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Last Updated on January 31, 2023
Comfort food can look different for everyone, but if there’s one common comfort dish we can all agree on, it’s mac and cheese. We all love its creamy and cheesy texture, and one of the ways you can level up regular mac and cheese is by making it gluten-free.
For most of us, the first time we ever tasted mac and cheese was at a very young age and right out of a blue box. That’s why this food is more about nostalgia than flavor itself.
Your adult version of mac and cheese can be healthier by making it gluten-free. But don’t worry; it’ll still bring back old memories!
Also, eating loads of pasta and cheese can push you into a food coma, but this easy gluten-free mac and cheese recipe is light on the stomach and delicious on the taste buds. And it only requires minimal steps!
Mac and cheese have two main ingredients; macaroni and cheese. The other ingredients can be found sitting in your pantry or on the first shelf of any grocery store. Here are all the ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 box of gluten-free macaroni
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 cups of milk
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of white rice flour
- 2 ½ cups of cheddar cheese
- ½ cup of parmesan cheese
- ½ tablespoon of sea salt
How to Make Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, let’s head to the kitchen to make the best gluten-free mac and cheese of your life!
- Fill a large saucepan with water and let it boil. Add your gluten-free pasta with oil so it doesn’t stick together. Let it cook for about eight minutes while stirring once in a while. Your pasta should be soft but still have a little bit of bite to it.
- On the other stove, melt some butter in a skillet over a flame of medium-low heat.
- When the butter melts, sprinkle some rice flour into the skillet while whisking intensely. Do this for one minute.
- Add milk to the butter and rice flour mixture while whisking for eight minutes to combine all the ingredients together.
- Season the creamy sauce with salt. Feel free to add more or less according to your liking.
- Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and place it in a large bowl. Slowly add your sauce and stir the whole thing.
- Put your mac and cheese into a greased 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle your shredded cheese on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The cheese should be melted and bubbly, with the sides all crisped up.
- Serve and enjoy your guilt-free and gluten-free mac and cheese!
How to Make Gluten-Free and Vegan Mac and Cheese
Gluten-free food isn’t vegan-friendly, but if you want a version that works with a vegan lifestyle, then we’ve got a dish for you. Luckily, the vegan version is also dairy-free, so even those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy this recipe!
Here’s what you need for a simple gluten-free, vegan mac and cheese.
- 1 pound of gluten-free pasta (such as rice or quinoa pasta)
- 1 cup of raw cashews (soak them in water for two hours)
- 1 cup of unsweetened plant-based milk (such as almond milk or soy milk)
- 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour (such as almond or coconut flour)
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Cook the gluten-free pasta according to the package instructions and set it aside.
- Drain and rinse the raw cashews after soaking them for two hours. Add them to a blender with plant-based milk, nutritional yeast, gluten-free flour, lemon juice, dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Blend the sauce until it’s smooth and creamy.
- In a large pot or pan, heat the cheese sauce over medium heat, constantly stirring it until it thickens.
- If you want to add veggies, you can sauté them in a separate pan or boil them for a few minutes and add them to the cheese sauce.
- Once the cheese sauce is thickened, add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle gluten-free breadcrumbs on top and bake your dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy. This will give your macaroni and cheese a crunchy topping!
- Serve hot, and enjoy your delicious vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese!
What to Serve With Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese are great as it is. But if you’d like to make a balanced meal out of this dish, then check out these side dishes you can serve alongside.
A simple mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing is a great way to add some freshness and crunch to your meal. You can add diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers for extra flavor and color.
You can go for some delicious roasted veggies as a side dish. Just chop your favorite vegetables, season them, and bake them till brown. You can add whatever species you like, too!
You can’t deny how good carbs taste, so why not serve your heart mac and cheese with some gluten-free garlic bread?
You can make your own gluten-free garlic bread by spreading butter or olive oil, minced garlic, and parsley on top of gluten-free bread and baking them in the oven till they get golden brown.
You can’t go wrong with a bit of crunch. Make your own gluten-free breadsticks as a light snack and share them with your family.
