Vegan Panang Mac & Cheese Recipe –
James and I have finally done it! We have created for you guys the most epic vegan Panang mac and cheese recipe you have ever tried! This delicious mac and cheese features our favorite curry paste: Panang! If you have never tried Panang curry, you are in for a treat. This easy mac and cheese recipe is cheesy, luscious, and has a perfect kick to diversify this comfort classic. With a hint of garlic, shallots, and peanuts, this plant-based mac and cheese is sure to make you go back for seconds.
I know, curry combined with cheese isn’t your typical combo, however, Panang curry is so savory it melds perfectly with our luscious vegan cheese sauce. James and I regularly visit a local Thai restaurant near our house and I literally always order the Panang Curry. I can’t get away from it’s savory, spicy, sweet taste. What sets Panang apart from your typical red curry is the aroma of garlic, shallots, lime, and peanuts. It has the perfect combination of umami and tang to upgrade any vegan cheese sauce.
I sold James on the idea of making this recipe after I explained my method: rather than adding miso paste (like I typically do when I make a vegan cheese sauce) for that perfect aged-cheese flavor, why not use Panang and incorporate its bold taste and spicy kick?! Hesitant at first, he gave in to my antics and sat down to evaluate my creation. Boy, was he amazed! I first make the roux to ensure the cheese sauce is creamy and thick. Adding Panang curry paste to that roux makes this vegan mac and cheese sauce one you’ll be adding on all your dishes!
This plant-based recipe is not only packed with flavor, but it’s also super easy and quick to whip up any day of the week! You can also store away leftovers and enjoy as your lunch for the days to come. It lasts in the fridge for about a week, though I doubt it’ll lay around for that long. Talk about awesome meal planning, huh? This recipe is for those who enjoy a little kick in their meals but it can be reduced to only 1 tsp if you are sensitive to heat. We recommend giving this recipe a try and let us know in the comments below how it turned out for you!
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Vegan Panang Mac & Cheese
- In a large pot, bring pasta water to a boil with ¼ tsp of salt and olive oil to cook the elbow pasta until al dente as you make the Panang cheese sauce.
- Meanwhile, on medium heat melt ¼ cup vegan butter in a saucepan and slowly toss in flour to make a roux until a paste forms.
- Add 1 tbsp Panang paste to the roux and stir until a fully combined paste has formed.
- Slowly stir in 2 cups of non-dairy milk as the sauce becomes creamy and thick.
- Once the sauce is lump-free and is creamy, add an entire package of vegan cheddar shreds and stir until it has completely melted. Your sauce should be luscious and cheesy at this point.
- Once the pasta is al dente and the Panang mac and cheese sauce is ready, drain the pasta and combine with our cheesy Panang mac sauce and serve with chopped green onions over top.
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