Recipe: Veggie Mac & Cheese

Recipe: Veggie Mac & Cheese
3.93 (78.57%) 237 votes

A cruciferous spin on macaroni and cheese, this recipe takes comfort food to a whole new level, and is a tasty way to check off a few servings on the Daily Dozen checklist. This recipe comes from Kristina, our Social Media Director.





8 oz of 100% whole grain or bean pasta (240g)

4 cups chopped kale (150g, or 5-6 leaves)

2 cups diced tomatoes (5 tomatoes)

2 cups chopped broccoli (240g, or 2 small heads)

1 cup water (240ml)

½ cup raw cashews (75g)

¼ cup nutritional yeast (4 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon white miso paste

Black pepper, to taste

Nutty Parm, optional


  1. Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package, then set aside.
  2. Sauté the kale, tomatoes, broccoli until lightly cooked. Use 1-2 tablespoons of water at a time if needed to keep the veggies from sticking to the pan. 
  3. In a blender, combine the water, cashews, nutritional yeast, turmeric, black pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and miso paste. Blend until smooth. 
  4. Add the veggies to the pot with the pasta. Pour over the cashew sauce, and stir. Cook the dish lightly until the sauce warms up, then serve. Top with Nutty Parm if you’d like.

Note: Feel free to add crushed red pepper or other herbs and spices you enjoy.


Image credit: Kristina DeMuth




8 oz of 100% whole grain or bean pasta (240g)

4 cups chopped kale (150g, or 5-6 leaves)

2 cups diced tomatoes (5 tomatoes)

2 cups chopped broccoli (240g, or 2 small heads)

1 cup water (240ml)

½ cup raw cashews (75g)

¼ cup nutritional yeast (4 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon white miso paste

Black pepper, to taste

Nutty Parm, optional


  1. Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package, then set aside.
  2. Sauté the kale, tomatoes, broccoli until lightly cooked. Use 1-2 tablespoons of water at a time if needed to keep the veggies from sticking to the pan. 
  3. In a blender, combine the water, cashews, nutritional yeast, turmeric, black pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and miso paste. Blend until smooth. 
  4. Add the veggies to the pot with the pasta. Pour over the cashew sauce, and stir. Cook the dish lightly until the sauce warms up, then serve. Top with Nutty Parm if you’d like.

Note: Feel free to add crushed red pepper or other herbs and spices you enjoy.


Image credit: Kristina DeMuth

Doctor's Note

Last month, we brought you a recipe video for Easy Veggie Tacos, and today we have Veggie Mac & Cheese from Kristina, our Social Media Director.

I hope you don’t mind these occasional breaks from the science. The other recipe videos have been really popular so we thought we’d continue to mix it up. In addition to the recipe videos, I also have a few on cooking methods:

Stay tuned for a video on pressure cooking in a few weeks.

And for the rest of the recipe videos, see:

To see the written recipe, click over to the transcript or go here.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

187 responses to “Recipe: Veggie Mac & Cheese

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      1. Cheese and macaroni are both to be avoided!

        Cheese concentrates all of the animal hormones and toxic feed residue that were in the cows who produced it. And of course pasta is almost immediately converted into sugar after it is consumed.

        Dip the broccoli in nut or olive oil instead. Wash down with a glass of kombucha.

        1. Isn’t kombucha dangerous?

          ‘Kombucha “mushroom” tea is touted to have medicinal properties. Here, we present a case of hyperthermia, lactic acidosis, and acute renal failure within 15 hours of Kombucha tea ingestion’

          ‘A 54-year-old asthmatic woman presented to hospital with a 10-day history of breathlessness. On examination, she was tachypnoeic with mild wheeze. She had preserved peak flows and was saturating at 100% on room air. Investigations revealed severe metabolic lactic acidosis. On further questioning, it transpired that she drank kombucha tea, which has been linked to lactic acidosis. She made a full recovery with supportive management and cessation of the tea.’

        2. Read the recipe. No dairy, no animal products. That’s why it’s amazing. I used green lentil pasta, try that. Also, no oil, just saute in water.

  1. The picture says it all. I have all the ingredients on hand. Looking forward to it. Yummy eating. Thanks for sharing it with us Krista. How many ‘servings’ would you say for this? I’ll use fresh raw garlic with my garlic press. Press it, let it sit for a while then sauté it with the other veggies. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Be Well!

    1. Hi Wegan, as others have mentioned, cook until the sauce warms up. You’ll want to stir often as the sauce may start to thicken as it heats. Baked Mac & Cheese sounds like a great idea though. I haven’t tried it with this exact recipe before, but that sounds pretty tasty!
      In good health,
      Kristina, Social Media Director

    1. Hi Suzanne, Glad to hear you’re interested in trying the recipe! You can find it under the transcript button, and there is also a link to it in the Doc Notes.

  2. Personally, I am not interested in recipes. There are tons of sites with good whole-food plant-based recipes. I come here for the science.

    1. A considerable number of NF fans have come to eat wfpb without salt, oil, sugar because of overweight, heart or other vascular disease, high cholesterol and are seeking to avoid nuts, avocado, sugars, commercially prepared condiments.

      The recipe today and last month both featured cashew cream sauce. This is not doing many of us any favors. Anyone can cook with fat and sugar. Making food tast good without it is the challenge.

      1. Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too. Your body definitely needs fat. However getting them from refined isolated oils is not near as healthy as getting them from whole foods like nuts. This is the entire premise of the China Study, Plant Pure, Forks Over Knives, How Not to Die, and any other WFPB diet. Nuts and avocados are both whole foods that are very nutritional.

          1. Right on! Dr. Esselstyn says if your cholesterol is above 150 don’t eat nuts. If it’s under that then a SMALL amount like a handful a day is okay. as long as it doesn’t raise your cholesterol. Forget the nutty parm in this recipe since it’s mostly nuts and use white beans instead of the cashews.

