Mac and Cheese and I had a tenuous relationship growing up. When I was about 5 a babysitter served me boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner. Later that night I got sick and from that point on I could not stand mac and cheese. I wouldn’t go anywhere near it for 15+ years. That included telling people I babysat for that I was happy to make their children dinner, but never macaroni and cheese. Fast forward to college where one of my close friend’s Mom made us homemade, baked macaroni and cheese and I saw the light. Turns out I love baked macaroni and cheese. When I went vegan I was actually concerned about missing mac and cheese…ah the irony. Fortunately I have a few recipes for vegan macaroni and cheese that I love. Recently I made a Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese. Spiced with green chilis, cheesy sauce and crunchy tortilla chips this is a fantastic variation.
I used canned chilis and the Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s. Obviously if you make your own green chilis or green chili sauce feel free to use that in its place. My best friend’s husband is from New Mexico and I know his homemade green chili sauce would taste incredible here. Make sure you are using a green chili sauce and not salsa verde. Salsa verde is usually made with tomatillos and does not have the flavor of green chilis. If you can’t find green chili sauce just add an extra can of diced chilis. The canned chilis come in mild or medium so choose which spice level your family will enjoy.
You can vary the amount of green chili sauce and diced green chilis depending on how much green chili flavor you like. Originally I used a 4 oz can of diced green chilis with 1/4 cup of green chili sauce. In my second batch I used a 7 oz can of diced green chilis and 1/2 cup of green chili sauce. Trey didn’t love the extra green chili chunks in the second batch, so next time I will use a 4oz can of diced chilis and 1/2 cup of sauce.
For the topping I originally combined Daiya cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Unfortunately this created a strange texture. In my second batch I just topped the vegan green chili mac and cheese with crushed tortilla chips. I lightly sprayed them with canola oil. This was much more successful. You could use a traditional bread crumb topping here, but the flavor of corn tortilla chips with the green chili works really well.
Any foods you hated as a child that you love now?
- 1 lb macaroni, cooked
- ½ cup Raw Cashews
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1.5 teaspoons Salt
- ½ teaspoon Onion Granules
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Granules
- ¼ - ½ cup Hatch Valley Salsa or Green Chili Sauce (depending on spice preference)
- 4oz - 7 oz can Mild Green Chilis, diced (depending on spice preference)
- 2 cups crushed Tortilla Chips
- Canola Oil Spray
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 9x12 pan lightly with oil. Set aside.
- Add cashews, water, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, salt, onion granules, and garlic granules to a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add mixture from the blender into a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk sauce continuously until it becomes thick. This normally takes 5-7 minutes.
- Once sauce is thickened stir in the green chili sauce and diced chilis.
- Stir the thickened sauce with pasta until combined. Pour mixture into the greased pan.
- Top with crushed tortilla chips. Lightly spray with canola oil.
- Place uncovered pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm.