Mac and Chard

Each week, The Medium chats with a UTM professor or professional staff about one of their favourite recipes.

I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian; I consider myself a perfectly content omnivore. But, to be honest, I find that vegan and vegetarian recipes are the most creative, particularly when it comes to classic comfort food. Dianne Robertson, undergraduate advisor for the English and drama and philosophy departments, similarly has a keen interest in such recipes. “On my daughter’s request—she is the true vegan and lover of macaroni and cheese—I was amazed to find a recipe for vegan mac and cheese with chard and, even more surprising, it tasted like mac and cheese,” Dianne says. Who could have guessed that chard (the friendly cousin of kale) would make a tasty replacement for cheese?

While I turn to vegan food blog—and now published book—Oh She Glows by Oakville native Angela Liddon for recipes, Robertson has her own favourite source. “We have tasted many a recipe thanks to 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson,” she says. Forget eating meatless once a week—why not try being cheeseless?


Mac and Chard (adapted from Robin Robertson’s 1,000 Vegan Recipes)




  • 12 oz (340 g) elbow macaroni
  • 1 medium bunch rainbow chard, chopped
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
  • ½ cup (125 g) chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 medium potato, cut into ½” slices
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp (2½ ml) turmeric
  • ¾ tsp (3 ml) paprika
  • ½ cup (125 g) cashews, unsalted and roasted
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup (125 g) bread crumbs


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; cook the macaroni over medium-high heat until al dente (just cooked), about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Steam the chard until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, squeeze any remaining liquid from the chard. Lightly oil a 9” x 13” baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  3. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and potato. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover and cook the vegetables until softened, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of the broth, the turmeric, and ½ tsp of the paprika and continue cooking, uncovered, until the vegetables are very soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Grind the cashews in a blender or food processor until ground to a fine powder. Add the onion and potato mixture, the remaining broth, lemon juice, mustard, and more salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth.
  5. Combine the sauce with the cooked macaroni and steamed chard and transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and remaining ¼ tsp paprika and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Bake until hot and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

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