The Best Gluten Free Vegan Mac and Cheese (seriously)

I have been making vegan mac and cheese for years now and I’ve tried dozens of recipes of all sorts and made any number of variations on these recipes but this recipe was the one to blow me away. I was not alone either as everyone else that tried this batch agreed it was the best I’ve done so far. I don’t think I need to change a thing. Finally!

This recipe specifies Gluten Free pasta because that’s what I make, however, this sauce will work over any type or shape of pasta.

Ingredients (all vegan and organic if possible)

1 1/2 cups of plain soy milk
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/3 cup of gluten free soy sauce
1 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/4 of a block of firm or extra firm tofu
1/2 cup of Canola oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of good Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon)

1 to 2 lbs of cooked Gluten Free pasta (I quite like the Field Day Organic Brown Rice Fusilli)

Combine the first 10 ingredients that makes up the “cheese” sauce in a food processor and pulse to mix and then just turn it on to blend and leave it running. Slowly add the 1/2 cup Canola oil in a stream to the running processor and when its all added then slowly add the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a stream to the sauce. Let the processor run another minute or 2. Stop and then add the 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, blend in the processor another minute or 2. Stop and scrape the sides and mix to ensures everything is blended in and run the processor for another minute. Stop and taste. Adjust if necessary.

Pour the sauce from the food processor into a saucepan on the stove top on Medium heat. Constantly stir the sauce over Medium heat or it will easily scorch and burn if left unattended. Stir the sauce until its almost bubbling and turn to Low heat and continue stirring another 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Turn off heat and then pour about half of the sauce over a pot of cooked gluten free pasta and stir to coat. If it needs a little more, add a little more and stir. I typically have some left over and this will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a quick meal in the next week or 2.

Enjoy!

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Roasted Root Vegetables with Rosemary

This is a family favorite I often do for Thanksgiving or anytime in the fall. I’ve added and removed things to the formula over the years and I think I have it down to something everyone (including me) is happy with. The first time I ran across a similar recipe, it called for Cipollini Onions which I’d never used before. I got lucky that year and found them at The Anderson’s General Store in Dublin, OH. In the years since, I have a tough time locating these around Thanksgiving and given my proclivity for procrastination I’ve learned that pearl onions are a decent substitute. I wouldn’t try this with other onion varieties, yellow, red or even shallots…if you can’t find Cipollini or Pearl then don’t bother.

The roasting pan also makes a difference, the vegetables have to be done in a very shallow pan or sheet tray to caramelize properly. I once tried to make a larger than normal batch one year (because everyone likes it so much and there typically aren’t any leftovers) and I made them in a deep roasting pan and they didn’t roast, the pan held in too much moisture and I ended up with some interesting mashed vegetables instead. Edible, but not what we all wanted. I have a heavy stove-top griddle that was designed to fit over 2 burners that I used to use for pancakes (switched to an electric non-stick griddle) that is perfect for the vegetables, it has 2 sturdy handles that allows me to scrape and turn the vegetables as they roast. You can use a heavy sheet pan too, it’s just a little trickier.

Recipe:
This batch makes about 15-20 side dish sized servings. I am guessing at most of this and your results may vary.
Note: I try to use organic ingredients whenever possible.

The vegetables:
2 large sweet potatoes
2 large turnips
2 to 3 parsnips
2 to 3 beets
6 carrots
1 pkg Cipollini or Pearl onions
1 whole head of garlic

Wash/scrub the first 5 vegetables, I don’t peel anything. Then cut each into 2 to 3 inch sized chunks and place in a large bowl.

The Cipollini or Pearl onions have a paper thin skin that I peeled manually the first year…it was maddening. I’ve since learned you can trim the root ends of the onions, drop them in a pot of boiling water for a minute to blanch, then drain and pour into a large bowl of ice cubes and cold water. Once the onions are cool the paper skins slip right off. Then place the peeled onions in the same large bowl as the other vegetables.

Break up the head of garlic, you’ll need to select the larger cloves and peel, no easy method to this other than the flat side of a knife and lightly crush each clove, the skin should come off fairly easily. Once you have all the garlic cloves peeled, place in the large bowl with the vegetables and onions. By the way…I like garlic, my family likes garlic…a lot of it. if you don’t, you may want to cut back on this. 1 whole head sounds like a lot but when the garlic is roasted and caramelized it mellows out and is not at all overpowering.

In the large mixing bowl with vegetables, onions and garlic pour approximately 1 Cup of Extra virgin Olive oil (again, I’m guessing) and toss to coat everything. Use a little more if it doesn’t coat, it’s fine to have extra but you don’t want too little.

