Need ideas for diary and gluten-free mac-n-cheese, please.
May 11, 2010 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend with a 6 yo who cannot eat foods with either dairy or gluten in them. The daughter desperately misses macaroni and cheese. They tried one mix (don't know the name) that dog even refused to eat. Ideas? Suggestions? Recipes?
posted by not that girl to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Please excuse typos. My excuse is that I'm feverish.
posted by not that girl at 10:29 AM on May 11, 2010

Though I've never read the magazine, and the title is terrible, you should check with the folks at Living Without. It's a magazine for people with dietary restrictions, including dairy and gluten, among others.

They might have a mac and cheese recipe, but I'd bet they have lots of other helpful info.
posted by bilabial at 10:37 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Amy's makes a disturbingly good vegan mac and cheese with rice pasta.
The "Vegan Rice Macaroni & Cheeze" on this page. You can get it at whole foods or similar health food stores. It's not a mix, it's in the frozen section.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:39 AM on May 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

This page has a few really nice looking recipes and suggestions. You can always replace the wheat pasta for rice pasta.
posted by watercarrier at 10:39 AM on May 11, 2010

You could definitely do something great with the tasty Tinkyada gluten-free pasta (made from brown rice) and soy cheese, although I can't give you a brand that I enjoy of that because I'm a lactose-aholic.
posted by Hiker at 10:39 AM on May 11, 2010

Amy's makes a gluten-free, dairy-free mac 'n' cheese. I can't vouch for it myself, but the daughter of one of my friends (who has similar food restrictions) seems to like it.
posted by scody at 10:40 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have any experience, but if you google for "vegan gluten free mac and cheese" or "gluten free mac and cheese dairy free" you get lots of hits. Like this one, for instance.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:40 AM on May 11, 2010

The Leahey brand of Mac N that everyone seems to be raving about is now available gluten-free.
posted by watercarrier at 10:42 AM on May 11, 2010

You can make a cheesy-tasting white sauce by making a roux from corn flour and olive oil, then slowly stirring in soymilk while heating gently. I believe a little bit of mild mustard and a little bit of soy sauce (but not so much that you can identify either) impart some of the savoury, umami, flavour that make it taste cheesier.

I've made a sauce like that and served it with San Remo gluten free pasta for a vegan, coeliac loved one, and it tasted pretty good.
posted by surenoproblem at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

As someone who usually cooks non-dairy, I find vegan recipes useful for all the different ways you can substitute dairy: rice or nut milks, tofu, etc. From there I find it easy to substitute out the gluten ingredients.

Here's an example of a really great vegan/non-dairy mac and cheese that you could make with rice pasta that should be a nice substitute for your daughter:

I find that a lot of vegan cookbooks are also great about other dietary sensitivities and will highlight recipes that are gluten free. Two titles that come to mind are Veganomicon and The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. The latter will help with a lot of cheesy sauce substitutions. Good luck!
posted by vurtlux at 10:49 AM on May 11, 2010

I would guess (although I haven't tried it myself, although the Internet backs me up on this) that your standard vegan "cheese" sauce (mostly nutritional yeast, flour and water and fat) can be made with gluten-free flours.

Road's End Organics has some gluten-free sauce mixes, but it may be cheaper to just make your own.

I've never found a good fake cheese (I don't mind the Galaxy vegan slices, but that's about it -- they don't really melt) and you'll probably never really make something that tastes the way macaroni and cheese did. But as far as something tasty that's creamy/sauces/gooey, you can definitely do that.
posted by darksong at 10:51 AM on May 11, 2010

Nthing Amy's - I've had both the dairy-free and the gluten-free (although not together, admittedly) and they are both perfectly acceptable.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:58 AM on May 11, 2010

Nthing nthing Amy's.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:13 AM on May 11, 2010

I'm obsessed with Amy's mac and cheese. I've had the mac and cheeze (the gluten- and dairy-free version) accidentally on occasion -- it may not be as good but it's still a good substitute.
posted by elisabethjw at 11:17 AM on May 11, 2010

What aspect of dairy is her problem? If it's lactose, then using hard cheese should be OK. (Soft cheese, such as "American Cheese", still has lactose in it, but a hard cheese like a good sharp cheddar shouldn't really be a problem.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:18 AM on May 11, 2010

Came here to suggest Amy's as well. I've never tried it, but my sister-in-law says it's not bad. Plus, it appears to be available everywhere.
posted by cgg at 11:19 AM on May 11, 2010

The Best Recipe (link to old edition like the one we have) has an amazingly good Mac'n'cheese recipe. For vegan cheese sauce, I put soy milk (reconstituted from dried, also ordered through Amazon) in a small sauce pan, grate vegan cheese and melt it in the soy milk on the stove, adding all the other ingredients called for (including a teeny bit of tabasco -- I don't like spicy foods at all, but a micro amount doesn't add spiciness).

The thing about vegan cheese is that, while some of it will melt, it doesn't melt as quickly or smoothly as regular cheese, so mixing it in with heated soy milk will assure that it melts well and you get an actual sauce.

