Dynise Balcavage’s Thai-Centric Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Dynise Balcavage


Warning: this is not your grandma’s mac and cheese, although it’s every bit as comforting and decadent. This version is infused with extremely subtle Thai influences: it’s creaminess comes thanks to smooth and silky coconut oil and coconut creamer (Don’t worry! It’s much more figure-friendly than traditional mac and cheese.) And a sprinkle of red pepper flakes infuses the sauce with an assertive bit of heat, which balances beautifully against the sweetness. This recipe is easily doubled or even tripled.



  • 4 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked (gluten-free or regular)
  • 1 organic red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 T coconut creamer (or coconut milk)
  • 1 cup hemp, soy or rice milk (In order of preference)
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, or to taste


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions, but make sure it is staunchly al dente. It should remain slightly chewy. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, whiz together red pepper, sweet onion and carrot until it almost forms a paste.
  3. In a large sauce or soup pan, heat coconut oil over medium low. Toss in red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute or so to infuse the oil. Toss in the veggie paste and cook until fragrant and soft, about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the milk and the coconut creamer, then whisk in the nutritional yeast. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until it thickens slightly (If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer slightly longer. If you prefer a thinner sauce, reduce simmer time.)
  5. Add drained pasta to the sauce. Toss to coat and add salt.


  • Variations: Add 2 cups of any of the following during step 5: steamed broccoli or cauliflower, peas or corn, edamame, or chopped organic spinach.