If you liked my original Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese recipe, you’ll love this new spicy Southwestern Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese version.
I decided to jazz up this classic and blog reader favorite with green chiles, fiery chipotle habanero sauce, and cracked roasted chickpea crumbs (you can find them on vitacost.com). I baked it in a cast iron skillet, which adds to the southwestern flair. It also make a nice presentation at a dinner party.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can bake it in a casserole dish instead. Just as delicious.
Better for You Comfort Food
In my kitchen, everything gets health-ified. This is a better for you indulgence because:
The pasta is made out of chickpeas. (No gluten in this kitchen). I used Banza chickpea pasta, but you can also try it with Ancient Harvest Pow! Pasta, Tinkyada brown rice pasta, or your favorite gluten-free pasta.
The sauce is made primarily from sweet potatoes (no dairy or cheese in sight).
The breadcrumbs are made from chickpeas.
That makes this mac and cheese vegan, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious.
Try This Southwestern Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese Recipe
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it (by clicking the stars in the upper right of the recipe card, below), and don’t forget to tag a photo @mariamarlowe or #mariamarlowe on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to see what you come up with!
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
- 2 tsp. + 3 Tbsp. avocado oil or coconut oil, liquified
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. hot sauce
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 8 oz chickpea pasta, or favorite gluten free pasta
- 3 cups of broccoli florets, chopped finely into small bite-size pieces
- 1/2 green chile, sliced thin (optional)
- chickpea crumbs (optional)
- Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, toss the sweet potato with 2 teaspoons of oil to coat thoroughly, lay out flat on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes until pieces are tender but not browned. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring water to a boil for the pasta. Cook according to package directions, and simply add the broccoli 30 seconds (if chopped small) to 1 minute (if slightly bigger pieces) before the pasta is done to quickly cook it. It will turn bright green. Drain. (Conversely, you could steam it separately, for 5-7 minutes, or until tender and bright green.)
- Meanwhile, while waiting for water to boil, combine one heaping cup of roasted sweet potato with 2 cups of almond milk in a blender. Process until smooth. Reserve any remaining sweet potato to use as topping for pasta. Set aside the sweet potato milk.
- Next, heat a skillet over medium heat, add the 3 tablespoons of oil and slowly add the flour, whisking constantly until thoroughly combined. Continue whisking about 3-5 minutes, taking care not to burn the flour. A nutty aroma will develop, which is when you can stir in the remaining ingredients: the sweet potato milk mixture, salt, garlic, hot sauce, mustard, soy sauce, and lime juice. Whisk often, bring to a boil, and then down to a simmer for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is done. The sauce will cook down and get thick.
- After the pasta and broccoli have been drained, pour into the skillet with sweet potato sauce, and if you have additional sweet potato cubes, add them as well. Stir well to coat.
- Transfer everything to a casserole dish and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. To serve, top it with additional green chiles, chickpea crumbs, and a tiny bit of hot sauce for color.
- If you want to speed this recipe up, you can omit the last step of baking the cooked pasta. It's still delicious without baking.
Maria Marlowe is a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach who uses real food to help her clients improve their health, weight, and skin. She offers meal plans, ongoing group workshops both in NYC and online, and writes healthy and delicious recipes for her popular blog. She is also the author of The Real Food Grocery Guide, the most practical guide to selecting the healthiest foods, without going broke. Praised by Dr. Oz and InStyle magazine, it was a #1 new release on Amazon.