        1. Sydney, could you please post the link for where Dr Greger reports that nuts reverse arterial plaque? Thanks!

          I have seen the many videos mentioning that nuts are not harmful to the endothelium and have dillated blood vessels in trials, but then that isn’t the same as ‘reversing arterial plaque’ now is it. Glad you are doing well.

            1. Hi Marilyn! Thanks for the link, and yes I have seen the videos talking about mortality etc. But I don’t think Dr Greger ever made the claim that nuts reverse arterial plaque (a la Esselstyn). As much as I love wb, and I use a tbsp od flax daily, and 1 walnut, I think we have to be careful of putting claims in pele’s mouths. As a side note, over half the studies used nuts in place of meat, dairy or worse, so an improvement wasn’t a surprise. Nice to see results on a wb population!

              1. Barb

                I think that the reasoning here is that LDL-cholesterol lowering has been shown to regress arterial plaque. Nut consumption lowers LDL cholesterol. Therefore nut consumption should help reverse arterial plaques. A not unreasonable opinion.

                However, I believe that you are absolutely right that this has never been demonstrated in experimental studies.

                1. Oops. I have just watched the nut video that Marilyn helpfully posted.

                  It does mention that a substudy of the Predimed study found some carotid artery plaque reversal in those eating a Mediterranean diet with added nuts.

                  BTW, I found this statement intriguing

                  ‘in all nuts, most of the antioxidants are located in the pellicle or outer soft shell, and ≥50% of them are lost when the skin is removed (27). This fact, rarely taken into consideration in prior feeding trials with nuts, should not be overlooked in future studies. Walnuts are an exception, because they are almost always consumed as the raw product with skins. Recent studies have shown that almond (38,39) and peanut (40) skins are very high in antioxidants.’

                  I wonder if this might be a topic for a future video?

                    1. Yes, the skins.

                      Although if you steam or boil certain nuts, you can eat the shell 0in my experience). Whether we should or whether doing so delivers harms or benefits, though, I have no idea.

      2. Low Fat Pls,

        You can almost always substitute cooked white beans (or any beans if you don’t care about the color change) for the cashews. I learned that from Chef AJ.

      3. This recipe doesn’t contain much fat (around 8 grams/serving from the nuts), no avocados, no added sugar or commercially prepared condiments. The amount of nuts present are well within Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen recommendation. I understand that you might prefer to avoid nuts, as Dr. Esseltyn suggests, but to imply that recipes on NF rely on fat and sugar seems like an overstatement.

        1. chessdan, I said no such thing about NF recipes. I said that the recipe this morning, and the recipe last month both featured cashew cream sauce. That’s it.

      4. Low Fat pls,

        Yes, but Dr. Greger’s philosophy is based on the Adventists who even within the Vegan community, it was the nut eaters who had superior longevity and the Global Burden of Disease which listed not eating nuts and seeds in their Top 5 “dietary risk factors” for developing disease.

        Dr. Fuhrman pointed out that Dr. Ornish, when he did his heart study, it wasn’t exceedingly low in fat.

        That being said, none of the doctors, including Dr. Greger recommend “snacking” on nuts at any level and when people eat cheeze sauces, it is easy to go overboard.

        I think I have seen a few vegan cheezes on YouTube where they replace the nuts with white beans and one where they replace the nuts with potatoes.

        I think High Carb Hannah might have been one of those.

        1. Deb

          My understanding is that the Adventist study results regarding nuts only related to coronary heart disease not total mortality.

          Can you cite an article in one of the professional journals that supports your statement? Thanks..

            1. I will search for it. What I remember is that the person specifically emphasized that the nut benefit remained even when comparing vegan to vegan and I am pretty sure it was mortality.

              I am in the middle of something, but I will try to find it.

              1. The Disease Burden Risk Study or whatever it was called had a list of dietary risks and not eating nuts was higher on their risk list than eating too much meat.

                Not eating enough fruits and vegetables were higher still on the risk list and those were up there on the all types of risks list.

                But there is a stupidly hiddenly dietary risks list with the risk of all diseases tied to not eating

                Nuts and Seeds
                Whole Grains

                That is a study Dr Greger quotes often because not eating fruit was the biggest dietary risk factor, but the Adventists, not eating nuts was higher, I believe (and it may be because they all eat fruits and vegetables.)

                    1. Tom,

                      I feel that frustration often.

                      Even the Global Burden of Disease risks, I read a PDF with the dietary risk factors listed very nicely and I tried to find it again a few times and gave up. I did find a site which listed them in a sentence, but the order for their sentence wasn’t exactly the same.

                      That is one, which interests me.

                      Dr. Greger often discusses low fruit intake being linked to disease, and Dr. Fuhrman and Brenda Davis and Dr. Greger have discussed nuts in that study and The Adventist Study and I am wondering if more people eat vegetables, for instance.

                      I am not wording it properly but animal products and refined carbs and sugar aside, it seems like the more important factor is eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and getting enough Omega 3’s and Calcium. I can’t remember if any other nutrient or micronutrient was on the list. Vitamin D or Zinc or Iodine or Selenium or Magnesium, etc.

                      Mentally, I have been thinking about groups like the Fruitarians. They have a lot of the “top” risk-reducing factor, fruit, but they are missing the rest.

                      I am wondering if fruit is the biggest risk-factor, maybe because more people eat vegetables. If you take away vegetables from half the people, do vegetables become the biggest risk factor? If you have a situation like the Adventists, where people eat fruit and vegetables and grains, is that where nuts become the biggest risk factor?

                      It seems like there were studies, like PREDIMED, which had legumes in the biggest risk factor. Not sure if that is true. That is what I mentally memorized, maybe a false memorization from the beans videos. Sometimes the short-hand memory markers aren’t perfect.

