Zucchini Mac & Cheese (Gluten and Dairy Free)
This zucchini mac and cheese is the perfect hidden veggie pasta dish! It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and cashew free.
It’s always mac and cheese season in my book! I love making a dairy-free mac and cheese with a veggie-rich sauce, and have been craving a summer version. This zucchini mac and cheese is packed with veggies, but tastes like serious comfort food!
Why you’ll love this zucchini mac and cheese
- It’s great veggie exposure for toddlers and kids! I like to leave the zucchini unpeeled so my toddler gets exposure to greens. Of course, you can always peel it.
- It’s full of veggies! The sauce is veggie based, and you get bites of thinly grated zucchini for extra texture and nutrients that you typically wouldn’t get from mac and cheese.
The ingredients for zucchini mac and cheese
- Elbow pasta. I use jovial brown rice pasta, or you can use grain free for AIP.
- Carrots and cauliflower. These are the main vegetables for making the sauce!
- Coconut milk and chicken broth. Use canned coconut milk to help make the sauce thick.
- Arrowroot starch. This is used to thicken the sauce a bit.
- Pork panko. Pork panko is essentially ground-up pork rinds! In this recipe it’s used as a bread crumb substitute to add some crunch.
How to make dairy-free zucchini mac and cheese
- Step one. Prepare the sauce. Saute the vegetables until soft. Add the liquids and simmer until the vegetables soften. Thick the sauce with arrowroot starch and set aside.
- Step two. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Step three. Chop the ends off of the zucchini and grate with a grater, or food processor. Lightly salt the zucchini and pat to remove excess water. Set aside.
- Step four. Blend the sauce and combine Combine the cooked pasta, sauce, and zucchini in a pot and set over low heat for about 2 minutes, allowing the sauce to coat the pasta and the zucchini to lightly soften.
- Step five. Serve the pasta topped with a sprinkle of pork panko, seasoning further to taste.
Tips & Tricks
- Season to taste! Different varieties of chicken broth have different salt levels, so salt to taste. Keep in mind the pork panko is also very salty.
- Add other breadcrumb-type toppings of your choice. Crushed plantain chips would also be great on this recipe!
How can you make this a main dish?
This is mostly meant to be eaten as a side dish with recipes like this…
Can you make this recipe coconut free?
You can use other dairy-free milk like oat milk or almond milk, but coconut milk is extra thick.
Can you make it without nutritional yeast?
The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor! You can leave out the nutritional yeast if you prefer, but it won’t taste as cheesy.
You’ll also like…
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 & 1/4 cups carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
- Salt & pepper (omit pepper for AIP)
- 1 & 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (sub-veggie broth)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 12 oz gluten-free elbows (I use this, sub grain free for AIP)
- 1 large zucchini
- To serve, pork panko (optional)
- Using a large pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the carrots and cauliflower and saute for another 5 minutes or until lightly fork-tender. Lightly with salt and pepper.
- Pour the chicken broth, coconut milk, and apple cider vinegar into the pot and mix well to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Using a small bowl, whisk about 1 tbsp of water with arrowroot starch and pour it into the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and add the nutritional yeast. Set aside to allow to cool.
- While the sauce cools, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Set aside 1/3 cup of pasta water and strain the pasta. Toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Chop the ends off of the zucchini and grate with a grater, or food processor. Lightly salt the zucchini and pat to remove excess water. Set aside.
- Add the cooked sauce to a blender along with the reserved pasta water. Blend until smooth.
- Combine the cooked pasta, sauce, and zucchini in a pot and set over low heat for about 2 minutes, allowing the sauce to coat the pasta and the zucchini to lightly soften.
- Serve the pasta topped with a sprinkle of pork panko, seasoning further to taste.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 432
- Fat: 25.3g
- Carbohydrates: 42.9g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 8.9g