Recipe: Vegan macaroni 'cheese'

OLD FAVOURITE: Roast tomato and thyme macaroni 'cheese', made the gluten and dairy-free way.
OLD FAVOURITE: Roast tomato and thyme macaroni 'cheese', made the gluten and dairy-free way.

I feed my body what I feel it needs and my family too. I was brought up predominantly vegetarian, but very occasionally ate fish too. After having kids (with food intolerances and becoming aware of my own) I relied on fish as a source of protein a whole lot more than ever before, simply because nearly all vegetarian sources of protein were off limits as a breast-feeding mother with sensitive children.

We were strictly gluten and dairy-free for around two years, but now eat wheat products when out on occasion with no major side-effects. At home we eat gluten-free, but include oats.

We eat and love yoghurt, ghee and feta. And I bake with butter. We eat eggs, often. I haven't eaten fish in over a year, but don't mind the odd bit of fish sauce in food, especially if it's been prepared by my Vietnamese mother-in-law.

My kids eat organic chicken with their meat-eating dad and my son Kye when asked what his favourite food is, will always reply with 'chicken on the bone'.

Now here is a great recipe for gluten-free, vegan macaroni cheese. You don't have to be gluten-free - or a vegan - to enjoy it. But if you are coeliac you might want to research gluten-free nutritional yeast and Dijon mustard.


250g punnet cherry tomatoes
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup nutritional yeast
2Tbsp fine brown rice flour
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1tsp fine sea salt
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Dijon mustard
250g packet gluten-free macaroni pasta
2-3Tbsp almond milk, extra
2 spring onions, finely sliced
extra thyme leaves, optional

1. Preheat oven to 200C/ 395F. Place tomatoes into a oven-proof dish that's large enough to hold the finished macaroni and cheese. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over tomatoes, scatter with thyme leaves and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until the skins burst. Remove from the oven and set aside until required.

2. Meanwhile put a large pot of salted water on to boil while you prepare the 'cheese' sauce. Combine the nutritional yeast, brown rice flour, garlic, sea salt and almond milk in a medium pan and whisk until smooth.

3. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring often for 2-3 minutes until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Once the water is boiling cook the pasta until just al dente, cooked but still firm to the bite. You want to make sure you don't overcook the pasta at this stage as it still has to have a second cooking in the oven.

5. Drain the pasta, then stir through 'cheese' sauce, adding an extra 2-3 tablespoons of almond milk to thin the sauce down. You want it to be on the runny side now, as the pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce when cooking in the oven.

6. Add spring onion and gently fold through the roasted tomatoes. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper if needed. Transfer the mixture back into the dish the tomatoes were roasting in, pop in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is lovely and golden.

Serves four.

For more of Emma's recipes, visit My Darling Lemon Thyme.