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Creamy, flavorful pasta that will satisfy as only macaroni and cheese can, but without the dairy. Tomatoes and green chilies in a cashew cream sauce bring all the bold flavor to this delicious, vegan casserole.
Just let me count the ways that I love this recipe! I have made this a few times now, and it is has become such a favorite. I have worked to make vegan versions of my favorite dishes, especially a couple old casserole favorites. My Creamy Poblano Macaroni Bake was such a recipe. And with the basic technique of using raw cashews and a couple other staple ingredients, I have learned that the dairy-free possibilities are endless.
So a couple weeks ago, with my recipe for Slow Cooker Quinoa Tamale Casserole, I gushed about RO*TEL and how this simple pantry staple saves me time and time again for easy weeknight meals. I worked with RO*TEL then and I am here again as part of a campaign to keep the fiesta fun going in the kitchen all for the month of May. I’m so down with that, are you?? So, be sure to check out the social hub (link below) for fantastic recipe ideas with RO*TEL. New ideas and recipes are being posted daily. 👍
OK, so what did I do here …really really, this is easy easy. Raw cashews, soaked in water and blended, make the base for this creamy, dairy-free sauce. Very similar to my Basic Cashew Ricotta. Then we just blend that up with some sautéed onions and garlic in a quick roux with vegetable stock. Stir in the RO*TEL, juice and all, and the sauce is done! Other than that, we proceed as if this was traditional macaroni and cheese: add in the al dente macaroni pasta, top with some crunch, and bake until heated through. Really easy recipe and you are rewarded with a soulful, creamy dish with just enough zest for it to be deliciously interesting, but not overly spicy. Use MILD not Original RO*TEL for this one. The zip will be plenty enough. 👌
So that’s it folks! Dairy-free, vegan comfort food with all the zest and bold flavor you want in fiesta food. PIN to save, and give this one a try, and of course let me know! Hearing from you is why I’m here.
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 7 oz raw cashews, soaked in water overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- juice of a lemon
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- couple pinches fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 Tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), divided
- 1/2 large white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 cans Mild RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- Cook the pasta just to al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the butter, onion, and garlic. Saute until barely golden and fragrant. Add the flour and cook briefly. Add the vegetable stock and cook a minute to scrape up any bits from the pan with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a food processor, add the cashews. Process until broken down and starting to get creamy. Add the Dijon, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and almond milk, and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the onion-veggie stock mixture, and process again until very smooth.
- Drain the macaroni and put back in the pot. Add the RO*TEL to the cashew cream sauce and stir. Add the RO*TEL mixture to the pasta and transfer all to a 13x9 bake dish.
- Combine the panko breadcrumbs and olive oil. Top the casserole with the panko mixture. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until nice and hot. Yields: 6 servings as a main course; 8 servings as a side.
To find more fiesta inspiration and recipe ideas, visit HERE. And leave me a comment! What is your easy, go-to recipe using RO*TEL? C’mon, we’ve all got them. 😉