20-year-old author and chef Haile Thomas joins WGN Weekend Morning News to share her recipe for ‘Straight Fire Mac and Cheese’, a plant-based take on the comfort food classic.

Thomas is a wellness and compassion activist who recently authored ‘Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power & Feed Your Potential.’

Straight Fire Mac and Cheese (2 to 4 servings)


Mac Sauce:

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup canned or home-cooked cannellini beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion power
  • 1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • Kosher salt

Noodles and Cheese:

  • 16 oz. gluten-free elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese of your choice


  • To make the mac sauce, place the carrot in a steamer basket (or a sieve or colander).
  • Fill a wide saucepan that can fit the steamer with about 1 inch water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the carrot in the steamer over the simmering water for 5 to 10 minutes, until carrot is tender.
  • Transfer carrot to a blender or food processor. Add cashews, beans, nutritional yeast, broth, vegan butter, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle powder and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.
  • To make noodles and cheese, cook macaroni to to al dente in large pot of boiling salted water.
  • Drain and transfer to a bowl.
  • Pour mac sauce and shredded vegan cheese over hot, freshly cooked pasta and stir, ensuring all pasta is covered with sauce. The hot pasta will heat the sauce.

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