When I changed my family over to a plant-based diet, I struggled to get everyone on board. Regardless of how old your children are, if they have been introduced to processed foods, the switch may not be as easy as you think. In fact, at one point your kids might refuse to eat! But, it won’t last long, and you are stronger than they are. The key, however, is to stay strong and be consistent, and the transition will go as smoothly as you hope it will; I promise. What is my secret? I started organizing the foods my family love, and luckily, the transition was easier than I imagined. For example, one of my first ‘veganzied’ creations was vegan chili mac!
What child doesn’t LOVE Chili Mac? Parents face the daily challenge of not only providing healthy food for their kids but making foods their kids will eat. Despite efforts to feed our kids healthy food, the availability of junk food is a daily struggle. Our schools are full of garbage for our kids to buy from the cafeteria and the vending machines in every hallway. Teaching our kids how to eat and what to eat is our responsibility as parents.
FEEDING OUR CHILDREN REAL FOOD AND TEACHING THEM HOW TO EAT IS OUR JOB!
So, let’s be real. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is junk. Yes, I said it. And it contains no nutritional value, nor does any other store-bought macaroni and cheese. Despite the labels and claims that milk “does a body good,” we all know differently. Instead, milk and other dairy products are poison, but kids are kids, and they like what they like.
So, the goal is to make our kids food they love just as much as the foods we inadvertently introduced them to when they were little. I am guilty of this as well. Instead of focusing on guilt, and “I wish I would have fed my kids better food,” we need to move forward and teach our children the value of quality whole foods that tastes better than the junk food they have learned to love.
KIDS DON’T DRIVE THEMSELVES THROUGH THE DRIVE-THRU!
Although parents are all busy at work, carpooling to sports, and other activities, stop making excuses about not having time to cook quality food for your family. Skip the drive-through and the boxed meals.
Instead, meals like Vegan Chili Mac can be made ahead of time, for the exception of the noodles, so when you get home from football, or your child’s sporting events during the school year, you can easily throw vegan chili mac together in 15 minutes or less. Prepping beforehand is the key, however, to having quality meals that can be prepared easily on the fly.
THE SECRET TO VEGAN CHILI MAC IS TO MAKE YOUR OWN OIL-FREE CHEESE SAUCE
One of my favorite creations is my Skinny Nacho Cheese Sauce. Not only is it oil-free, but Skinny Nacho Cheese Sauce can be used for a variety of recipes by simply adding or deleting some simple ingredients. For example, I use this sauce for:
- The Best Ultimate Vegan Lentil Black Bean Burrito Ever
- Skinny Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip Fat-Free and Fabulous
- Skinny Chili Cheese Dip
- Skinny Mustard Cheese Dip
- Tater Tot Nachos
- Vegan Guilt-Free Potato Nachos; A Game Day Treat!
- Skinny Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Mexican Lasagna
- Skinny Cauliflower Nachos
- Healthy Mac and Cheese
Additionally, I use the sauce on top of grilled fajita burritos, or you can serve with chips, or on top of a potato, broccoli, or anything else you like spicy and cheesy. As a result, you can make one batch of sauce, and use it for a variety of recipes throughout the week.
SO, WHAT’S IN THIS OIL-FREE NACHO CHEESE SAUCE? ONLY VEGETABLES BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
- 3 small Idaho potatoes, washed, scrubbed, skin left on
- 3 large carrots
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari, liquid aminos or soy sauce
- 1 Jalapeno; seeded and cut
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce (I used Chalupa)
- 1/2 cup water
And, it’s easy to make!
- Wash three averaged sized potatoes; cut into large chunks (leave skins on potatoes)
- Clean and cut three large carrots and chop them the same size as potatoes
- Place in a pot and cover with water
- Add a few sprinkles of salt to the water
- Boil for 20 minutes
- While potatoes are boiling, put the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, jalapeno, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, hot sauce, and soy sauce in a blender
- Drain potatoes and carrots
- Put potatoes and carrots into a blender; blend until smooth
- The mixture will be thick; add water
- Transfer ‘cheese’ mixture into a medium-sized saucepan
VARIATIONS AND WAYS TO MAKE IT MILD OR MAKE IT SPICIER
- Add a can of Rotel tomatoes (do not blend) for a nacho cheese dip
- Remove Jalapeño and hot sauce and add a Tablespoon of liquid smoke for a smokey cheese sauce
- Like it a little hotter? Add an adobe chili pepper
I use the sauce on top of grilled fajita burritos, or you can serve with chips, or on top of a potato, broccoli, or anything else you like spicy and cheesy.
THE CHILI ON TOP OF THE VEGAN CHILI MAC IS EASY AND CAN BE MADE IN ADVANCE
In order to make vegan chili mac, I use one of my favorite Vegan Chili Recipe! Regardless of what vegan chili recipe you choose, it works great as a second meal using leftovers to top your mac and cheese. For instance, any of these chili recipes can be made ahead of time and used for the top of vegan chili mac.
- Vegan Chili Recipe
- Vegan White Bean Chili
- Crockpot Butternut Squash Pinto Bean Chili
- Crockpot Three-Bean Mega Veggie Chili
- Vegan Coney Chili Sauce The Real Deal
MAKE AHEAD CHILI:
- 2 bags Beyond Meat Crumbles (pea protein); or 2 cups cooked lentils
- 2 cans Meur Glen Organic Tomato Sauce
- 1 can Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave out if you don’t like a little spice)
- 1 package vegan chili seasoning
Not only can you top the macaroni off with chili, but you can also add some tortilla chips for a little crunch!
If you have extra noodles, keep them in a separate container from the cheese sauce. You should reheat items separately for the best leftovers.
LOOKING FOR KID-FRIENDLY RECIPES THE WHOLE FAMILY WILL LOVE?
- Crunch Wrap Supreme Recipe
- Vegan Oil-Free Lentil Tacos
- Vegan Hungarian Goulash
- Oil-Free Vegetable No Fried Rice
- Cashew Miso Mac and Cheese Topped with Coconut Bacon
- Baked Tater Tots
- Tater Tot Nachos
- Vegan Coney Chili Sauce.The Real Deal
- Creamy Spicy Vegan Sausage Pasta
- Beet Burger
- BBQ Cauliflower
- Vegan Sloppy Joes
- Vegan Macaroni Salad