Recipe: Weeknight Cheddar Style Mac & Cheez

Making plant-based macaroni and cheese is usually a labor of love. Most recipes will have you soaking cashews, peeling potatoes, and pureeing a bunch of vegetables. But fear not! This simple and delicious mac & cheez can be prepared in 15 minutes or less – and there’s no prep required!

This genesis of this recipe is finding the perfect gluten-free pasta shape for mac & cheese. I was at Meijer and stumbled upon pinwheel-shaped Banza. For those of you who’ve never tried it, Banza is my favorite brand of gluten-free pasta. It’s made of primarily chickpeas and pea protein, so it contains much more protein per serving than most rice- and corn-based varieties. As a bonus, you can typically find Banza for $3-4 a box, which is very cheap by gluten-free standards.

Anyway, until this Meijer trip, I’ve never seen the pinwheel shape and once I did I knew it was destined for one thing: a fun macaroni & cheese. My only slight hesitation was I’d never attempted a plant-based mac & cheez before. I looked at recipes, but they required many more ingredients and much more time than I really wanted to invest.

But then, another shopping trip gave me the answer I was searching for. Enter The Honest Stand‘s Cheddar Style Dip, a blend of cashews, potatoes, carrots, onions, and seasonings. It seemed like the perfect sauce vehicle for a quick and easy recipe.

It turns out, I was right. In 15 minutes, I was able to make a creamy and flavorful mac & cheez that reminded me of my childhood. And I certainly ate a lot of it then. (In fact, Kraft mac and cheese was the first thing I learned how to make on my own.)

Although I really enjoyed the flavor of the cheddar style one, I might try one of The Honest Stand’s other dips next time around. They have a garlic parm style that seems equally as delicious for a cheezy pasta sauce.

I hope you like this easy weeknight recipe as much I as do!

My lunch the next day!

Ingredients: 

6 oz Banza pinwheel pasta (or gluten-free pasta of your choice)

1/2 cup Cheddar Style Dip

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tsp garlic granules

Directions: 

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water to the package directions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain MOST of the starchy water, but reserve enough that the pasta is still halfway covered.

Add the cheddar style dip, paprika, and garlic granules. Cook on low heat, stirring until the sauce comes to a bubble and reaches your desired creaminess. Serve immediately.

Makes two bowls.

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