Complete with a homemade cheese sauce, this Vegan Jalapeño Chickpea Mac and Cheese is full of fiber and tons of flavor for a grown-up version of everyone’s favorite childhood recipe that you and the kids will love. Serve it warm for an easy side dish or add protein for a complete meal in less than 45 minutes!
The third and final recipe in our pasta week series, this mac and cheese is last but certainly not least!
More Cheese, Please!
Who doesn’t love a good cheese-based recipe? I mean, mac and cheese isn’t a childhood staple for nothing, is it? Whether you’re making Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Crock Pot White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, or even a Bacon Gouda Cheese Dip, there’s just something so comforting about its creamy goodness. However, it isn’t always the most allergy-friendly of ingredients, especially when paired with pasta.
Between the dairy and gluten, it can be a no-go for many, and vegan pasta alternatives aren’t always the most ideal. Fun fact, I actually served this recipe to my now husband for one of our very first dates! However, at the time, gluten-free pastas were not quite as popular, and the result was a mushy mess. Luckily, he stayed around to eat another meal with me, and pasta innovation has come a long way since then. That being said, I’ve had plenty of time (we’re talking years) to perfect this recipe. Today, it’s one of our favorite meals and provides a fun twist on everyone’s favorite comfort food. Plus, it’s made with my homemade vegan cheese sauce and gluten-free pasta shells for a chickpea mac and cheese everyone can enjoy!
That’s enough chatting, though. We’ve got pasta to make!
How to Make Chickpea Mac and Cheese (with Video!)
If you’ve tried cooking with gluten-free pasta in the past, you’re going to be shocked at how easily this recipe comes together! Not only does it cook like regular pasta, it tastes like it, too. However, this recipe is so much better! The spice of the roasted jalapeños makes it adult-friendly and full of flavor. Plus, it’s a great way to use up the last of your summer veg! All you have to do is follow the steps below to have dinner on the table in no time. It’s so easy even the kids can make it!
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and slice the jalapeños into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices.
Note: If you slice the jalapeños too thin, they will cook faster than the time listed!
Then, mix the jalapeños, chickpeas, and seasonings in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil before spreading them on a baking sheet and cooking them for 15-20 minutes.
Pro-Tip: I always opt for unrefined oils such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Not only do they have a bolder flavor, but they’re also extracted without the use of heat meaning they retain much more nutrients than refined oils.
While the jalapeños are baking, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, place it back in the pot, and toss the pasta with olive oil, garlic salt, salt, and pepper.
To finish, make your cheese sauce of choice, and combine the pasta, sauce, jalapeños, and chickpeas mixing thoroughly until all of the ingredients are coated in the sauce.
All the Sauces!
Of course, you can use a store-bought cheese sauce, but why not add a little more nourishment to your meal? I’m giving you 3 different options! Create a traditional mac and cheese sauce using a slurry or roux. Or, opt for a spicy mac and cheese instead!
The quickest option of the 3, slurries are a slightly thinner sauce perfect for coating pasta. They can be made without any butter or oil, and a little goes a long way making them perfect to feed a crowd!
Thicker and richer than a slurry, the roux sauce takes more time but is definitely worth it if you’ve got the time. It’s made with equal parts flour (gluten-free, of course) and fat such as butter.
Spicy Cheese Sauce
Technically a dip, this Easy Vegan Salsa Con Queso works perfectly to amp up the heat with this recipe! Even better, it’s so tasty your kids won’t even realize it’s full of fresh vegetables for added fiber.
Add-Ins and Alternatives
Of course, this recipe is super tasty on its own, and thanks to the added protein and fiber from the chickpeas, it’s super filling as well. However, if you’re looking to spruce it up even more you can do so by adding protein such as chicken, ground beef, or tempeh. You could even add in fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or peas!
Not a fan of spice? No worries!
Feel free to omit the jalapeños altogether. However, if you want to keep the flavor while removing some of the heat, remove all the seeds from the peppers before they are baked. Or, for a slightly more kid-friendly version, swap out the jalapeños with bell peppers instead. Then, if you want to get a little crazy, toss in some tomatoes too. The kids will be so excited they’re getting mac and cheese for dinner they won’t even notice the extra veggies!
Common Questions About
Yes! The queso cheese sauce requires no milk or milk alternatives for an easy dairy-free recipe. Or, simply swap out the non-dairy milk for coconut milk or broth instead. Just keep in mind it may be runnier as a result!
For the best results, I recommend using DeLallo’s gluten-free pasta elbows or Chickapea pasta. However, if food allergies are not an issue, any pasta you prefer will work! Note: Some pastas absorb more sauce than others so you may need to add another tablespoon or 2 depending on the type of pasta used.
Chickpea pasta is perfect for meal prep, because it will last in the fridge for 4-5 days if stored in an airtight container!
Yes, for easy meals, keep this mac and cheese in the freezer for 6-8 months. Or, just prep the cheese sauce, and make the noodles fresh when you’re ready to eat!
There ya have it, folks! A dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, kid-friendly, Vegan Jalapeño Chickpea Mac and Cheese. Phew, that was a mouthful! In all honesty, I’m not sure recipes get any better than this!
No matter who you’re serving, they’re guaranteed to love it! Personally, I think the roasted jalapeños are the best part. Do you like your food spicy? Let me know down below!