Velvety, healthy, and comforting, this oil-free Vegan Chiles Rellenos Mac and Cheese is a fun and flavorful twist on an American classic.
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 2 – [ 4 oz. cans ] chopped mild green chiles *
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ + 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder *
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- 12 to 16 oz. elbow pasta *
- 1 – [ 15 oz. can ] black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 – [ 15 oz. can ] corn, drained
- 1 cup crushed corn tortillas/tortilla chips (6 – 6in tortillas)*
Other Topping Ingredients:
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (or broil). See notes
- Fill a large stock pot full of water. Add some sea salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil then add the elbow macaroni. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Boil the pasta until el dente, drain, shake well, set aside.
- Place the raw cashews into a small bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain off the water and set aside until ready to use in Step 6.
- Place all the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- Place all the diced onions and jalapeno peppers into an enamel-lined or similar non-stick skillet *. Sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 9 minutes until the onions and jalapeno pepper are tender. Add a splash of water if the veggies start to stick and/or to prevent burning.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add all the remaining Skillet Ingredients and the Spice/Herb Mix. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Add the soaked raw cashews and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the skillet from the burner and allow to slightly cool, then place the skillet mixture into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and emulsified. Then place the mixture back into the skillet.
- Add the corn, black beans, and cooked elbow macaroni. Mix well. Simmer for a few minutes until heated through. Remove from heat.
- Place crisp corn tortillas into a plastic bag and crush them. Sprinkle the crushed tortillas over top of the macaroni and cheese skillet.
- Broil for 2 to 4 minutes until the crushed tortillas are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, allow to set for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro.
*Tips for Success:
- Sauciness: You can control the sauce to macaroni ratio by simply using less macaroni if you want a little more sauciness. We used approximately 12 oz. of elbow macaroni. If you decide to not add the corn or black beans, you can use 16 oz. It will appear very saucy at first (using 12 oz.); however, the pasta really drinks up the sauce.
- Cooked Macaroni: Shake off any excess water and allow to drain for a few minutes, then shake the pasta again before adding to the bowl. Elbow macaroni really tends to hold onto water inside the little tubes of pasta and you want to get as much of that out as possible. Any lingering water that hangs onto the pasta will water down your sauce.
- Oven Proof Skillet: We used a deep oven proof skillet. If you do not have an oven proof skillet, then transfer to a casserole dish when placing in the oven.
- Corn Tortillas/Tortilla Chips: Use your favorite corn tortilla chips. If you need to make corn tortilla chips, you can use your favorite compliant corn tortilla (or any other WFPB compliant flour tortilla, like almond flour, cashew flour (etc.). We cut the tortillas into 6ths (triangles), place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, then bake them in a 350 F oven for approximately 6 to 10 minutes, flip them over about half-way through, bake until golden brown and crisp. The baking time is largely dependent upon the flour tortilla used. Once cooled, place them in a plastic bag and crush by hand or use a rolling pin to crush them up. Note: If you don’t have the corn tortillas already baked and ready to go, do this prior to Step 1.
- Green Chiles and Chili Powder: Make sure to get a can of mild chopped green chiles, and that the chili powder used is on the milder side.
- Jalapeno Peppers: We have found that the jalapeno peppers that we purchase from our local grocery stores are on the mild side (very little heat). If concerned about the heat from a jalapeno pepper, slice off a tiny piece and taste it to determine if it is hot or not. You can leave it out, but we loved the extra dimension flavor profile coming from the jalapeño peppers.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly processed ingredients.
*Cashews Substitutes: You can try the typical cashew substitutions, white beans, silken tofu, other nut and seeds with the understanding that the flavor and texture will change accordingly. We have not tried any substitutions.
*Chili Powder: We used Penzeys Regular Chili Powder. Chili powders come in a variety of flavors and heat ranges, feel free to use your favorite chili powder; however, make sure the chili powder is on the milder side.
*Elbow Macaroni: Feel free to use your favorite elbow macaroni or pasta of choice.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Storage: Use within 5 days.