                      I say it though because, if I give an example of people eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, but some people don’t eat beans, is that worse or not different.

                      Laughing, sorry, I don’t know how to put words to my thoughts.

                      My brain is wondering if going grain-free and eating WFPB is worse than eating WFPB with grain.

                      You can insert the nuts and the fruit and vegetables and vegan sources of calcium, one at a time and remove them again and tell me whether it is the 3 Musketeers or whether we need d’Artagnan or whether we need the Avengers (superfood-oriented) etc.

                      Sorry. I am having messy thinking today. I am watching that because I have been getting better with the fats and I am not sure if I am going to start going backward.

                    2. ‘To identify protective dietary predictors amongst long-lived elderly people (N=785), the “Food Habits in Later
                      Life” (FHILL) study was undertaken among five cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia. Between
                      1988 and 1991, baseline data on food intakes were collected. There were 785 participants aged 70 and over
                      that were followed up to seven years. Based on an alternative Cox Proportional Hazard model adjusted to age
                      at enrolment (in 5-year intervals), gender and smoking, the legume food group showed 7-8% reduction in
                      mortality hazard ratio for every 20g increase in daily intake with or without controlling for ethnicity (RR 0.92;
                      95% CI 0.85-0.99 and RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.87-0.99, respectively). Other food groups were not found to be
                      consistently significant in predicting survival amongst the FHILL cohorts. ‘

          1. Check out the series of videos on YouTube from VegSource’s Jeff Nelson about nuts, I found them overblown but also kind of hilarious, in a juvenile sort of way. He even gets into a rift with a certain well known nutritarian doctor. Here’s his synopsis…
            “Somebody has to say it – certain vegan “experts” repeatedly distort research around nuts. It may not be their fault, they’re being duped or are merely sloppy, or are accustomed to relying on and promoting very weak evidence. It’s time to shed some light on how studies are twisted and agendas are driven by borderline scientific malfeasance. This is the first in a series of videos examining how science is manipulated by the food industry in order to push certain food products.”

      5. Hi There!
        Many times instead of cashews for sauces I use a baked or boiled potato, sweet potato or zucchini because they make a nice thick sauce and will absorb the flavors of the spices with no oils. Try it sometime! Yesterday I made a thick soup with potato, sweet potato & zucchini and added lots of mushrooms so it was a thick mushroom soup and then I added a whole bag of blue kale so it was delicious with smoked paprika on top!! You can cook the kale in the soup but I like it crunchy so I just add it at the end. These starches can thicken sauces soups and dressings!!

        1. WTG Maria, I often do the same for both health (weight) and finances… nuts are pricey! Oats are a very versatile sub too, though I think my favorite sub is white beans, they puree into a creamy thick sauce with all kinds of benefits. I batch cook a big bag of dry beans in my Instant pot at the beginning of the week and use them in all kinds of dishes. When I started thinking outside the box I found even more uses, for ex… we were at a dim sum restaurant when I realized that the delicious filling inside a steamed bun was sweetened beans, so have even incorporated beans into the rare dessert, in place of flour. I love to eat and have learned to love the challenge of making food that tastes good healthy!

        2. Thank you very much. I am cooking for someone who is deathly allergic to tree nuts. Maybe sweet potatoes and/or white beans would make a good sub for the cashews in this recipe.

    2. Then I suggest you read and watch only what interests you. Why even comment?

      I appreciate the science AND the recipes. Thank you for all the work you do, nutritionfacts

      1. Mister Impatient was just expressing a personal opinion (as he made crystal-clear when he began by saying ‘personally’).

        Also, we should remember that the site encourages viewers to provide feedback on what they want more of (and less of). Therefore I see his comment as as intended to be helpful not critical.

        For the record, I too have no interest in recipes and come here for the science.

        If I wanted recipes, I would go to a site specialising in that kind of stuff. However, I acknowledge that recipe videos and blogs are a cheap, quick and easy way of producing content. Which is probably the real reason they are provided here. Some people love ’em of course.

        1. I agree that the comment was meant to be feedback.

          And, I agree that I prefer the science videos, but I realistically know that Dr. Greger just read over 1500 articles to prepare for his Fasting Webinar and will be promoting his book and doing speaking engagements and I love that he has taken on bigger topics in that format.

          He is trying to please everyone and the most-watched videos on this site are not the science videos. It is diet-related videos. He knows what people watch and what they don’t watch and I feel like he is trying his best to please everyone, but the silent majority, who don’t leave comments on the site are watching things like his oatmeal videos more than they are watching the complex science videos.

          So, yes, those of us who are trying to learn the science add our voice to make sure we are counted, but in the end, I trust that he is genuinely looking at the numbers and these recipe videos help people who are trying to refine their diets and who need recipe ideas.

        2. Yep, some of us appreciate the encapsulated help with ideas for applying the science to real life applications. Knowledge is power… especially when you use it!
          I enjoy and appreciate the occasional recipe maximizing the healthiest foods that also tastes great!

  3. Could you please also write the ingredients and method in the “Doctor’s Notes” section? That would be very helpful for any and all recipes you post. Thank you!

    1. Hi John, the written recipe is in the transcript section, and there is a link to it in the Doc Notes. Hope that helps!

  4. I’m preparing it now, but with raw garlic instead of powdered. I’m also using almond flour instead of cashew. I know cashew is creamier. But hey, I have to use it up and the almond flour let’s me make a great salad dressing. I think this noodle recipe sauce could be used as a kinda Caesar dressing too. The recipes are a nice addition and makes one THINK. Smoked paprika is nice too. I have that on hand instead of the plain. Be well!

    1. Hi Ruthie, sounds tasty! That’s what I love about cooking, there are so many alterations you can do to make something your own. I love experimenting in the kitchen and being creative. Happy cooking!