Next add about 2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt (can substitute if you no Kosher), about 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper and then 3 to 4 Tablespoons of dried rosemary leaves. Then toss everything together in the mixing bowl and set aside. The salt will start to pull out some moisture from the vegetables and re-hydrate the rosemary leaves, turn the oven to 375 degrees and mix the vegetables occasionally until the oven is ready.

Once the oven is at 375 degrees, pour the vegetables out onto your roasting pans or sheet trays and spread out so there is one layer of the veggies. The amount this recipe makes gives me enough for the griddle and one sheet tray pan. I then place in the oven, one on each rack. During the roasting process, you may have to swap the trays to the opposite rack (at least I do). You should start watching them closely after about 10 to 15 minutes, as the mixture starts to roast and caramelize, I use a metal spatula to scrape them and turn over to the non-roasted sides. Once all the vegetables are evenly roasted in both pans (if you’re using 2) then pull the trays out and set on a clear counter or stove-top. I then start sprinkling Balsamic Vinegar over the vegetables. Since the veggies and the pans are hot, this is going to cause the vinegar to steam and if you’re too close you’re going to get a lungful and cough…just be careful. Use the same metal spatula to mix the veggies and balsamic vinegar. I’ve never measured the vinegar, I’ve always just done it by sight and stopped when there was enough but for this amount I’d imagine you would not need any more than 1/4 Cup of Balsamic vinegar for all the veggies (adjust if you’re using more or less veggies).

You can then move the whole mixture to a servings platter and make sure you scrape all the caramelized goodness from the bottom of the pans.

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Gluten Free Pizza Crust

This recipe came after a LOT of experimentation, failed attempts, successful attempts and many taste testings. This version works out well enough that my non-Celiac daughters love it as much as the one with Celiac Disease.

Ingredients:
Wet
1 1/3 C Non-Dairy Milk* warm (100 Degrees)
1 T Sugar or Honey
2 T Yeast
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar**

Dry
1 C Brown Rice Flour
1/4 C Garbanzo Bean Flour
1/4 C Millet Flour
1 C Tapioca Flour
2 t Xanthan Gum

1 T Flax Meal
1/4 C Coarse Corn Meal
1 T Herbs***
1 t Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the warm milk*, sugar and yeast in a large enough bowl to allow the yeast to “bloom” and expand. Meanwhile, mix the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in the last 4 dry ingredients one at a time, whishinkg in well to distribute evenly. Set the bowl aside.
The milk*, sugar and yeast mixture should have “bloomed” and foamed up. Give the mixture a quick stir and then add in the other wet ingredients, the Olive Oil and Vinegar and give it another couple quick stirs, just enough to mix but not too much as to loose all the “bloom”.

Now, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. I tend to use a rubber spatula at this point to help mix as the dough that gets created is more like a batter in consistency. Once everything is evenly mixed I leave the bowl in a warm place, covered by a towel (like the top of the preheating stove).

The pan you use can vary but what has worked best for me is a well seasoned 3/4 sheet pan. My pan is seasoned enough that I don’t need to oil it beforehand. You can use any pan you prefer, but DO NOT try and use a pizza stone. Any sheet pan you use, if not seasoned, should be oiled/greased first to prevent sticking.

Use the rubber spatula and spread the pizza dough onto the sheet pan. If the spatula begins to stick to the dough a little, dip it in some olive oil and then spread the dough to fit in the pan. The 3/4 pan size I use allows me to spread the dough to the edges, keeping the dough fairly thin, this is ok as the dough will rise or puff again in the oven.

Place the pan with dough in the 400 degree oven for approx. 5 t0 10 min. (I check on it once) just to allow the dough to rise a little and precook. Take the pan with dough out and top dough with sauce, cheese and toppings of choice and place back into the oven for approx. 10 min. or until the cheese has melted and the edges just begin to get golden to dark brown.

* I prefer Almond Milk but you can use any kind.

** I use Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

*** This can vary in amounts, I’ve used less and more. I typically use a combination of what I have on hand like Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary.

Also, I was asked about using Skim Milk in place of the non-daily milk. I think anything would work for the liquid, Cow milk, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, etc… I never buy cow milk so I’ve never tried it but I’m sure it would work.

I think that even water would work in a pinch but I find that the yeast blooms really nice in the Almond Milk and adds a richness to the dough that you wouldn’t get with water.

