When I asked the question on Facebook today, “What food do you wish was Paleo?” I got quite a few “Mac N Cheese” responses. Honestly I didn’t plan on experimenting in the kitchen today because I woke up feeling yucky – and I have been trying to tell myself to chiiiiiiilll a little bit more. Overdoing it is my specialty apparently.
But when I saw this overwhelming response, the wheels started turning… naturally. I just love experimenting and seeing what I can come up with to meet the “needs of the people.” And playing in the kitchen is cathartic for me too; it distracts me from any lingering symptoms that sneak in and remind me I am not quite “back to normal.”
So instead of resting (shame shame), I got to playing. It was so fun too! I started with the cheese sauce because honestly I figured that would be the hardest part since I already wrote the NOODLE recipe, I knew I could adapt that recipe and then smother some “cheese” sauce and hopefully make a tasty option for those of us missing the good stuff. Oh and by the way, you know those recipes that you love because they take like 8.2 minutes total to throw together and call a meal? Yeah, this is NOT one of those. Make this when you have time and when you are in the mood to make homemade pasta. Otherwise, spoon the cheese sauce over zoodles and call it a day. Homemade pasta is a labor of love. Fact.
A note about the Noodles – you can virtually make them into any shape you like. In the photos below I am showing you three ways I made them today. To make the “O’s” you roll a piece of the dough into a really thin “snake” and then pinch off pieces and make little o’s by hand. To make “MACARONI” you simply roll out a really thin “snake” with a piece of the dough and then pinch of short macaroni sized pieces and drop into the boiling water until they float. Or you can just roll little balls and drop them in the water too. Whatever pasta shape you prefer you can make. Remember the smaller the noodles the more time consuming but if you are trying to make little picky mouths happy, it might just be worth the effort! Also remember that the noodles will “grow” in the water so if you want teeny noodles, make sure you are starting even smaller than the desired end result.
To make the Noodles, refer to this recipe HERE…
To make the CHEESE SAUCE:
- 2 cups flax milk (or preferred dairy free milk)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or more if desired)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil, olive oil, or preferred fat
- 3 teaspoons tomato sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- UP TO 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard (you can start lower and work up)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (this provides a little tang)
- Pinch paprika
- UP TO 1/4 teaspoon turmeric – NOTE: this is mostly for color but if you like turmeric you can go up to 1/4 teaspoon. If you are sensitive to the flavor start with just a pinch and go up from there.
- Salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Optional: 1 small bay leaf
- Optional: UP TO 1/4 cup ghee to add more of a “buttery” taste
- 2-3 tablespoons tapioca flour
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan except for the tapioca (this includes ghee + bay leaf if using)
- Bring to a simmer, whisking continually
- Taste and add in more of the seasonings you wish or dilute with more milk if necessary
- Once the flavor has been adjusted to your desired preference, make a slurry with 1 tablespoon of the tapioca by removing 3 tablespoons of the cheese sauce from the sauce pan and mixing in the 1 tablespoon of tapioca
- Reintroduce the slurry back into the cheese sauce, whisking until it begins to thicken
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your desired thickness has been reached
- Remove bay leaf and spoon over freshly made Paleo Pasta Noodles
Made this for dinner and it was wonderful! Added in some leftover chicken I diced up and had with zoodles I chopped into macaroni size pieces. Unfortunately had to use cornstarch because I didn’t have tapioca flour but it did work well as terrible as cornstarch is. My non paleo husband griped about the nutritional yeast instead of cheese but went back for seconds 🙂
Haha! That’s awesome. I prefer cheese too but had to give the yummy stuff up! Thanks for sharing!!!
I’m so excited to try this recipe. My family and I have been trying to eat more whole food but there’s only so much veggies and chicken we can eat. Hopefully, my daughter will love this! (she’s used to the mac and cheese from the box)
p.s. we went to high school together! 😉
Hey Janelle! Hope you are doing well! Thanks for stopping by the blog and saying hello! I miss our high school days!
Jen Springstead says
My 5 year old son and I made this sauce today and paired it with applegate hotdogs and zoodles. He insisted I leave you a note because the cheesy sauce was “easy to make and it looks cheesy and tastes yummy!” We have been grain free and dairy free since we adopted him 2 1/2 years ago, yet his memories of pink cookies, skittles, and mac and cheese are still there for him. Thank you for bridging the gap for us!
OMG this is so awesome! What a cutie pie you’ve got! I’m so glad he liked it!
What kind of coconut milk does this recipe require? The full-fat kind that comes in cans?
That’s typically what I use, yes!
I love this receipt and my no paleo husband has been begging me to make it again. Do you have a suggestion to make it nightshade free? I recently gave them up in an effort to help my pain levels. ?
Recipe* oh auto correct!!
You can omit the nightshades, it affects the color more than the flavor!