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Sunflower Crusted Macaroni and Cheese
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5 from 2 votes

Sunflower Crusted Macaroni and Cheese

Hot bubbly macaroni and cheese, food that comforts the soul—yum! Serve with a mixed green salad. For dessert—how about a couple of pieces of dark chocolate? Serves 3 or 4 persons.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: macaroni, cheese, sunflower seeds, vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings.
Calories: 698kcal


  • 1 cup lightly toasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus some to grease the pan
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces brown rice penne pasta
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese grated
  • Pinch cayenne
  • sea salt if needed (see note)


  • Rub a 2-quart casserole dish with butter.
  • Grind the toasted sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a saucepan, melt the first 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Stir in the rice flour. Over medium flame, cook and stir, letting the butter and flour bubble a minute. Gradually whisk in the vegetable broth, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens a bit, not quite the thickness of heavy cream.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the grated cheese about ¼ at a time. Stir in the cayenne, a small pinch or larger pinch—to your taste. Taste for salt, adding if needed. Set aside while you cook the pasta.
  • Stir the pasta into the boiling water. Cook until the pasta is tender, but with a bite, al dente. (Be sure not to overcook as the pasta will plump a bit more with the sauce when it bakes.) Drain. Stir into the cheese sauce. Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Spread the ground sunflower seeds on top. Dot with the remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling through the crust.


  • Depending on your vegetable broth, you may or may not need to add more salt.
  • If you don’t add the cooked penne to the sauce immediately, rinse well to keep the pasta from sticking together.


Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 660mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 915IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 435mg | Iron: 2.3mg