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I use my bread machine* to make the dough for this, in the time the dough is being made I can make the Gluten Free Pizza dough for Peyton so that works out. All bread machines have a dough setting, mine runs for 1:30 and based on the manufacturer suggestions, I add in the wet ingredients follwed by the dry and then adding the yeast last, check your manual for specifics on yours.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C Water (warmed to 100 degrees)
1 T Honey**
1 t Salt
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 C Organic, Unbleached, Unbromated White Wheat Flour
2 C Organic Whole Wheat Flour***

1 T Yeast

Coarse Corn meal to use to sprinkle on the pan or pizza paddle to get the dough on and off but I also like the added crunch for texture.

Heat the oven up to 400 degrees (if you’re making the GF dough at the same time, this maybe done) If you have a pizza stone, I highly recommend using it for the WW crust but NOT the GF crust. Place the stone in the oven now in order to heat up and be ready to use.

What I do is heat the water up on the stovetop first to approx. 100 degrees, then measure out the 1 1/2 cups right into the bread machine. Then add the honey, salt and oil.

In a separate bowl, sift and measure out the 2 cups of white flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour and mix together with a whisk and then add into the bread maker. Make a small well in the center of the flour in the bread machine and add the yeast, close the lid and turn it on.

I will watch the dough during the knead cycle, if it looks too wet I can sprinkle in a little flour or if it looks too dry I can add in a few drops of warm water at a time until it looks right. These instructions are mostly for me though as I bake like I cook and I am not always precise with measurements.

Once the cycle is done, you should have an nice smooth ball of the WW dough ready to use. You can decide on how you want to break this up. This recipe typically yields me about 4 “individual” size pizzas, roughly a little larger than a dinner plate. This allows me and 3 of my daughters to personalize each pizza. You can split the dough to 2 or 3 larger crusts if you like, I have done this for time as making 4 individual pizza’s take a little time.

My thick crust method is using the dough right out of the machine. I cut it into 4 even sized pieces and start with the first piece, I roll the dough out onto a reusable cutting board sheets (I buy them in a 4 pack for $1) to the size I want, then sprinkle the corn meal onto a cookie sheet or a pizza paddle then turn the cutting board sheet upside down onto the pan with corn meal and peel it off the dough. This alleviates the dough sticking to anything and it’s quicker. Then I add the sauce, cheese and toppings of choice and place in the oven (with or without pizza stone) for approx. 5 to 10 minutes.

My thin crust method is taking the dough out of the machine and then onto a floured surface and I will knead for another 5 min, then place the dough in a bowl for approx. 10 min. I will cover the bowl with a towel and in a warm place like the stovetop. Then, remove the dough, knead on a floured surface for another 5 min. and then cut it into 4 even sized pieces and start with the first piece. The rest of the directions are like the thick crust instructions above. The kneading and second rising gives you a thinner crust, if that’s what you like.

* You don’t HAVE to use a bread machine for this recipe I do just for the convenience.

** Sugar can be substituted for this but I like the flavor of the honey with whole wheat.

*** I have made dough utilizing varying proportions of whole wheat flour, this is what works best for me. I have made 100% WW dough but it just does not raise enough. The mix of the white and whole wheat makes a dough that rises nicely and I have found a white flour that I can live with. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic 100% whole wheat Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Organic Hard White Wheat Flour.

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Creamy Vegan Pasta Sauce (formerly vegan alfredo sauce)

I came up with the idea to create this recipe after successfully making Vegan Mac and Cheese for my daughters and I a number of times (I’ll post that recipe another day) and I wondered if Alfredo could also be made vegan?

I played around with a number of different vegan alternatives to make the Alfredo style sauce with results that were just, well…ok. What I came up with ended up not mimicking real Alfredo but with the addition of the walnuts made for a very savory and tasty sauce to go over whole wheat or gluten free pasta.

 

Ingredients:

4 cloves garlic (peeled, chopped)
extra virgin olive oil
vegan non dairy spread (I use Earth Balance)
1 T Paprika

 

1 C non Dairy Milk (I have used Soy and Hemp or any neutral flavored variety with high fat content)
1/2 block of Silken/Soft Tofu
1 T Onion Powder
1 C Nutritional Yeast (I used Red Star)
1 C Raw Organic Walnuts

 

1 C Chopped Organic Fresh Parsley (reserve 1/2 C for garnish)
Fresh Grated Nutmeg
Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

 

Heat a saute pan, add olive oil and then garlic, brown garlic and then add 2 T of non-dairy butter and 1 T paprika. The garlic and butter should take on golden reddish color.

In a food processor add in the non-dairy milk, tofu, onion powder, nutritional yeast and then pulse to mix and then let it run for a few minutes to blend. Add in the walnuts and blend for another minute.

