Chili Mac and Cheese

Every year for Christmas, I make pasta. When I first learned this was a custom in Italy, it must have really resonated with me. Looking back, we never had pasta on Christmas when I was growing up, so I guess it’s one of those holiday traditions we must have created for our family on our own, over the years.

Sometimes during the holidays I make my Creamy Vegetable Lasagne. Other times it’s been Creamy Tomato and Fresh Basil Pasta Sauce. But this year it’s going to be my new Chili Mac and Cheese. This fabulous combination is beyond delicious!

Both the Chili and the Creamy Cheese Sauce can be made a few days ahead – and simply reheated before combining with the pasta. Extras can be frozen, too, if you want to (for example) freeze half of each recipe to save for another time.

I’ll be serving this along with a large green chopped salad, and steamed green vegetables…and Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes for dessert.

Back to this Chili Mac and Cheese. What could be better for a cozy family gathering on a cold winter night? Not much! This just may be my favorite new comfort food, and I hope you love it too. xo


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CHILI MAC AND CHEESE

Chili

1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can navy or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth (pressure cooker: use 2 1/2 cups / stovetop: use 3 cups)
1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons prepared strong coffee
1 tablespoon date syrup
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 bay leaves

Creamy Cheese Sauce

1 onion, diced
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup water
6-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, rinsed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons salt
dash cayenne pepper (optional)

Pasta

16 ounces whole wheat pasta

Chili Instructions:

Pressure Cooker:

In a large Electric Pressure Cooker (I like the Zavor brand best), add all ingredients to the cooking pot. Lock the lid in place. Select “High Pressure” and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Once the high pressure cooking is complete, stop or cancel. Use the natural release method to release pressure for around 20 minutes, then quick release remainder of pressure. When valve drops, carefully remove lid. Stir well.

Remove bay leaves.

Stovetop:

Add onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and serrano pepper to a large soup pot. On medium-high heat, pan sauté in a small amount of water until almost tender. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute more.

Add beans, tomato products, 3 cups of broth, raisins, and all of the seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to rolling simmer, cover and cook for 60 to 90 minutes, until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat. Stir well.

Remove bay leaves.

 

Creamy Cheese Sauce Instructions:

Heat a large nonstick skillet (like Scanpan) over high heat. Add onions and dry sauté until translucent. Sprinkle a little bit of water as needed to prevent sticking to the pan.

In a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), combine the cooked onion with cashews, milk, water, red peppers, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, broth, mustard, salt, and cayenne, and blend until smooth.

 

Pasta Preparation:

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

 

To Serve:

Mix together the Chili and the Creamy Cheese Sauce, as desired. (My favorite ratio is 2 to 3 cups of Chili with 1 cup of Creamy Cheese Sauce.)

Spoon hot chili cheese sauce mixture over hot pasta, and serve immediately.

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen

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