Wednesday, March 31

Lightning salsa mac & cheez

Okay, this might not count as a recipe. You know when you get home at 7:30pm and you're so hungry that the cats' food starts to look tempting?

That's why we keep a few boxes of Roads End Organic Mac & Chreese in the pantry. We tried the brown rice pasta version a few years ago and didn't like it much. Luckily, it's gotten better or I've gotten better at preparing it. We gobbled this up and Erik asked for seconds, but there was none left-- we ate it all in one sitting.

There are many ways to riff off this recipe-- try a different salsa, change out the veggies, add different spices to go along with the flavor theme. You can also take it from a near-instant dish to a rather swank meal by forgoing the boxed mix and making a cheesy sauce from scratch. Here are three good ones:

Lightning salsa mac & cheez

Lightning salsa mac & cheez

vegan, gluten-free


  • 1 box Roads End Organic Penne & Chreese (with gluten-free brown rice pasta)

    That's 6oz of pasta or about 1 1/2 cups dry if you want to use your own.

  • 6oz of salsa

    That's 1/2 jar of Trader Joe's salsa verde, my favorite in this recipe.

  • 1 cup faux ham, chopped (or other faux meat, soy product or beans)

  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped (or spinach, or something green)

  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped (or carrots, or something red, orange or yellow)

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle

  • a handful of fresh minced cilantro


  • Boil pasta according to package directions. With wheat-free pasta it is CRITICAL not to overcook. Test at the shortest given time and every 30 seconds thereafter until ready, then drain and rinse for 2 minutes in cold water.

  • While the pasta boils, saute the faux ham and broccoli over medium heat in a covered nonstick frying pan. You might have to add a tablespoon or two of water to cook the broccoli all the way.

  • Melt 2 tbsp margarine in a saucepan and add the cheeze mix powder, or make your own cheeze sauce.

  • Add the spices to the saucepan, stir and heat through.

  • Now dump everything together in whichever pan will fit, mix thoroughly, and serve.

  • For an extra treat, smooth into an ovenproof casserole dish, cover with a thin layer of breadcrumbs (I have yet to find a panko replacement), sprinkle with sweet paprika, and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.


  1. Where do you get that box of Mac and Cheese? Sounds scrumdelicious!

  2. Whew, I've been trying to comment for days and the form hasn't worked.

    I get my mac & chreese from Food Fight Vegan Grocery in Portland-- they also sell it online. New Seasons carries it, too.


Photos, original recipes and text © Susan Kelley 2012. All rights reserved. Please credit me and link back to this site, or ask first.

Always read ingredient labels carefully (and re-read periodically) to make sure that products actually are vegan and/or gluten-free.