      In good health,
      Kristina, Social Media Director

  5. I liked the video, and the recipe. I learn by watching, so enjoy the cooking demonstration.

    And it’s very different from the Mac and Cheese recipe in the How Not to Die cookbook (p 143); luckily for me, this recipe looks easier.

    So, I’ll be copying and saving the recipe to try. Because I like my veggies tender, and my tomatoes almost raw, I’d probably pre-cook the veggies in my Instant Pot first, then continue with the recipe.

    1. A follow-up to my original comment:

      I made the recipe, modified as I suggested previously:
      I first cooked the pasta in my Instant Pot, then set it aside in a bowl;
      I steamed the chopped broccoli (in the bottom of the steamer basket) and chopped kale (on top of the broccoli) for 2 min at high pressure, quick release;
      I chopped fresh tomatoes, and added to the pasta, along with the steamed broccoli and kale;
      Then I used the steaming liquid to make the sauce, poured it over that pasta-veggie mix, and served.

      It’s easily heated in the microwave in individual bowls (which are microwave safe; I didn’t know if my old big bowl was).

      And the results were very good. This recipe is easily modified. I added powdered mustard at the table, but thought I might like to add Dijon mustard to the sauce. Other veggies could include frozen peas and beans, carrots, etc

    1. Protein deficiency is a myth perpetuated by the saturated fat industry.
      Corn, whole grains, oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, asparagus, broccoli, tomato, etc, etc, etc, all have complete protein in sufficient amounts to satisfy WHO standards (see “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall). What you need to worry about is getting too much protein on SAD (standard American diet).

    2. Hi Esther – Thanks for your question! If you are struggling to tolerate whole beans, you could try hummus, tofu, or tempeh instead while monitoring your tolerance, or you may consider a digestive aid product like beano ( Always remember to talk with your doctor before starting any new products/medications.

      In addition, as long as you are consuming enough calories during the day, then you are likely getting enough protein too. Also, try to include some other protein foods in your daily diet such as 1-2 servings of nuts/seeds or nut/seed butters, at least 3 servings of whole grains (example: oats, whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice), and freely enjoy softer, well-cooked veggies based on your individual tolerance.

      I hope this helps give you some ideas that work for you!
      -Janelle (Registered Dietitian & Health Support Volunteer)

      1. I would like to add that you watch Mic. the Vegan’s YT video about fibre.
        Search for fibre challenged. Information like that provided in the video deserves more attention.

  6. Low Fat Pls: I understand agree with your your concern about recipes that eschew fat and still taste good… anyone can make things that state good by adding salt-oil-sugar, even if it’s whole-food, plant-based salt-oil-sugar.

    My hack for substituting oil / nut-sauces is to use a 1:1 cannellini/great-northern bean purée substitution. If it’s going to be used in a sauce like a salad dressing, then it needs to be run through a Breville/VitaMix monster blender. But in a casserole like this, an immersion blender would do the trick

    1. Ralph Rhineau, thank you so much for your helpful suggestion! It means a lot to me, especially when landing in a food rut after many years wfpb. I will buy white beans this week and see what I can put together. I have a food processor that pulverizes things so it should work. Thanks again!

    1. April,

      “So kale is off the hook: it only contains 17 milligrams of oxalate to spinach’s hundreds of milligrams of oxalate. Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard are oxalate dense vegetables. ” (

      So the recipe doesn’t look like an oxalate bomb to me. I’m not sure where you got your information. Or, maybe you have to avoid oxalate altogether?

    2. Are you one of the ones who has genetic predisposition to kidney stones?

      Is that what is on your mind?

      Most people don’t get stones, even eating spinach, but I do remember that Dr. Greger did say not to

      Animal protein and Sodium intake are more linked to calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones than calcium or oxalates.

      Vegetables with oxalates are often part of a diet which lowers the risk.

      Spinach was the only vegetable, which got people in trouble, but people were drinking lots and lots of smoothies.

      The example of a woman who did get in trouble with spinach, it was when she drank 10 spinach smoothies with 2-cups of spinach per smoothie.

      20-cups is too much.

      1. Before I quit animal products I made enough kidney and gallstones to build a wall… not to tempt fate but none since and I eat far more oxalate rich foods than ever.

        1. Vegetater,

          Pretty amazing how some diet changes can impact one’s system…. and in a very positive manner.

          Keep up the good work and remember to check your system periodically since you’ve had these issues in the past.

          One easy suggestion for a self care method which is not a substitute for a good microscopic view of your urine, collect a sample of your overnight urine (first pee of the morning) and let it sit in a clean clear jar. If you see sediment on the bottom after a few hours it’s a potential warning that you might look a bit more into being tested.

          As a note you can get very inexpensive lenses for your own phone that act as a reasonable microscope and check your urine yourself. For a chart of comparison crystals to check see:

          Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  7. Yes, I use the beans purée in the nutrition blender for a salad dressing and Mac cheesiest with a tad more nutritional yeast. Add lots of other stuff based on tastes desired. Even adding more water. I have a vitamix that I rarely use as I don’t need huge portions and I just let the small device run longer if needed. It is so handy to use and easier to wash/clean. Immersion blender I use in bean soup to slightly thicken the ‘soup’ but not blend all the beans.

  8. recipe very good, just technical note. Leave 3-4 more seconds when you list for than 1 ingredient. No way to follow when there are >4 to mix together. Goes by way too fast for a slow reader

    1. Frank,

      I agree.

      I had to rewind a few times to see what was written on the screen.

      I know that we can look at the recipe, but it is almost distracting to have something written and not be able to read it.

    1. Joe,

      There isn’t a direct study that I saw, but there is a study where people were offered things like quinoa and they were trying to lower the IGF-1 from meat.

      Could you figure out how much quinoa it took to raise it?

      Soy will also raise it, but it takes a lot of servings of it.

      Meaning you don’t have to not eat soy, but you need to not eat really big portions.

