Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Vegan Mac n' Cheese

I'm back with a recipe today that I am quite literally ready to jump up and down about. I made this vegan mac n' cheese on Sunday evening for dinner and it was such a great surprise. I may or may not have done a little happy dance right at the dinner table. It has been a hot minute since I've had mac n' cheese. I used to love mac n' cheese, but I haven't eaten it in 8 months - ugh 8 months without mac n' cheese! That's why I was happy dancing on Sunday night! And I'm ready to happy dance all over again just sharing this recipe with you!

Let me start by saying this isn't the mac n' cheese we know and love. It's different. This recipe is from a blog called Vegan Yummies (you can see the original recipe HERE) and the author,  Lindsay says it best herself - "We all know that, in reality, not a single one of the vegan cheese alternatives out there tastes like real cheese." This is so true! There just isn't a cheese replacement that really tastes like cheese. All that being said, this vegan mac n' cheese is seriously reminiscent of the real stuff. And regardless of how comparable this vegan mac n' cheese is to regular mac n' cheese; it is SO good! Everyone in my house gobbled it right up - even the Bean! She took a couple bites before saying 'Wait! Are you guys eating real mac n' cheese?" Hahaha I had her fooled for a couple of bites!

Now let me also mention that I am sitting down to right this post after writing 2 academic papers so writing colloquially in this post feels SO strange! If you find some big, vargon-y words thrown into this post we can attribute it to my just having written two 5 page assignments, but I'll do my best to tone down the academic talk!

Who knew carrots, potatoes, cashews and onions would make mac n' cheese? These are the first few ingredients you'll need to prep when making this vegan macaroni and cheese.

It takes quite a bit of blending time for the sauce to get smooth - I would estimate 5-7 minutes before my sauce was smooth and ready to go! I used a food processor but you could use a blender instead.

We've always served mac n' cheese (which we lovingly refer to as wacky mac) with broccoli on the side. So what do we serve with vegan mac n' cheese? We stick with tradition and eat broccoli!

I opted to use gluten free fusili, but you could use any kind of pasta you like! We are mostly gluten free around here, so we eat gluten free pasta but any kind of pasta will work with this sauce.

serves ~6 people

10 oz dried macaroni (about 2 2/3 cups) - I used gluten free fusili
1 cup yellow potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/4 cup carrots, peeled & diced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup water (from the water used to boil the veggies)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup coconut milk
2-3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of paprika

1. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the box. Once cooked, set the pasta aside.
2. Peel and chop up the potatoes, the carrots and the onion.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water had boiled, add in the chopped veggies and cook them until you can easily pierce them with a fork. It should take about 10 minutes.
4. Once the vegetables are soft enough to blend, use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor (I used a food processor). Add 3/4 cup of the water the vegetables cooked in to the food processor as well.
5. Add the cashews, the coconut milk, the nutritional yeast (start with 2 Tablespoons), the lemon juice, the salt, the garlic powder and the paprika to the food processor. Blend the faux cheese sauce until it is very smooth - it might take a little while but keep blending! It will get smooth!
6. Once the sauce is smooth, taste it and decide whether or not you want to add another Tablespoon of nutritional yeast and/or a little more salt. If you choose to add more nutritional yeast or salt, blend the sauce again once you've made your final additions.
7. When your sauce is done, stir it into the pasta and serve right away. This mac n' cheese really is best when it's served right away!

Let me know if you have questions!

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