienced, that I began to research nutrition and food every free minute I had. That's when I really discovered the horrors that are inflicted upon animals, the environment, and surprisingly our own bodies with implementation of an omnivorous diet. I was shocked. 

*Reader Discretion Advised - Strong Language and The Truth* What scares me the most is how our food animal friends come to be on our plates. I can't even really admit that I turned a blind eye to it all, I just simply didn't have all the facts. I suspect that's how most people go through their dietary life and that's very upsetting. The meat and dairy industries work tirelessly to hide their transgressions. Plus, don't you know how hipster bacon is you guys!? I'm not sure about you, but I (along with the rest of the world) yearn for fried, decaying pig carcass strips on EVERYTHING.

At least try to make the connection. Or, read this story on how dead piglets are ground up into a "smoothie" and fed to their mothers. If you still want bacon armed with that little piece of knowledge gold...that's f*cked up. That's a blind eye. Hey, sometimes even I have to get all serious and bitchy up in here.

People! That's really happening. That's not vegan propaganda. Pigs are held in such monstrously, horrible conditions because of our insane demand for bacon and pork, that this is now what has to be implemented to keep other pigs from getting sick. If that completely disgusts you gastronomically (and hopefully ethically), sign the petition at the bottom of this post. Great, now I ruined my day. 

Anyways, I bet you're asking what in the hell my angry little story has to do with these brownie bites. Well, they are made with coconut flour. Which is gluten free. Yes, we're back to the very top of the post now. I can hear my dad now, "Get to the point, Katie." I tend to feel the need to explain everything. You see, the fact that gluten never bothered Todd, means that we have an abundance of different gluten free flours and coconut flour is just one of them. I absolutely refuse to waste them! So, I decided to set out on a coconut flour brownie adventure! 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

I'm not even going to try and hide it, when I pulled these bad boys out of the oven and saw that they were all sunken...I was mighty sad. Then I thought...wait a minute...I just made strawberry jam a few days ago and these have bananas in them. Omg, I'm going to fill those sunken bits with jam! And the rest is brownie history. These super gooey brownie bites are made with coconut flour and no oil! Filled with your favorite jam, they delight! 

ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites 

Makes 11

Notes: These brownies are very gooey. That's just how coconut flour is, in my experience. 

  • Flax Egg:
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
  • Dry:
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Wet:
  • 2 ripe medium bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup cartoned plain coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 3 Tbsp. vegan chocolate chips
  • Topping:
  • jam, of choice (I used homemade strawberry - recipe below)

In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Allow to rest in fridge until ready to use. 

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, mash the sliced bananas very well with a fork. Add the remaining wet ingredients except the chocolate chips and stir until well combined. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Add the wet ingredients and the flax egg to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Coat a muffin pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly, until the cups are about 3/4 full. My batter resulted in 11 brownie bites. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Bake for 60 minutes at 375 F. Allow to rest in pan for 10 minutes after baking, then remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack to rest another 10 minutes. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Pour jam into the top of the brownie bites before serving. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Listening to: Ok Sweetheart – Traitor

German Word of The Day: Flour --> Mehl (pronounced: mell or meel) I didn't know that one!

Good Deed of The Day: I shouldn't have to convince you to head on over to Care2 and sign the petition to ask the USDA to stop feeding dead piglets to their mothers. It only takes 5 seconds and you'll see me there!LiRecipe Card

[yumprint-recipe id='106']See the post on the Strawberry Basil Jam/Sauce, here.Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Velvety, rich dark chocolate combined with salty peanut butter...and inside, surprise goodies of your own, personal choosing. What's better than that?

Produce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsProduce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

But  first, a lesson. It's a simple one. Don't set utensils by the burner! Easy enough, I know, but sometimes a reminder is necessary. This was mine. Out of the corner of my eye a tiny, dancing, red flame.

Wait, a flame?! ... and smoke...oh dear. It was caught soon enough, however, and put out by me frantically waving the spatula about as if I were Ron Weasley trying to cast a spell, with my burning spatula broken wand. A sharp, "eeek!"  And, "No sweetie, nothing's wrong. Don't come in here!"  And then it was all over.

Produce on Parade: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I am always putting things in "precarious" positions, as Todd would say. It's his most fervent pet peeve. He has this look, it's a "You have placed that (insert any random household item) in a very precarious position, Katie" sort of look. Think a dinner plate, delicately balancing on a sofa arm. A cup brimming with hot tea, teetering on the edge of the table. Gleaming knives, blade up in the drying rack. A bubbling pot on the stove, handle sticking out, ready to clothesline it's unassuming victim. You get the idea. It's part of my charm though, I am sure of it. Back to this look he has though, it is a very impressive and effective look...as far as looks go. Was my bamboo spatula worth it all? For these Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, absolutely. They are really very simple and quick, too, provided you aren't having to put out (and cover up) any small kitchen fires.

I love how adaptable these little cups of heaven are to each person's unique taste. Don't like dark chocolate? Use milk chocolate. Not a molasses fan (I love it's earthy profile)? Use honey or agave nectar, instead. Almond butter more your thing? Go for it, or use hazelnut, macadamia or cashew butter for that matter. The Kahula can be replaced with pretty much any extract or liqueur, and as for the add-ins, put in anything that makes you tickled pink! I used matcha powder and loose-leaf chai tea. Crystallized ginger, finely chopped nuts, cocoa nibs, smoked chipotle chili powder, jam, lavender or even wasabi would be delightful!

Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Makes 7 cups

  • 3 1/2 oz. dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses (or honey, agave nectar, etc.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. Hazelnut Kahlua (or vanilla extract, Bailey's Irish Cream, any other liqueur or extract)
  • generous sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt
  • optional fun add-ins (matcha, lavender, crystallized ginger, chopped nuts, jam, etc.)

[gallery type="square" ids="124,123,121"]

- A Note: This recipe makes about seven thinner cups (see image). The recipe can be doubled if a more robust cup is warranted. I think you'll find, however, these are so dark and scrumptious, that a thinner cup is all that is needed to satisfy!

Break up the chocolate in a small stovetop approved bowl. Place bowl over a small saucepan with just enough water so it doesn't quite touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring water below to a boil, then turn low so as to just keep a slight boil. Whisk chocolate intermittently to get rid of any clumps and to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.

While chocolate is melting, mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl except for any add-ins you wish to use. Stir with a spoon so everything is well combined and then continue for at least a few more minutes until the mix reaches a tacky consistency that can be formed into a small ball.

When the chocolate is melted and smooth, place a teaspoonful into base of cupcake liner. Tilt the liner around until the chocolate is covering the entire bottom. Next, form about a one and a half teaspoons of peanut butter mixture into a small ball and flatten slightly with fingers. Place in bottom of liner on top of chocolate, and cover with about one teaspoon more of chocolate. Sprinkle salt on top. Continue with remaining cups.

If using any add-ins, sprinkle them on top of the peanut butter ball in the liner and then when covered with chocolate, sprinkle more on top. That way you'll know which ones are which!

Place on a plate and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes. Keep stored in fridge and take pride in the fact that you never have buy those vastly inferior storebought cups again. Sit back, bite in, and revel in your snootiness.

Produce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Produce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Behold the beauty.