      1. 3-5 servings of soy per day seems to be the safe limit to receive the benefits but not increase IGF-1. Since quinoa/amaranth are also high quality proteins, I’d imagine there would be a safe limit for their intake but I wouldn’t like to guess. I’d like to see a video from Dr Greger on this.

    2. I did find an article that showed an IGF-1 increase in children after daily feeding with quinoa for 2 weeks.

      Whether long term feeding of well-nourished adults would have the same effect is unknown. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it especially considering the very high polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio and that you probably wouldn’t be eating large amounts every day anyway..

      1. Interesting. What effect does the fat ratio have on IGF-1? What would you consider a large amount? I am underweight eating wfpb so I’m having to rely heavily on large servings of grains for calories. Thanks!

        1. Yes, I am interested, too.

          I saw these sentences in the article and know that I don’t fully understand IGF-1.

          The”changes in nitrogen balance” sentence sounds interesting to me.

          The increase of IGF-1 levels during the supplementation period is in concordance with Cossack (1991) and Lopez-Jaramillo et al. (1992) who reported an increase of IGF-1 level in the blood when a good dietary protein was provided to the subjects. The increase of the plasma level of IGF-1depends on the quality of the supplement diet(Cossack, 1991) and the nutritional intake is an important regulator of plasma somatome-din-C (IGF-1). The changes of IGF-1 are correlated with changes in nitrogen balance(Underwood et al., 1986)

          1. Also, I am interested in this concept of how minerals, like magnesium, selenium, and zinc, seem to be important determinants of IGF-1 bioactivity.

            1. Well, I found an article on that and I will say to the WFPB vegan who is underweight, I would be less worried about IGF-1 being elevated, particularly if you are getting older. Meaning, too low IGF-1 can be related to a decline in function and frailty, particularly if you have other deficiencies.



              I found a few cases where they mentioned if IGF-1 is too low and Interleukin 6 is high, there is an increase in frailty.


              I don’t know how old you are but elderly people already have a drop in IGF-1 levels and it seems more likely to end up low. That is my hunch and I invite the moderators to disagree if I am wrong, but either way, soy would be an example where it is better to eat it than not eat it, but number of servings matter.

              1. Hi Deb, I’m only 20! I’ve been underweight my whole life and recently started to try and gain weight so I suppose I’m trying to find that sweet spot of enough IGF-1 to gain weight but not too much where adverse effects may occur. I only have about 50g tempeh 4-5 times a week so i’m not worried about too much soy. I will ask Dr Greger on his August live stream and see what he thinks about the quinoa situation!

                  1. Watch the soy video.

                    Over 5 servings per day are where the caution zone starts with soy.

                    Quinoa, you would probably be able to eat at least that.

                    The second video compares soy and non-soy vegan sources and how they cause IGF-1 to go lower at low doses.

                    1. In that one, Dr. Greger is talking about how some amino acids – the ones in animal products – are more proteinogenic and that causes the liver to produce IGF-1 faster.

                      You gave me something to learn. I appreciate that.

                      What I did look up was that tempeh has 34 grams of protein per cup and quinoa only has 8 grams of protein per cup.

                      Grains generally are low in Lysine and Methionine.

                      Going through the amino acids, you would need to eat 5.5 cups of quinoa per day to meet your Lysine level. (Most grains, you would need to eat 15 to 30 servings per day for Lysine, so soy might be a good idea.)

                      For Methionine, you can meet your intake in maybe 4 servings of quinoa, depending on your weight. Actual need is lower because you can get some from other foods.

                      Except for corn and quinoa, grains generally lack in three essential amino acids: threonine, leucine, and histidine, which can be obtained by eating an extra serving of most grains, if they are your source of protein. So quinoa and corn are good sources of protein, next to soy.

                      Are you eating more than 4 servings per day? You are probably still safe if you are, but that is where the questions start.

                1. Joe,

                  You need to do the math on how much protein you need and make sure you are getting enough before you start becoming afraid of IGF-1.

                  Dr. Greger gave this guideline.

                  “Adults require no more than 0.8 or 0.9 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight per day. So, that’s like your ideal weight in pounds, multiplied by four, and then divided by ten. So, someone whose ideal weight is 100 pounds may require up to 40 grams of protein a day. On average, they probably only need about 30 grams a day, which is .66 grams per kilogram. But we say 0.8 or 0.9 because everyone’s different, and we want to capture most of the bell curve.”


                    1. Thanks for all the info Deb! I’m certainly getting enough protein, I’m only 57kg but have 70-80g protein/day. What would count as one serving of grains? I tend to have 150g oats, 100g buckwheat and 100g quinoa daily.

                    2. Also my Leucine intake tends to be 5-6g per day which seems quite high to me. I want to include rice as a staple as it’s lower in protein but it’s so high in arsenic I avoid it :(

        2. I wasn’t trying to suggest that fat directly affects IGF-1 levels merely that quinoa offers a number of benefits that need to be set against any putative harms.

          TBH, I am not sure what would be a large amount but in the study the children were given 200 grammes daily so the equivalent amount for an adult would be what 600 grammes? Also quinoa is quite expensive outside certain parts of South America so I’d imagine that most peoplein eg the US would not eat it as a daily staple.

          Yes, if you eat it daily perhaps twice a day it might be a concern but then I don’t think that the areas where quinoa actually is eaten as a daily staple are cancer hotspots either. Of course, relative to meat consumption etc quinoa probably affects IGF-1 less. The other point is that all protein is thought to increase IGF=1 levels so it’s not like we can absolutely avoid IGF-1 raising foods completely.

          1. Thanks! I live in the UK and never exceed 100g quinoa/day uncooked weight which would be 200-250g cooked weight. Did the study mention whether the weight was cooked or uncooked?

