Meatless cheeseburger mac and cheese has the taste you love without the ingredients you don’t. Perfect for #MeatlessMonday or anytime you need a comfort food fix. Post contains affiliate links.
Cheeseburger mac and cheese is one of those simple, brilliant food creations that just hits the spot. With a little kitchen creativity it’s easy to make a version that’s meat, dairy and gluten free. Cheeseburger mac taste with happy ingredients!
I came up with this because when Graeme and I eat together I want it to be things we’ll both enjoy. He’s into meat and cheese and not veggies unless they’re minding their own business in a salad and not overwhelmingly spicy…kind of the exact opposite of what I like. So I like to try green versions of old favorites, and this one turned out excellent. He helped me style these pics, by the way. Graeme = Napkin Master.
Someone who doesn’t care what’s in their food as long as it’s not most vegetables eating a clean, vegan, gluten free version of something traditionally made of wheat, meat and cheese is pretty cool. Loving it is extra cool. I’m so excited to share the recipe I don’t even care that my macaroni shredded itself into pasta confetti.
Psst…the cheese sauce is made of vegetables! tee hee
I always use gluten free pasta, and for this cheeseburger mac and cheese I tried an all corn pasta. Not a great choice unless you plan to eat the minute it’s ready, and don’t stir it too much at that. For a comfort food dish like this it doesn’t bother me too much when the macaroni smooshes, but I’m going back to my standard brown rice pasta. That stuff stands up to over stirring, over heating, over boiling…every way you can abuse pasta I’ve done to it, and it forgives me every time. You can buy it on Amazon, or do like me and get it at your local supermarket.
The cheesiness comes from the Life Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce I love so much I need a dose of it at least once a week, sometimes more. It tastes rich and Cheddary while being neither, and that’s a damn good trick.
You have lots of options when it comes to the burger part. If you want to keep your cheeseburger mac scene low fat, vegan and gluten free, I recommend the awesomely useful but less than glamorous-sounding textured vegetable protein, or TVP, sold by Bob’s Red Mill and other companies. It’s basically little soy crumbles you rehydrate with water and then use in place of ground meat. Not super tasty on their own, but in a flavorful, saucy dish like this or chili they’re great. And they’re fat free, which I like.
There are tons of meat substitutes out there which would be great in this cheeseburger mac, so use whatever you like and fits your nutritional bill. Another great option would be beans – I’m thinking black or kidney. You just need something in there with some protein and substance and that little bit of chewiness that makes cheeseburger mac and cheese so good.
I add a little liquid smoke to get some char-grilled flavor going, and a good handful of common spices and seasonings to make everything tasty and meatless burger-riffic. If you don’t have liquid smoke go get some, it’s awesome! Powerful hickory-smoked flavor in a bottle. Look for it in the spice aisle, or possibly with barbecue sauces and stuff, or on Amazon.
9/22/16 update – **here’s the link to my Life Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce.** It’s linked in the recipe too, but it’s hard to tell.
Eat Healthy Eat Happy
Meatless Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese has the taste you love without the ingredients you don't.
10 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 batch Life Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 c TVP rehydrated per package instructions, or 2 cups of your favorite meat substitute, or 2 cups of cooked beans
- 16 oz. gluten free pasta, cooked according to package
- 2 Tbs your favorite oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- about 1/2 a 6 oz. can salt free tomato paste
- 1 c unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite nondairy milk)
- Make a batch of Vegan Cheese Sauce . While that's making, boil water for the pasta and rehydrate the TVP if you're using it.
- Heat the oil on medium low in a large nonstick saucepan. Add the chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes and let them bloom for a minute or two. Add the TVP or whatever you're using for protein and saute about 5 minutes.
- When the cheese sauce is done, stir it into the pan along with the liquid smoke, soy sauce, tomato paste and almond milk. Turn the heat to low and let everything simmer until the pasta's done. When it's done and drained, fold it in.
Better Pin this. You never know when a cheeseburger mac and cheese craving will strike! This post contains affiliate links.