All you need to do is make a gluten-free dough, shape your sticks, and bake them till they snap with a crunch.
A nice bowl of hearty soup, such as a gluten-free vegetable or lentil soup, can make a great side dish to go along with your mac and cheese.
You can make a simple coleslaw by mixing shredded cabbage and carrots with a gluten-free mayo and apple cider vinegar-based dressing.
How to Store Mac and Cheese
Cooked pasta doesn’t freeze well since it can get soggy and doesn’t taste the same when you reheat it. The best way to store this dish is to keep your macarons and sauce in separate containers. This way, you can freeze it for up to three months.
However, some gluten-free pasta brands are known to get soggy and mushy when they’re reheated. If you’re sure that your pasta won’t get soggy, then go ahead and freeze it. Otherwise, it’s best to finish it right out of the oven.
Tips to Make Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Better
Gluten-free mac and cheese is an incredibly easy recipe, which means it can be customized to your liking. Here are some tips and tricks to take your dish to the next level.
- Use Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs: If you want to add a crispy topping to your mac and cheese, use gluten-free bread crumbs or make your own by blending gluten-free bread in a food processor.
- Be Mindful of Cross-Contamination: When preparing your gluten-free mac and cheese, you have to take care of cross-contamination, especially if you’re highly sensitive to gluten. Use separate utensils and cookware, and clean your work surfaces thoroughly to avoid mishaps!
- Add Some Veggies: You can add veggies like spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, jalapenos, black olives, black beans, collard green, or scallions to enhance the flavor and make it more nutritious. You can even add some protein, such as chicken, to make the dish more interesting.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment With Different Types of Cheese: Since most types of cheese are gluten-free, you can try using a variety of different blends, such as cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, to give your mac and cheese a unique flavor.
- Use More Spices: Mac and cheese doesn’t have many spices, so it can be bland for some. You can add extra seasonings to your gluten-free mac and cheese, such as garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, to enhance the flavor.
- Use a Large Pot: While boiling your gluten-free pasta, it tends to foam a lot. It’s completely normal, but try using a large pot to prevent any boiling over.
- Add Pasta Water to Sauce: Gluten-free pasta absorbs moisture much more than regular pasta. If you feel like your sauce isn’t cutting it, then add a few spoons of pasta water.
What Type of Pasta Can I Use for Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese?
There are many types of gluten-free pasta available, including those made from rice, corn, quinoa, and lentils. Some popular brands include Tinkyada, Jovial, and Bionaturae.
What Type of Cheese Can I Use for Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese?
Most types of cheese are naturally gluten-free, including cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan. However, you should check the labels of processed cheese products, as some may contain gluten.
Can I Use Regular Flour in My Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Recipe?
No, regular flour contains gluten and shouldn’t be used in a gluten-free recipe. Instead, you can use gluten-free flour alternatives, such as almond flour, coconut flour, or rice flour.
Is Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Suitable for Vegans?
Not necessarily. Traditional mac and cheese are made with dairy products, such as milk and cheese, so it’s not suitable for vegans. But there are vegan versions of mac and cheese available in the market made from plant-based ingredients.
How Can I Make Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese More Flavorful?
You can add more seasonings to your gluten-free mac and cheese, such as garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, or some vegetables.
If you like this Gluten-free Macaroni and Cheese recipe, you’ll love:
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This cheesy, warm gluten-free mac and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food!
- Fill the saucepan with filtered water and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and oil and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the pasta al dente; soft, but with a little bit of bite to it. The oil helps to keep the gluten free pasta from sticking together.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in the skillet over medium low heat. Once it’s melted, sprinkle the rice flour on top of the butter and whisk vigorously to combine. Cook for 1 minute while whisking.
- Add the milk to the butter mixture and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking as it cooks and thickens, about 8 minutes.
- Add the salt to the sauce and stir well to combine. Add more salt to taste if needed.
- Drain the pasta and add it to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and add the cheddar cheese. Gently stir everything to combine.
- Pour the mac and cheese into a well greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of the macaroni and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 968mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 16g