    3. Hi, Joe! It would be helpful to know where you read that, so that we could address the source directly. The only evidence I have seen regarding quinoa and IGF-1 is this study on a quinoa-derived infant food used with malnourished children: Plasma IGF-1 increased in these children after two 100g servings per day for 15 days. I don’t see that as convincing evidence that we should avoid eating quinoa. Most people do not eat two servings a day for weeks at a time, and most of us are not malnourished children. You can find everything on this site related to quinoa here: and everything related to IGF-1 here: I hope that helps!

      1. Hi Christine,

        That infant food study is where I read it & also was just curious because quinoa is a high quality protein like soy, which we should limit to 3-5 servings/day, so should we also limit quinoa? I have approx 100g quinoa (dry weight) every day, is that too much? Being vegan and gluten free, it is one of the few grains I can have.


        1. Hi, Joe! An infant formula is not quite the same thing as an adult eating quinoa as part of a balanced, whole food, plant-based diet. 100g dry weight would be about 2 servings per day. I think it is probably safe to eat that, although it is a good idea to eat a variety of foods. Obviously, avoiding gluten limits your choices a bit, but you could still try buckwheat, gluten-free oats, millet, and amaranth. I hope that helps!

          1. Thanks Christine! I have lots of GF oats every morning haha! Amaranth comes with the same issues as quinoa as it’s nutritionally very similar but I will just make sure to vary my grains and not have too much of one particular grain. I will probably try for 3 meals per day, 2 with grains as the main calorie source and one with starchy veg as the calorie source :)

  9. I would love to try this recipe, along with many others in my How Not To Die Cookbook, but I have a tree nut allergy and many recipes use various tree nuts as a substitute to dairy. I read the comment above about using cannellini beans instead of cashews and will give that a try. I welcome any other ideas on what I can use to replace nuts.

    1. Hi Marshall,
      That sounds like a great idea! I will have to try this recipe using beans some time too. Like others have mention, using beans, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash might be a tasty way to substitute nuts in some recipes. Tahini (ground sesame seeds) or seeds (such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds) might be another option for substituting nuts in recipes. Hope that is helpful!
      In good health,
      Kristina, Social Media Director

    1. Hi Sydney,
      Feel free to swap in whole grain if you’d like for the recipe! I am sure the sauce and veggies would be a very tasty dish with some cooked whole grains and roasted chickpeas.

      In good health,
      Kristina, Social Media Director

  10. Dr. Greger:

    Why not add nuts to the Daily Dozen?

    Since you reported that eating nuts would reverse arterial plaque, I increased the amount of nuts I eat and a plaque in my carotid artery shrank considerately.

        1. Sydney,

          A lot of people, including me, don’t get down to our ideal weight eating nuts.

          I didn’t gain weight eating them, but I have been 99.999% Vegan and pretty close to Whole Food Plant Based and didn’t lose very much weight in a year and a half.

          I didn’t start losing weight until I got off the natural fats and my green tea latte.

          I am still not sure how much weight I am losing but it was nice to see the scale budge.

          1. Nuts helped my brain and I am interested in the Adventist and Global Burden of Disease results with nuts, but if I can’t lose weight, I feel like being overweight might undo the benefits of nuts.

            Though die earlier is more important than lose weight.

            I am wondering if the nut benefit was retained in overweight Adventist’s?

            1. Hi Deb,

              I wonder how many nuts you were eating?

              My stepson sometime ago proudly told me that he was eating cashews as a snack at work — he wanted to let me know that he was making healthier choices. (A worthy goal, indeed!) But when I asked him how many, he said about a half to a whole can. And he indicated a decent sized can. Yikes! So I suggested we look at the calorie content and nutrient list of cashew nuts — and he was shocked at the high number of calories and amount of fat. I recommended that he limit himself to a small handful a day, and suggested that his can should last him for at least a week or two. He thought that might work.

              My husband and I both eat nuts daily, but sparingly. And we did lose weight after we switched to PBWF eating (from vegetarian, which included dairy and eggs), though we weren’t trying to lose any weight. But nuts and seeds are a small part of our diet; the major parts are veggies and fruit, and beans and whole grains, in descending order of amounts that we eat. (Approximately)

              1. I wasn’t eating a lot.

                I was only eating a handful and 6 Mary’s Gone Crackers was how I was doing flaxseed. It is no oil and I like the crunch.

                Honestly, getting rid of avocado, nuts and my latte and adding in more walking still is going to be a slow weight loss process, I think.

                I have refined my standing on my scale process and I have stopped some of the wild swings in weight, but it is up a pound, down a pound, up a pound, down a pound, every morning. It is more comforting than the 8-pound swing, but it is not a progression that I am seeing yet.

                1. Dr. J.,

                  Chef AJ said that she couldn’t lose weight even eating an ounce of nuts.

                  The studies said that nuts don’t cause people to gain weight and I agree with that.

                  I didn’t gain weight eating nuts or avocado.

                  Hidden oil, I gained weight.

                  But I didn’t lose weight and I have enough to lose that I feel like I should have.

                2. Deb,

                  My husband’s and my weights vary by at least 2-3 pounds day to day. I think the variation is due to all kinds of factors, including how much we ate and drank the day before, when we used the bathroom, etc.

                  My husband weighs himself once a day at about the same time (when he gets out of bed), and records it in a little table, with the date.

                  I weigh myself about once a week, at the same time (when I get out of bed), and also record it.

                  That way, we can see what the overall trend is. In the past, it gradually decreased, subject to minor swings. Now it is fairly stable, subject to those minor swings. I could never figure out, given these swings (daily variations), how anybody could claim that they lost 1 or 2 pounds.

  11. I make something easier: prep your veggies while water boiling for noodles, and once the noodles (I use tolerant brand red lentil) are cooking and have 3-4 minutes left to boil…. add your greens to that (chard, kale, beet greens, broc, etc). I also add already cooked beans (not cold out of fridge…but room temp). When noodles done, drain the whole shebang, add back to the now empty past cooking pot and annoint with some red vinegar, smoked salt, fresh herbs, salsa, nutritional yeast.
    It is making my mouth water just thinking about it. So easy, and just one pan to clean.

