Mmmmm, mac n cheese. The creme de la creme of a boy who grow up with southern comfort food. If you ordered barbecue and had to choose between potato salad, mac n cheese, and collard greens, I’m willing to bet that you’d swiftly decide on mac n cheese. Who can argue with tender pasta drenched in warm, gooey sauce?
Fortunately, making a vegan, lectin-limited rendition of macaroni and cheese doesn’t get easier than this. It’s as simple as boiling pasta, shaking up a few ingredients together, bringing that mixture to a boil, and mixing it with pasta. Wha-Bam! You could make this while stoned at 12:30 in the morning with no problems – I promise.
I took a nod from Minimalist Baker – as I so often do – and used arrowroot starch to thicken this gooey sauce instead of implementing vegetable puree (such as sweet potato puree) or nut cream (like cashew cream). Arrowroot starch has the magic ability of creating a stringy like consistency when it’s heated, which is perfect for creating copy cat cheese sauces.
If you’ve ever been curious as to how a tablespoon of starch thickens a cup of liquid into a thick sauce in a matter of minutes, then I’d be pleased to share with you starch’s secret. Essentially, starch granules are packed with potential energy and once they reach boiling point in a liquid, they explode with kinetic energy; every starch granule is like a dense ball – floating around in suspended animation – but when it reaches a certain temperature, it springs out like a slinky, each starch molecule expanding to drastic proportions. Until that potential energy is converted into kinetic energy via heat, however, the liquid it’s in will remain thin, as the molecules have yet to expand. I like to think of starch as the Jesus food, turning 1 fish into thousands, only on a microscopic scale.
As you may know, I keep white rice and white rice products around in my diet and eat them on a semi-daily basis. The simple carbohydrates in white rice can easily be converted into resistant starches by cooking it with coconut oil, refrigerating it for 8 hours, then re-heating it (more on that here), but white rice products like this pasta, aren’t so easily converted because cooling and re-heating pastas lends a more fragile texture. Never the less, white rice pasta is free from lectins as the lectins are only contained within the hull and bran of the grain, not the germ, which is the white part. So, despite it lightly raising blood sugar levels at the time of eating, its impact on my health is minor enough that I feel no need to restrict it from my diet.
If you have diabetes or another autoimmune disorder, however, then it may not be the best idea to eat white rice pasta. However, for most of us, white rice – and pasta and flours made from it – can be a benevolent additive to our diet.
Plus, having white rice around is so. freaking. fun. The addition of this one little grain gives us culinarians access to pasta dishes like this one or Pad Thai, a light flour that mimics pastry flour in baking, and the ability to whip up fried rice.
Any who, if you’re down with white rice pasta, then this dish is easy, lectin-free, vegan and gluten-free gold… literally, just look at the color! Satisfy for your inner-child’s cravings for indulgent, cheesy, warm pasta in a matter of 30 minutes.
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Go Forth & Devour,
Ryan & Kim
1-Pot Vegan Mac n' Cheese (lectin-free & gluten-free)
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package’s instructions. For us that means cooking pasta in boiling water ’til al dente; 9-12 minutes.
- Drain pasta and thoroughly rinse with cold water to halt the cooking.
- While pasta cooks, vigorously shake or blend together coconut cream, water, arrowroot, mustard, vinegar, onion powder, salt, and turmeric until no clumps of starch remain.
- Add coconut mixture to the pot your pasta was cooked in and place over medium-high heat. Slowly stir/whisk in all of the nutritional yeast until mixture comes to a boil.
- As soon as a boil is reached drop the heat to medium-low, add in butter flavored coconut oil & pasta, and gently stir for about 5 minutes or until pasta is thoroughly heated and coated in sauce.
- Remove from heat, serve, and top with plenty of vegan parmesan. Best enjoyed while fresh, although leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a small pot over medium with a touch of water or coconut milk until warm; about 7 minutes.
*White rice elbows can be difficult to find in typical stores, so I advise to check an Asian market for it – which is where we got ours – or purchase it online. However, an Asian market is likely your cheapest & most reliable bet.
*If you don’t have heavy coconut cream on hand, then use 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk and reduce the water down to 3/4 of a cup.
*If you don’t have butter flavored coconut oil, substitute it for extra virgin olive oil. The final dish won’t be as rich, but the olive oil will still add silkiness and flavor.