Until about 3 months ago, my cooking skills included:
1. Pouring cereal in a bowl, followed by milk
2. Box Mac and Cheese
3. Baked goods, excluding anything with yeast.
I’ve come a long way since then! I’ve tried brussel sprouts, lentils and balsam rice. I’ve been planning meals and cooking regularly. AND I’ve successfully made vegan bread. Score for me!
But I can’t get the box Mac and Cheese out of my head. I LOVE mac and cheese. I used to always keep a box in my pantry for that rare Saturday I was home, doing nothing and I just wanted to curl up and watch a movie.
And, it comes in fun shapes!! I caved this month and bought a box of the Halloween shaped ones. How can you go wrong with Halloween shapes?
Weirdly enough, though, I didn’t enjoy it! Bats and Pumpkins and Ghost shaped pasta drenched in cheese sauce and I didn’t like it?? How is this possibly??
Maybe it’s because I’ve been putting yummy, healthy, unprocessed foods in me for the last few weeks and I’m getting used to it. Maybe it’s because after this long stretch of homemade food my body was like, “SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE? WTF, Erin?” Agreed, body. Agreed.
So whats a former boxed Mac and Cheese addict to do?? Find a good vegan mac and cheese recipe, that’s what! Here is my first venture into the vegan Mac and cheese world…
Vegan Stove Top-Style Macaroni and Cheese
from Bittersweet Blog
1 Cup Peeled and Diced Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/4 Cup Shredded or Finely Diced Carrot
1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Raw Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/8 Teaspoon Tumeric (Optional, for Color)
3/4 – 1 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1/3 Cup Neutral-Flavored Oil, Such as Canola or Rice Bran
1 Pound Pasta, Cooked, preferably whole wheat or brown rice.
Place the cut potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic in a small sauce pan, and pour in the water. Set over medium heat on the stove, and bring to a boil. Once the water reaches a vigorous boil, cover the pot, turn down the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are extremely tender.
Meanwhile, place the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, mustard, lemon juice, paprika, and tumeric in your blender. Give these ingredients a light pulse just to begin breaking down the cashews slightly. No need to blend together entirely. We’ll do that when the veggies are done cooking.
When the vegetables on the stove are fully cooked and ready, pour them into your blender along with all of the cooking water. Add in 3/4 cup of the non-dairy milk, and turn on the blender to its highest setting. Thoroughly puree the mixture, until completely smooth and lump-free. If you’re using a blender that isn’t so hearty, this could take 6 – 10 minutes. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the oil, to allow it to properly emulsify. Check the consistency; if you like your sauce a bit thinner blend in the remaining 1/4 of non-dairy milk.
Pour the sauce over your cooked noodles, and serve immediately.
Makes 6 – 8 Servings
I know exactly what you are thinking: “Where the frick is the rue? And what are those vegetables doing in there??”. I know, right! It’s a super weird recipe and I was hesitant to make it. It didn’t have the basic structure of a homemade mac and cheese and the vegetables were a little odd.
I was pleasantly surprised, though! This was a really good pasta dish. Will I be passing it off as Mac and Cheese to my non-vegan family and friends? No. It definitely doesn’t taste exactly like Mac and Cheese. It does satisfy that craving for M&C, though. It was warm and creamy and I threw in some Daiya cheddar cheese to give it a little bit of a gooey texture.
My biggest gripe is, much like Mac and Cheese, it doesn’t reheat exceptionally well. It looses that creamy texture. That is sort of a problem for me because there’s only one of lil’ ol’ me. I can’t eat a whole pot of anything by myself! Left overs are what keep me functioning!
Overall, I’d give it a 7 out of 10. I would definitely make it again but maybe with a few open-minded friends to help me eat it so I have minimal left overs. As for you, definitely give it a try! It’s a healthy alternative to all that dairy and chemicals and watching the cream sauce come together is almost as fun as watching the cashew cream come together!!