Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheese.

Meet my dinner last night: Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheez. Totally served up seconds with this dish on the table.

Thick and creamy, spicy "cheese" sauce coats tender pasta shells. Dollop on a few more spoonfuls of sauce and pile on spicy, crispy, sizzling nubbins of Field Roast chipotle sausage - sautéed with zesty diced onion. The final step: green, fresh, fragrant chopped cilantro on top.

Each bite pairs bold spiciness with cozy, oozy, creaminess. And while this pasta is totally decadent - it's also loaded with healthy stuff! Sweet potatoes and beans anyone? Recipe ahead..

Sin Meets Goodness. This recipe is for satisfying your cheesy mac cravings. Or, cheesy shell cravings. So yes there is some serious decadence in this recipe. But I actually was totally out of Daiya and pre-made vegan cheese - so there is none in this recipe. The creaminess comes from some Earth Balance vegan butter and Silk plain vegan creamer. Richness complete.

But don't brush this off as a 'bad for you' dish. This sauce is amped up with a full can of white beans and a hefty dose of whole roasted sweet potato. Plus a nice scoop of nutritional yeast. And if you really want to purify your mac - simply reduce the vegan butter and switch out the soy creamer for soy milk.

Inspired by What? Do you remember those 90's commercials for Velveeta cheesy salsa. They'd cube the neon orange, weird processed "cheese" chunks and microwave them with a jar of bottled salsa and "voila!" - you have a crazy orange concoction of cheese sauce with salsa. Salsa cheese dip. Well I loved that commercial. It just looked fun. And how genius to pair orange, sharp cheese with bold chunky salsa for instant dip enjoyment! :)

..But of course, the components of that recipe are pretty appalling to me now. And not vegan. Fake cheese and bad salsa doesn't really turn me on - so I took what I liked about that recipe (the cheese meets salsa) and veganized it to yumminess for this Spicy Chipotle Cheesy Pasta. Filing this recipe under -> cravings.

Funny how inspiration often comes from the dark food-memory-filled corners of my brain.

Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheese with Cilantro + Crispy Bits

Kathy Patalsky

Published 12/06/2011

Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheese with Cilantro Crispy Bits

Delicious spicy mac and cheese spin, made using sweet potato cheez sauce. I used Field Roast for the crispy bits on top!


  • 6 cups of cooked pasta shells
  • Cheese Sauce:
  • 5 Tbsp Earth Balance, vegan butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed, baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup spicy salsa, chunky OR 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Topping:
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 spicy chipotle vegan sausages, Field Roast used - diced into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. (Pasta has been cooked and set aside) -- Sauce: Add all the sauce ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour sauce into a small sauce pot and simmer on medium until bubbling, reduce heat to low and simmer on low until ready to use.
  3. Warm a skillet over high heat with the EVOO. Add in the vegan sausages, onion and optional mushroom. Saute for 2-4 minutes or until onions begin to caramelize and sausage bits crisp up on the edges.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cooked pasta with a cup or more of the sauce. Plate the pasta and add more sauce on top to taste. Top with the crispy bits and cilantro. Serve!

Yield: 8 cups, 4 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.

Total time: 30 mins.

Tags: pasta,mac and cheese,entree,dinner,vegan,spicy,shells,cheese sauce,


* For extra cheesy pasta, toss the warm pasta in an extra scoop of nutritional yeast before adding sauce.

* You could even serve with an extra spoonful of salsa over top each plate of pasta.

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