Guilt-Free Macaroni & Cheese

8 Dec

Print the recipe page!  guilt-free macaroni and cheese

If I’m going to go to the work of chasing down bulk amounts of ingredients, spend a lot of hard saved money and then find places in my home to store all these ingredients, you’d better believe I have a priority list of criteria my storable recipes have to meet. The recipes that make it into my plan have to meet at least two of the following four requirements:

  •  better than average nutritionally
  • quick and convenient to make
  • pass the family’s taste test (required always — this food will be used)
  • a favorite/familiar comfort food (overriding sometimes my strictness on the nutrition /quick & easy rule)

This recipe is one of the rare exceptions that hit all four of my goals.

Many thanks to Susan Voisin for the base recipe I adapted this from.  My version isn’t vegan (as Susan’s is) since I did include powdered milk (anyone know of a suitable lactose-free powdered milk substitute for those who can’t have milk?) but thanks to the talented vegan cook parentage it originated from it’s got it going on in the nutrition and taste department.  The star of the show is cheesy flavored nutritional yeast with 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber in it’s small one ounce appearance.  The tahini adds in another 6 grams of protein.  And of course, this “clean” version has no strange chemicals or colors that the box at the store contains.

Across the board, all my kids — even with their “we love cheese, we can tell if it’s not real cheese so just try us” taste buds– fell for this cheese-less mac and cheese!  I find myself agreeing with many of the comments from the original recipe, that it’s got an addictive flavor.  And…happy day…it’s absolutely no-fat/no-guilt!  To top everything off, it’s extremely fast to make.  I suggest making it even easier for yourself by pre-measuring the dry ingredients ahead of time and packing it as a pantry meal.

I think you’re really going to enjoy this recipe!


Clean Macaroni & Cheese (10)

serves 8


Clean Macaroni & Cheese (1)

3 1/2 cups macaroni noodles

Seasoning bag #1

3/4 cup nutritional yeast (*see note)

Seasoning bag #2

3 TBS cornstarch (or potato starch)

2 TBS powdered milk

1 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1 1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. turmeric

pinch cayenne pepper


2 1/4 cups water (*in an emergency situation of conserving water, 2 1/2 cups could be used to cook the pasta in and 2 1/4 cups of the drained water can be used for the sauce)

1 TBS lemon juice

2 TBS tahini



Put the pasta on to boil, as per packaged directions.  While it’s cooking, sift seasoning bag #2 using a fine meshed metal colander.  Add nutritional yeast to the sifted dry ingredients.  When the noodles have cooked, drain and return the noodles to the pot, reserving the cooking water if desired to make the sauce.  Mix the lemon juice and tahini into the water.  Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet and add all to the drained pasta, cooking until thickened.


Sift the dry ingredients in seasoning bag #2.  Add the nutritional yeast afterward to the sifted ingredients.

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (2)Clean Macaroni & Cheese (3)

Drain the pasta into a bowl to reserve the cooking water to be used for the sauce if wanted.

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (4)

To the cooking water add the lemon juice and tahini and mix well.

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (5)

Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and pour all of it into the pot of noodles.

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (8)

Cook until boiling and thickened and ready to serve.  If you wanted to, you could transfer the macaroni and cheese to a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes (with or without breadcrumbs) if you like a crisp topping.

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (10)

Creamy, satisfying and simple to make!  What a great recipe!

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (11)



  • Nutritional yeast is not to be confused with yeasts which raise breads.  This variety of yeast is specifically grown as a flavoring.  It comes in two varieties:  flaked and powdered.  If using the powdered, only use half the amount called for here.  
  • For added flavor, add additional onion powder and/or mustard powder.
  • The author suggests (in the recipe comments) using the sauce (made on it’s own) with scalloped or baked potatoes or alongside salsa for a dip (or nachos).  Sounds delicious!
  • The tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds) usually needs a little stirring before being ready to use since it naturally separates.

7 Responses to “Guilt-Free Macaroni & Cheese”

  1. geni December 8, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    You can buy a variety of powdered soy milk (stay away from Better Than Milk brand as it has a strong flavor that stands out in anything you put it in.) that are similar in nutrition to dairy milk (powdered). Check your local health food store. If you want a richer version, you can whiz up some cashews in a blender and then blend with equal parts water until smooth and add as you would dairy cream. The cashew cream is also good with a little honey and vanilla blended in on your morning bowl of oatmeal!

  2. Lisa Derr December 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    You never cease to amaze me! Looks wonderful!!


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