Vegan Mac & “Cheese”

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I made a promise.

I told you in my How to Make Any Dish Vegan post that I would continue to perfect my vegan mac and cheese recipe and then get back to you…

So guess who’s back?

Mac again.

(Probably the only time I’ll ever make an Eminem joke…)

See the thing is, mac and cheese was the first thing I learned how to “cook” when I was, like, 12, so it holds a special place in my heart.  I say “cook” because we’re talking Kraft macaroni and cheese — white pasta, plus a packet of fluorescent orange powder….?

Yeahhhhh.

And I was super proud of it, too.

Of course, now you couldn’t pay me to eat Kraft macaroni and cheese. And though “there’s no convincing evidence,” I’m sure it’s possible to turn into a twitching, orange-ish ogre-bot if you eat too much of it. (If you like doing your own research about what’s in your food, and not just ‘eating what they feed you’ so to speak, read this.) Suffice it to say, in the States, Kraft M&C contained yellow 5 and 6 food dyes up until extremely recently. (Yellow 5 and 6 are synthetic substances that are banned in the UK/Europe because they are derived from petroleum.) Thanks to the Food Babe — God bless her — Kraft is now a bit less absolutely awful, but you still do not want that in your body.

What you want in your body is our easy Vegan Mac and “Cheese.”

Not only will you feel great afterward, it’s noodle heaven. This is thee dish to serve to all your veggie-phobe friends and family, or to enjoy on nights when all you want to do is eat a comforting bowl of creamy pasta and watch Last Holiday. (It happens to all of us.)

*sniff… regains composure*

Anyway, this recipe is way easier than it looks. Basically, you’re sautéing some veggies, blending them up like a soup with some cashews and a few other things, then you’re mixing it with your peas/other veggies and noodles. Voilà!

Here are the details…

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Naturally orange, friends.

sauce-noodles-mac-cheese-veggie-magnifique

Not exactly a sexy picture by any means, but illustrative…

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Vegan Mac & "Cheese"

As always, feel free to get creative! Throw some broccoli in there, or extra herbs and spices. Experiment and make it your own. You'll notice that in the photos I used zucchini, but in the recipe I used green peas. This is because I LOVE peas. And almost everything is better with them...

Prep time

10 min

Cook time

25 min

Total time

35 min

Ingredients

Serves 4 big eaters.

  • Whole wheat macaroni or brown rice noodles for 4 people
  • Some de-odorized coconut oil for frying (Unless you don’t mind your macaroni tasting a bit like coconut. I personally do mind.)
  • A small red onion (or whatever onion you’ve got on hand… shallots would be good, too.)
  • 3 carrots
  • Half of a sweet potato, peeled
  • Some vegetable broth
  • A handful of cashews (soaked for a few hours, or not if you have a powerful blender)
  • A spoonful of maple syrup or agave (to taste)
  • Cayenne pepper or a chili pepper
  • A sundried tomato or 2
  • Garlic to taste (I used two cloves)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Frozen peas (or whatever veggie you want to throw in there)
  • Optional: a big scoop of vegan cream cheese (in Paris you can get this at Un Monde Vegan)
  • Optional: some nutritional yeast
  • Optional: some lupin for extra protein.
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, in a fry pan, start sautéing your finely chopped onion in your unscented coconut oil.
  2. After a few minutes, add about a cup of veggie broth to the onions, and then add the carrots and sweet potatoes, which you have cut into thin half moons. Add chopped up garlic.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for a few minutes. Check on it frequently.
  4. Start adding in cayenne if you’re using that (if you’re using an actual hot pepper, wait for the blending bit.)
  5. Add in some maple syrup, coconut nectar, or agave, plus some black pepper.
  6. Once the veggies are tender, put the macaroni to cook in salted water. (Do NOT over cook… I always undercook it a minute less than “al dente” because it’s going to continue cooking a bit when you add in your topping.
  7. Now the fun begins… put 3/4 of the veggies in your blender with your cashews, sundried tomatoes, (your hot pepper, perhaps) and some water, by jove. How much water? Depends. Let’s say start with a half cup and then increase if the sauce is too thick. (You want it to be thick like a soup, but not a purée.)
  8. Maybe it’s now time to add your frozen peas to your pasta water — do this about a minute before you remove your pasta to strain.
  9. Once you’ve strained your pasta and peas and the consistency of your sauce is just right, put your pasta back into your pasta pot, add in some nutritional yeast and/or your vegan cream cheese, and pour your yummy sauce over it. (Pay attention to the pasta/sauce ratio… as you don’t want noodle soup here. If you have too much sauce, just set it aside and save it for a soup for tomorrow.) Then add in the remaining un-blended vegetables, and then… stir it up, little darling!
  10. It’s done. Almost. Here’s where you taste it and adjust seasonings… maybe it needs some salt. Maybe it needs some pepper (things usually do) or maybe it needs an extra hit of hot sauce. (Probable.) Always try what you’ve made before serving.
  11. Enjoy with friends, family, or Queen Latifah.
Notes & Tips
  • I’ve made this “spicy” because that’s just how we roll at VM, but feel free to omit the spice — it’ll still be tremendously satisfying.
  • Also, I have made this with zucchini in the sauce — it’s yummy, too.
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Yum! Who’da thought? Vegan mac and cheese that’s creamy, healthy, and delicious? I mean… it’s a revelation. Please recreate this recipe and tag us on social media, #veggiemagnifique — we LOVE hearing about your culinary adventures.

Mac-nificent day to you all, 🙂

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