Add the mixture from the processor into the pan with garlic and using a whisk, bend together over medium heat. The sauce will begin to thicken, but if it’s already too thick thin it out with some of the non-dairy milk or vegetable broth.

Once the sauce has cooked and is to desired consistency, add in the 1/2 C parsley, grate in some fresh nutmeg and then season with salt and pepper to taste. This sauce (much like real Alfredo) works well when you heat the sauce up in a pan and then toss the pasta in to coat and heat.

OK, I’ve tested this recipe out a couple times now and am quite pleased with this version. It’s NOT going to fool anyone that it’s real Alfredo but I think it tastes good enough on it’s own without trying too hard to be exactly like the real thing. Even my skeptical youngest daughter liked this version.

Your mileage may vary…

 

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Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

High protein and high fiber. I came up with this recipe years ago for when my daughters had a very long (and early) drive to school when I was living quite a distance from their school. I wanted something with high protein and high fiber to fill them up but make them tasty and but less expensive than the Clif Bars that they all liked.

On an episode of “Good Eats” on the Food Network, Alton Brown had a recipe for something similar that was to replace the “energy bars” you find in stores that often are nothing more than glorified candy bars. I used his idea of the dried fruit but I made it gluten free and higher in fiber and protein. You can change the types of dried fruit and add in whatever you like, I listed the 4 I commonly used for flavor and nutrition.

Dry Mix:

1 C Soy protein powder (I use the whole soy protein powder from Trader Joes)
3/4 C Ground whole flax seed
1 C of All Purpose GF flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill or homemade)
2 T Cinnamon
1/2 t salt

Dried Fruit, coarsely chop and mix together:

1/2 C Raisins
1/2 C Blueberries
1/2 C Cranberries
1/2 C Apricots

Wet Mix:

1 Package of silken Tofu (organic)
1/2 C Unfiltered Apple juice or Cider
1/4 C Sucanat or Organic Sugar (Honey would work too and help keep it moist)
3 Eggs
2/3 C Peanut Butter (I use Crunchy for the texture)

Canola oil, for pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 13×9 pan with canola oil. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Dry Mix. Set aside.

Coarsely chop the Dried Fruit Mix, place in a small bowl and set aside.

In a third mixing bowl, whisk the tofu until smooth while adding apple juice/cider. sugar, eggs, and then peanut butter, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition.

Add this to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the dried fruit. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Gluten Free Waffles

Gluten Free Waffles

For my first recipe to post, I wanted something that was vegetarian, gluten free and for breakfast. Big breakfasts were always a favorite growing up, and breakfast foods were some of the first things I learned how to cook as a kid. Cooking for my daughters later in life, I also imparted the love of the big breakfasts to them as well. Pancakes and waffles were always favorites of theirs but after my daughter Peyton was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, breakfast became quite laborious, as I made a batch of gluten free pancakes or waffles and then a batch of whole wheat pancakes or waffles. After time and many many weekends of trial and error experimentation, I came up with a gluten free waffle that all the kids (and myself) loved and I only had to make 1 batch!

The recipe below works well in your standard waffle maker and in the thicker Belgian style waffle makers. You can also add chocolate chips or your favorite fruit like blueberries. They’re great with just warm maple syrup or fruit preserves over top, they keep well in the fridge for a few days and can be warmed up in the toaster (never the microwave!).

Wet Ingredients

5 eggs – separated
1/2 C oil (typically I use canola)
1/2 C non-dairy milk unsweetened (I use almond, but can use soy, hemp or rice)
1/2 C honey
1 T vanilla

Separate the eggs, leave all the whites in a separate bowl for later.

Whisk together the egg yolks, oil, milk, honey and vanilla until frothy. Set bowl aside.

Dry Ingredients

1 1/2 C GF All Purpose flour mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 C Oat Flour (I buy GF rolled oats and grind what I need)
1/2 C Teff Flour
1/4 C Coarse Grind Corn Meal
1/4 C Flax Meal (I buy whole seed and grind my own)
1 T Cinnamon
2 t salt
2 t Baking Powder
2 t Baking Soda

Mix all the dry ingredients until well blended. Set bowl aside.

Take the bowl of egg whites and mix with beaters until whites are stiff peaks.

Pour the egg yolk mixture into ingredients and gently blend until dry mix is wet. DO NOT OVERMIX or you’ll end up with tough waffles. (sometimes need to add a little more milk if its too dry).

Once mixture is wet, take and fold in the egg whites also being careful not to overmix or you’ll lose the airy consistency of the egg whites. You’ll have pieces of the egg white in the mix, it’s ok.

Follow the instructions of your waffle maker, make the waffles…fight back hungry kids and most of all ENJOY!

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