The Washington Post

Green Chile Mac

Green Chile Mac 3.000

Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post

Plant-Powered Newsletter Jun 18, 2019

This mac and “cheese” uses all the tricks in the plant-based toolbox to make for one supremely satisfying cheeseless pasta dish. Chief among them: the aforementioned “nooch.” Grab some at your grocery or online and add a few shakes to plant-based dishes.

Serve with a side salad.

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Make Ahead: This dish is best served the day it’s made. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days; reheat on the stove top with a drizzle of oil; add a pinch of salt as needed.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 3 servings

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces dried pasta shells (medium-size)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (see NOTE)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, or more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón), plus more for garnish
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) frozen cubed butternut squash
  • 2 ounces (1/3 cup) roasted salted cashews
  • One 4-ounce can diced mild green chiles, drained
  • Ground cumin, for garnish

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Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package directions, then drain. (A word to the wise: Those directions can sometimes be off, so we recommend tasting a few minutes before the package indicates. You’ll want to catch the pasta when it’s just tender, but still firm on the inside.)

While the pasta cooks, let’s make that “cheese” sauce: Whisk together the coconut milk, oil, broth, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika and the ½ teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Add the frozen butternut squash and cashews. Cook over medium-low heat, barely bubbling at the edges, for 10 minutes.

Transfer the sauce ingredients to a blender, add 3 tablespoons of the green chiles and puree to form a smooth, cheesy-looking sauce. (A high-powered blender such as a Vitamix makes quick work of it; if you’re using a standard blender you may need to add a splash more broth.) Taste, and add more salt as needed.

Return the drained pasta to the pot, then stir in the sauce and the remaining green chiles. Scoop into bowls or on plates, garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and cumin, and dig in.

NOTE: Thoroughly stir the coconut milk before using, to reincorporate its fat. You’ll also use most of the remaining coconut milk from a 15-ounce can in the Veggie-Loaded Red Curry.

Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser, of

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 520

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 18g 28%

Saturated Fat: 5g 25%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 580mg 24%

Total Carbohydrates: 78g 26%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 15g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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