If you’re someone who loves to host get-togethers, potlucks, and fun, casual parties at your place, then this recipe is dedicated to you 🙂

This delicious pasta bake with a creamy “cheese” sauce and a delightfully crispy breadcrumb topping is a certified crowd-pleaser that’s super easy to make. However, what I love the most about this dish is that you can prepare it several hours in advance. Just keep it in the fridge for up to a day in advance and bake just before serving. So convenient, right? You can also easily double the recipe if desired.

While this dish does contain “unhealthy” processed items like pasta and bread, it’s still quite “healthy” for a crowd-pleaser! If you’d rather prefer skipping the processed ingredients, you can use steamed cauliflower/broccoli in place of the pasta and skip the breadcrumb topping, sprinkling a couple of tablespoons of crushed toasted walnuts instead.

For a nut-free version, use this Vegan Nut-free Cheese Sauce instead of the one given in this recipe. Told ya, this recipe is so hassle-free and adaptable! Do try 🙂 !!

**Thanks a lot, Mugdha, for the pic 🙂 **

Preparation time: 1 hour, approx.

Serves 3

Ingredients for Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 cup chopped potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot (1 medium carrot)
  • ½ cup broken cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast extract (see note)
  • 1-2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper powder, to taste
  • Italian seasoning, to taste

Ingredients for Breadcrumb Topping:

  • 5-6 medium brown/white bread slices (ensure the bread’s vegan)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast extract (see note)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Italian seasoning, to taste

Other ingredients:

  • 2 cup pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup steamed peas/corn/broccoli

 Method for Breadcrumb Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (430 F). Roughly tear each bread slice into 6-8 pieces.
  2. Spread the bread pieces on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes until light golden brown. The baking time needed depends on the moisture content of the bread. So, check at 10 minutes and bake for a few more minutes if required.
  3. Once cooled, transfer to a mixer jar along with nutritional yeast, salt, and Italian seasoning. Grind into a coarse powder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to a week.

Method for Cheese Sauce:

  1. In a pressure cooker, cook potato pieces, carrot pieces, and cashews with 2 cups of water over high heat for 4 whistles. Let it cool down.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a grinder jar. Add 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast extract and 1 tablespoon ACV. Blend till smooth. Taste and add more ACV as required. Mix in the salt and spices.

How to make Vegan Cheesy Pasta Bake:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Keep aside.
  2. In a big mixing bowl, toss together the cooked pasta and steamed veggies with the cheese sauce. Add some plant milk if you find the sauce too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle liberally with the bread crumbs.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C (390 F). Serve hot!

Note:

To order nutritional yeast extract, mail Bhupi Maru at bonappetit@auromail.net or call him at +91 9894030284 and enquire for their product list. While Bon Appetit is not a vegan enterprise, it has a variety of vegan goodies. Check it out!