Also, a block of vegan cheese is _close_ to the amount called for, but not exactly the correct measurement. I ignore that and just use one whole block of cheese -- it's close enough.

Make the pasta separately -- finding decent-enough gluten-free macaroni is up to you -- then mix the cheese sauce in with the cooked macaroni. Voila. You're done.

This is actually pretty quick to make. If you want to be creative, you could throw in some baby peas, or have some steamed broccoli on the side to take any leftover cheese sauce.

Also, I've had some great success putting the whole caboodle in a casserole disk and baking it for a while to get a lovely browned crust on top.

Here's my adaptation:

2 large eggs = 2 TBSP Bob's Red Mill egg substitute powder + 6 TBSP water
1 can evaporated milk = ~1/2 cup (approx.) this soy milk powder + 1-1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (tabasco sauce) - I use less, doesn't make it spicy
2 tsp salt - important
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (a few twists with the grinder)
1 tsp dry mustard
4 TBSP "butter" (I use Soy Garden - the soy seems to work better for cooking)

put all ingredients in sauce pan, making sure egg & milk powders dissolve. Put on medium heat. Then add:

12 oz vegan "cheddar" (or close to this amount, one block), grated.

stir occasionally until all cheese is melted. Then pour over:

1/2 pound cooked elbow macaroni.

Original recipe also includes toasted breadcrumbs or crumbled saltines sprinkled on top.
posted by amtho at 11:27 AM on May 11, 2010

Also, adding nutritional yeast to boxed mixes can make them seem a little "cheesier" and more umami-rich, if you ask me. The Veganomicon taught me that...
posted by at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, yes - I often add a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast to my recipe, too, although it's not strictly required.
posted by amtho at 11:40 AM on May 11, 2010

Nthing Amy's.

Whole Foods has great gluten free.
posted by k8t at 11:40 AM on May 11, 2010

Seconding Tinkyada They make the best gluten free noodles, and I've tried them all believe me.
posted by Max Power at 11:46 AM on May 11, 2010

Nthing the Amy's. My nine year old loves the Mac 'n' Cheese. She also really likes the Baked Ziti Kids Meal, but I'm not sure if that one is dairy free.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:53 AM on May 11, 2010

Daiya brand vegan cheese is gluten free and is so good that even I, a non-vegan with no other food restrictions, sometimes buy it in preference to real cheese just because it's so darned tasty. It melts like real cheese (including the delicious crispy edges if you're making grilled cheese) and would probably make a killer mac 'n' cheese.

It's newly available as an on-the-shelf product (until recently it was only available in 5lb bags and that kind of thing), so it might be a little hard to find. But so worth it!
posted by bubukaba at 11:54 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can no longer tolerate dairy. There's no cheese substitute that fills the craving for cheeeeese. It's easier to learn to love other foods. Faking it just makes me want the real thing.
posted by theora55 at 1:27 PM on May 11, 2010

Mac and Yease at Plum Bistro in Seattle was one of my favorite foods. I haven't tried this recipe, but it claims to be a recreation of that dish. Of course, it will probably need to be modified for the gluten aspect, but if it's even close to the original it is worth a try.
posted by dhalgren at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2010

Our seven year old is allergic to wheat, and was off dairies mostly.

We're in Europe, so our general approach to the problem will differ somewhat from other suggestions here, but might prove of use nonetheless. (Actually, we're in Italy, so our approach to Mac'n'Cheese differs radically, but, let's not let that get in the way.)

Though mileage may vary, you'll find that gluten ain't as simple an issue as it first looks; it might sound unlikely, but we've found that a slow introduction (in increments of one noodle per week) of organic Kamut pasta was a solution beyond any substitute. We've all switched to Kamut pasta now, since it's as good as the real stuff (well, OK, real Gragnano is still better, but that's beyond the scope of M'n'C anyway).

As regards the cheese, I'll second Chocolate Pickle: if it's the lactose - it usually is - go for hard cheese - however, instead of Cheddar, I'd suggest proper Parmigiano. Grated into some sort of (perhaps soymilk based?) binding liquid, you'd definitely get great cheese flavour right there.
posted by progosk at 2:17 PM on May 11, 2010

Another thought, if nuts aren't a problem, is to make a cashew "cheese" sauce (you could leave out the pimentos, probably, if you'd like). Wheat-free soy sauce/Bragg's Liquid Aminos would also be a good addition here (and I've been known to throw in a little bit of white miso into fake "cheesy" things for a bit of a sharp bite).

This makes me want to go experiment.
posted by darksong at 3:57 PM on May 11, 2010

Just to follow up on the dairy aspect - it is possible to react strongly to cows milk but not to other types. You may have looked into this already, but I thought it was worth mentioning as there are goat/sheep milk cheeses that will make a good sauce.
posted by crocomancer at 5:26 AM on May 12, 2010

Try Annies: mac and cheese
posted by stormpooper at 2:03 PM on May 12, 2010

Late to the party to say YES, Amy's! Mmmm so good.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 8:49 PM on June 8, 2010

Sorry, very very tired, Annie's!
posted by jitterbug perfume at 8:50 PM on June 8, 2010

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