    1. Mims, The downside to boiling the veggies with the pasta, rather than water sauté, is some nutrient loss because the cooking water is discarded.


  12. This recipe looks interesting. I’ll try it but wish it was given slowly as there’s barely time to jot it all down. Be a good idea to just list the ingredients so we can refer back at leisure.

  13. Barbara, the entire recipe is on this site. Just tap the word transcript and it’s even printable. Or, if preferred you can write it out by hand if no printer available.

  14. Looks great – thanks for sharing! For anyone else like me with a less powerful blender, soak the cashews in water overnight first – it helps them blend more easily. Alternatively, you can boil them in water for 10 minutes before blending to help soften them up.

  15. Frank & Suzanne Guest,
    Regarding “Goes by way too fast for a slow reader”, there are multiple very easy solutions for that…

    Set your desired play speed (with both slower and faster options available) by clicking the little gear icon in the lower right of the video screen, select “playback speed”, and then choose your preferred speed.

    Or easiest of all, simply pause the video where ever you need more time to view…
    Simply click on the video screen to pause or resume the video play.

  16. Thank you so much, Dr. Greger and Kristina, for this and other recipes (Loved the juice recipe and demo video, Dr. Greger!). It’s not easy becoming vegan but the eye opening videos and a recipe like this, with just 1 ounce of cashews per serving is a great bridge from a favorite comfort food to a much healthier one! I thank everyone with helpful and thought provoking comments for your help with this transition.

    1. Hi Jean,
      Thank you for the nice comment! I am happy to hear that the recipes are helpful for those transitioning to a plant-based diet.

      In good health,
      Kristina, Social Media Director

    1. Are you talking as a cheese-replacement or other flavoring?

      Here is a no nutritional yeast cheese sauce

      Half nuts/ Half potatoes version

      Mostly, it depends on what you are using it for.

      Miso or soy sauce give an umami experience

      Mushrooms add an earthiness if you aren’t going for “cheese”

      Cashews or other nuts add a nutty flavor, which is how people describe Nutritional Yeast.

      Tahini or Cannelini or Potatoes or a combination, if you don’t want as many nuts

      Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic and things like Mustard and Jalapeno give a kick or tangy flavor. A lot of people use those.

      Paprika is used in a lot of them

      For $10 High Carb Hannah has a book of sauces for sale, you could ask if she has Nutritional Yeast-free recipes.

        1. I don’t eat a lot of tofu, but I made some baked tofu a couple months ago and it had a similar flavor and consistency to mozzarella cheese how I remember it. I can see it making a really good cheese replacement. I even saw a saganaki recipe using tofu which I want to try.

    1. It’s mac n cheese–it’s mac n plant based cheese. Cheese was a made up thing, anyway, when some weird guy decided to eat spoiled milk. You’ll just have to emotionally adjusted. You’ll be fine.

  17. looked, looked and looked again, cannot find the word “transcript” anywhere I want to save this recipe for later.. perfect for me I love Dr G.

  18. Well, more people liked this one. Simpler, fewer ingredients went over better.

    Now, you just need some nut substitutes.

    I guess that is harder to demonstrate in a video in that format.

    Tonight, I had to go to Home Depot and it is next door to Burger King, so I decided to do The Impossible.

    I will say that it tasted better than most Plant-Based burgers or I should say, it tasted more like a burger than most Plant-Based burgers, but the excited man at the window started listing the ingredients, which he was excited about and I already felt a little queasy, before I felt a little queasy.

    It caused me to wonder if some of the times I have gotten sick on foods in the past, how many times I have blamed the food or things like MSG and maybe it was the oil? I definitely was getting sick whenever I ate Chinese or Thai or other Asian foods and MSG seemed to be the common denominator, but I had some Braggs Liquid Aminos and I didn’t get sick and this definitely tasted really good and I don’t ever want to have one again.

  19. Hello and thank you. Reading the comments answered the same questions I had. How to print – view transcript.
    And yes I like the science end. Very helpful – recipes a plus !

  20. I’m looking forward to trying it. It looks great. I have a question- In Dr. Gregor’s new book, How Not to Diet, does he explain why diets like (and especially, the) low carb diets, are bad?

    1. Strat,

      There are studies that low-carb diets are linked to all-cause mortality where they found that subjects with the lowest carbohydrate intake had a 32% higher risk of all-cause mortality and the risk of death from coronary heart disease was also increased by 51%, cerebrovascular disease by 50%, and cancer by 35% in those on low-carb diets compared with a high-carb diet.

      On top of that, there is the Burden of Disease Risk study or whatever it is called and the biggest risk factors for developing disease which was looked at globally was: Not eating enough fruit. Not eating enough vegetables. Not eating enough legumes. Not eating enough nuts and seeds. Not eating enough Whole Grains. Those were the top 5 risk factors and there are a lot of carbs in that list. There are other risk factors like Omega 3’s and calcium and eating too many animal products and eating too much salt and eating any processed meat and drinking sugary drinks, but that top 5 list correlates pretty closely with a high carb diet lowers the risk of all diseases.

      On top of that, there are the Blue Zones – groups like the Adventists, Okinawans, and studies like the Nun Studies and most of those eat seriously high carb and live very long lives.

      Dr. Greger will be doing videos on Keto starting a few weeks from now.

      Not sure of the exact schedule because he is doing recipe videos and Flashback Friday videos.

      I think it will start within 3 weeks from now.

      Previously, he wrote a book and a website debunking Atkins and explaining the dangers of it. You can read his thoughts about it for free on his Atkins Website.

