A twist on an old favourite. These Vegan Mac and Cheese bites are perfect for after school snacking or packed lunches and are incredibly quick & easy to make!
These Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites have been in the works since April. Yes April! I made them and photographed them then realized there was a problem. I had envisioned these tasty little bites as the perfect after school snack or packed lunch addition but the recipe I created contained nuts. It didn't even cross my mind at the time of creation, but as I was about to type the recipe up I suddenly realized that a lot of schools are now nut free environments. As these Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites are dairy-free, and can also be gluten-free, it made total sense for them to be nut-free too so they are totally allergen friendly.
My Vegan Carbonara with Smoky Carrot Rashers and my Easy Homemade Vegan Butter were the reason I decided to use the nuts. Both of these recipes utilize ground almonds to give a creamy, buttery flavour. I instinctively used that idea when creating my Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites and the results were great, but when I realized my faux pas with regards to nut allergies, I had to reinvent the recipe to exclude the almonds.
As I am the only one in the house who likes mac and cheese, I couldn't trial them repeatedly until I got it right like I usually do. I had to space my attempts out and that is why they have taken so long to materialize here.
Mac and Cheese is such a family favourite. It was one of my very favourite guilty pleasures before I gave up dairy. These Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites are a twist on traditional versions. They are baked in muffin tins to create adorable little handheld treats which are perfect for snacking and packed lunches.
These Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites are incredibly easy to make. You don't even have to make a sauce in the traditional way. Like my Garlic Pineapple Sauce it's just a case of throwing everything into a blender and blending until smooth. Then you stir it through some cooked macaroni, spoon into muffin tins and bake. So simple!
When the Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the tins. My favourite way to eat them is cold with generous amounts of tomato ketchup!
Of course you can eat them warm if you prefer, but don't expect them to stay together too well. They only firm up and glue together once they cool. As well as being great for back to school children's snacks and lunch boxes, they are good for grown-ups who are trying to limit fat and calories. As they are cooked individually they are great for portion control and each Mac and Cheese Bite has only 78 calories and 1 gram of fat!
I always use reusable silicone muffin cases to make these and my muffins. Once you invest in some they will last you years and years which saves you money in the long run and is probably a little better for the environment than using disposable paper cases over a number of years. If you do buy some, be sure not to buy the really super cheap ones you find on Amazon. They range in price from around $2 to $15. When I first got some I started with the cheapest possible and they were really thin, everything stuck to them and they were difficult to clean. When I upgraded to the slightly more expensive ones I noticed a world of difference. Nothing ever sticks to the ones I have now and I love them.
I tend to leave my Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites in their cases until I eat them. Their outsides tend to be a little sticky so if you do pack them up for lunches be sure to include a little something to wipe sticky fingers with afterwards.
I would love to know what you think of these Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites. Please let me know in the comments below and share your pictures of these and my other recipes with me on Instagram. Tag them with #avirtualvegan so I don't miss them.
Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites
- 200g | 1½ cups dried macaroni , (use gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 medium onion , chopped (can be subbed for 1 medium roasted yellow pepper if you don't like onions)
- 1 clove garlic , chopped
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 240mls | 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (can sub for chipotle powder )
- 30g | ½ cup nutritional yeast (I like the flavour of the Bob's Red Mill variety )
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Prepare muffin tin with liners and preheat oven to 350°F
- Add the macaroni to a large pan of boiling water and cook as per the instructions (usually 8 - 10 minutes).
- While the macaroni is cooking sauté the onion and garlic until just starting to turn golden brown. I just use a dry pan to do this but if you prefer to use a little oil then you can.
- Add the onion, garlic (or cooked yellow pepper) and all of the other ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Drain the macaroni and return to the pan.
- Pour over the sauce and stir well
- Spoon into the muffin tin evenly, stirring a little in between so you get an even amount of sauce in each one.
- Push down the tops a bit with the back of a spoon
- Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin
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