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Just because it is vegan, doesn't mean it isn't comfort food.

Tabitha Brown

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Credit: Greg DuPree, Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

active:
25 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
8
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There is one dish that any born-and-bred Southerner can't live without. It graces our tables at potlucks, barbecues, and even Thanksgiving dinner. That's right: We're talking about gooey, decadent macaroni and cheese. Every family has their own way of making this Southern staple (we've published countless recipes for mac and cheese). Some top their mac with a crown of breadcrumbs and herbs; others stuff it with creative additions like Cajun seasoning or ham. When it comes to mac and cheese, we thought we'd seen it all, but believe us when we tell you that Tabitha Brown's version is unlike any other.

North Carolina native Tabitha Brown went vegan in 2017. Since then, she's found plenty of creative ways to reinvent some of her favorite Southern dishes to fit her plant-based lifestyle. One of her favorites? Vegan mac and cheese. "This is good comfort food," Brown explains.

"My granny made it, my mom made it, and when I went vegan, I still had to have it in my life."

Brown's vegan mac and cheese features ingredients like butternut squash, shredded vegan cheese, dairy-free yogurt, and—the secret ingredient to achieving that crave-worthy cheesiness—nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is inactive yeast that is used as a seasoning for its cheesy, slightly nutty flavor. It's available at Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, and many health food stores, but you can also omit it from the recipe with good results.

Whether you're vegan, dairy-free, or simply want to try something new, this vegan mac will satisfy all your down-home comfort cravings.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375°F with rack 6 inches from heat source. Place squash and potato in a large stockpot, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Add garlic-herb seasoning blend and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook, undisturbed, until squash and potato are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; transfer to a blender. Add ½ cup of the broth. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

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  • While squash and potato cook, bring a separate large stockpot of salted water to a boil over high. Add pasta; cook according to package directions. Drain, and set pasta aside.

  • Melt dairy-free butter in a large broiler-safe, ovenproof skillet over medium-low. Add blended squash mixture, dairy-free yogurt, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. Stir until smooth and combined. Add vegan mozzarella and 1 cup of the vegan Cheddar. Cook, stirring constantly, until cheeses melt and mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stir in pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ cup broth. Add drained pasta; stir together until evenly coated. Sprinkle pasta mixture with remaining 1 cup vegan Cheddar; sprinkle with paprika, if using.

  • Cover skillet with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated oven 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil, and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling around edges, about 3 minutes.

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