      Keto can be exactly like Atkins or slightly different from Atkins

      For instance, Dr. Berg does Keto in a way, which is much closer to Whole Food Plant-Based – where he has people limit their animal products to 5% of their total calories and has them eat 10 servings of low glycemic index vegetables.

      Topics Dr. Greger has already covered would be meat and cancer. Meat and heart attacks. Meat and Diabetes. Oil and the endothelium. Saturated fat as a great big topic. D

      Dr. Greger also has a video on how replacing oil with nuts in the Mediterranean Diet improves the diet.

      The Keto side would argue that they are improving things like Diabetes, but Whole Food Plant-Based diets are often reversing it. The Keto side would say that they are improving cancer and so would the Whole Food Plant-Based side and the Whole Food Plant-Based side points to all of the ways animal products and oils are risk factors for developing cancer in the first place.

      There are probably some versions of low carb, which are better than others.

      I suspect Dr. Berg’s version of Keto is less bad than Dr. Atkins version, and Eco-Atkins, the vegan type of Atkins is also better than Atkins, but Dr. Greger will be covering Keto pretty soon.

      People like Dr. Garth Davis have spoken about Keto versus Whole Food Plant-Based because he does weight loss surgery and he said that he used to try to get people to do Keto, but he noticed that so many of his patients were failed Keto diet people and saw that he had better results if he could get people on Whole Food Plant-Based.

      1. Deb

        I understand that the Global Burden of Disease Study found that the biggest risk factors for death (relating to food) were

        ‘High intake of sodium (3 million [1–5] deaths and 70 million [34–118] DALYs), low intake of whole grains (3 million [2–4] deaths and 82 million [59–109] DALYs), and low intake of fruits (2 million [1–4] deaths and 65 million [41–92] DALYs) were the leading dietary risk factors for deaths and DALYs globally and in many countries.’

        Given that low carb diets are low in wholegrains and fruit, and relatively high in sodium, they would appear not to be healthful.

  21. Tried it. I liked the sound of all those healthy cruciferous veggies but I would not make it again. I like garlic but this was too garlicky. For me, this mix of veggies seemed incongruous. But maybe that’s just me. I added soy sauce to my portion and it helped. The recipe certainly makes plenty of it so hopefully it will grow on me.

  22. Do you have Na K content per serving. I recommend DASH goals to all of my patients with HTN. And I am worried about the miso?

    1. Hi, Arthur! I am not aware of any research indicating that high doses of vitamin B-12 down-regulates receptors or that people develop tolerance. Vitamin B-12 is unique in that it is a water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the body. If stores are adequate, any excess intake is generally eliminated. You can find everything on this site related to vitamin B-12 here: I hope that helps!

      1. I’ve found in the literature something relating b12 to circadian rhythms, melatonin. It helps. However it gets me thinking, what does it mean? Would it be better to get frequent (daily or per meal) doses rather than getting a big dose once or twice a week?

        Here are some articles:

        Honma K, Kohsaka M, Fukuda N, Morita N, Honma S. Effects of vitamin B12 on
        plasma melatonin rhythm in humans: increased light sensitivity phase-advances the
        circadian clock? Experientia. 1992 Aug 15;48(8):716-20. PubMed PMID: 1516676.

        Uchiyama M, Mayer G, Okawa M, Meier-Ewert K. Effects of vitamin B12 on human
        circadian body temperature rhythm. Neurosci Lett. 1995 Jun 2;192(1):1-4. PubMed
        PMID: 7675298.

        1: Imamura N, Dake Y, Amemiya T. Circadian rhythm in the retinal pigment
        epithelium related to vitamin B12. Life Sci. 1995;57(13):1317-23. PubMed PMID:

  23. Thank you for this! It was SO yummy I had it for dinner, then for lunch the next day, then dinner. I made it with green lentil pasta (one ingredient).

    Your book “How Not to Die” was amazing – I listened to it every night during my after-dinner walks, then I listened to The China Study, now I’m signing up for the eCornell Whole Food Plant Based Nutrition course. I’ve been eating WFPB for 158 days, and this is The.Best.”Cheese”.Sauce.Ever. I love that my taste buds changed after awhile and now I think pretty much all plants taste good together. I just keep throwing stuff in the pan. And I don’t even think about sugar or even desire processed foods. I’m all-in. The Daily Dozen app is a simple but really important tool. I started doing this as a lark, but recipes like this will keep me hooked. Thanks!

  24. This recipe is epic! I could not stop serving myself more. Well, until I felt overly full then I had to stop hehe but we still have leftovers! I am vegan and always looking for new recipes to make, and this one is so healthy and delicious! Love it!

    P.S. My grandfather knows you, Dr. Greger!

  25. Made this, SO good! I added some extra nutritional yeast–1.5 tbsp to be exact. It’s so easy to make too and not a lot of cleanup which is just one of the many reasons I love simple recipes–simple recipes always seem to taste better anyway.

  26. Just made this one for the first time on the weekend…. three days later I have made it again! Awesome recipe – complete comfort food and amazing how cheesy it was. We use whole grain spirals, couldn’t find any whole grain mac.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, we’re glad you enjoyed it! Sometimes I make it with red lentil pasta, which is a nice alternative to the wheat noodles.

  27. Hey I have a question. If I ate chickpea noodles, which I often do, what should I mark off on the daily dozen list? Beans or grains? Or maybe both since the ingredients are chickpea flour, pea protein, and xanthem gum. Idk what pea protein would fall under.

  28. Hi, Annie-Grace! Chickpea flour is made by grinding up chickpeas, so it would count as a legume. Pea protein is extracted from split peas or mung beans, but is not a whole food. Xanthan gum would not count toward any category in the Daily Dozen. I prefer legume-based noodles that have only one ingredient: legumes. That said, your pasta could count as a serving of legumes, but not grains, as your noodles do not include any. I hope that helps!

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