Vegan Stovetop Chili Mac and Cheese

This recipe is easy to execute (no baking!), yields a lot of food, and tastes cheesy, spicy, and smoky. It’s the perfect hearty meal for any time of year!

If you do not have a high speed blender (ie Vitamix, Ninja, etc), you can still make this recipe. Simply soak the raw cashews for 2-3 hours in water, and then, drain off the water before using them in a regular blender. I like a thick chili cheese sauce, but if you prefer a thinner sauce, add the entire can of tomatoes without draining off the juice. It will make the sauce a bit thinner. To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free elbow macaroni and you’re good to go.

Vegan Stovetop Chili Mac and Cheese

4 cups (or a 16 ounce package) elbow macaroni

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped and divided

2 1/2 cups (or a 10 ounce package of frozen) butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 cup fake chicken broth (I used 1/2 cube of Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n Bouillon dissolved in 1 cup water)

1 1/2 cups raw cashews (see note above if using a regular blender)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 3 Tbsp adobo sauce

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried Mexican oregano

1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained of juice (see note above, if you prefer a thinner chili cheese sauce)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package, and then, drain it, rinse it and set it aside until later in the recipe.

2. In a very large pot, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 of the chopped onion, and a dash of salt. Saute over medium heat for ~7 minutes or until the onions are somewhat golden. Add the butternut squash and broth. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the butternut squash is cooked through.

3. Spoon the entire content of the very large pot into a high speed blender. Set the very large pot aside, because you will use it again. To the high speed blender, also add the cashews, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 chipotle peppers, and 1 Tbsp adobo sauce. Blend until completely smooth. Taste, and make any adjustments (more salt? another chipotle pepper? more adobo? etc). Set aside.

4. Return the very large pot to the stove. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, the remaining onion, the garlic cloves, green pepper, and a dash of salt. Saute for ~7 minutes or until the onions are golden and the green pepper is tender enough to enjoy eating. Then, add cumin, oregano and 2 Tbsp adobo sauce. Stir around over medium-low heat for a minute.

5. Stir in the black beans and drained tomatoes. Stir around over medium-low heat for 2 minutes or until everything is cooked through.

6. Add the cooked elbow macaroni, the chili cheese sauce from the blender, the cilantro and the scallions to the very large pot. Stir everything together. Taste, and make adjustments to the flavor, if needed (more adobo sauce? more salt? etc.). Serve immediately.

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