Friday, July 8, 2011

Mac 'n "Cheeeeese!"

Hey everyone! Writing you from the other side of the world - I'm abroad for a semester, from now until the end of the year, in New Zealand! I arrived yesterday morning, and so far everything's great! :D

Just writing this is making me hungry...

Before I left, I promised my sister that I'd make her vegan Mac 'n Cheese at least once. I didn't have a recipe, but I had some ideas for ingredients from other recipes I'd seen, so decided to experiment! And a yummy experiment it was, mmmm! :)

I wanted to make it entirely without packaged vegan cheese, because it's pretty expensive (and really unhealthy. And I feel like it's cheating, haha. That being said, it's totaaally delicious and makes awesome grilled cheese!)

One plate of amazing, please!

I served the mac with grilled asparagus and sauteed squash and tempeh... but the cheese sauce itself is full of vegetables and protein packed nuts and beans!

For the creaminess of the sauce, I used soymilk and blended raw cashews as a base. To add some volume, flavor, and color, I added cooked carrots and chickpeas. The cheesiness comes from the usual vegan culprit, nutritional yeast! I kind of love this stuff.. it tastes delicious and is completely packed with protein, mmm.

Overall, what I ended up with was a delicious success, though definitely an ongoing project, largely because I will definitely be making more as soon as I can! Yummmmmmmmm..... :D

Vegan Mac 'n "Cheeeeese!"
yields ~six one cup servings

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw cashews
2 medium carrots
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup chickpeas (canned or pre-soaked and cooked)
1 cup soymilk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp of salt + more to taste
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground mustard

(suggested ingredients: 1 TBSP of white/yellow miso paste... meant to add this but forgot! Ah!)

1 lb of pasta! (I used whole wheat, but replaced with rice pasta, this recipe could easily be made gluten free!)

2 TBSP vegan margarine
1 cup soymilk
black pepper and salt, to taste

Special Equipment:
food processor or blender

Everyone say "cheeeese"...!

Directions:

1. Peel and chop carrots. Add to boiling water and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.


2. While the carrots are boiling, blend/process the cashews with 1/3 cup of soymilk until it forms an even paste. Add the chickpeas, garlic, nutritional yeast, paprika, mustard, and salt and blend.

Completely appetizing cashew gloop...

3. Once the carrots have softened, drain the water and add to the blendy mixture and blend some more!

Carroty mush!

4. Once this is all blended, add the remaining 2/3 cup of soymilk. I had to do all this blending in multiple batches and mix them in a bowl, because all I had was a teeny tiny food processor, oops! But it worked just fine. :)


5. In a pot, bring water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Elbow/macaroni pasta works best for traditional mac 'n cheese, but anything you have is pretty much fine. We ended up using whole wheat penne instead.

Cooked pasta! Tada!

6. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, remove from heat and drain out the water. Return the pasta to the pot, and stir in the vegan margarine, the blended mixture, and remaining 1 cup of soymilk. Mix well to cover pasta.

Behold! Cheesy saucy goodness!

7. Cook over medium/low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from burning to the bottom. Add additional soymilk as needed, and salt and pepper to taste! Remove from heat and enjoy!

Wait a few minutes... okay, fine, snack. ;)

Yummmm!

This mac 'n "cheeeeese" turned out really creamy and delicious! I shared it with my family and two non-vegan friends (hi guys! :D) and everyone loved it!

Dinner is served!

We all agreed that while it didn't taste quite like "normal" mac 'n cheese, it was still creamy and delicious. I had meant to add miso paste but forgot, ahh! I think this would have really upped the cheesiness factor though. Next time! ;)

I had some leftovers for breakfast (haha, I know) the next day cold, and it was really gooood!

Enjoy!

Try changing around the flavors and see what works for you! :)

2 comments:

Vivi said...

Wow this looks amazing! I would never have thought to use those ingredients to give it more texture...I'm totally the girl that overdoses on vegan cheese haha

Ariel said...

Yeah! I pretty much just followed my instincts for the most part on this one, and it turned out really good! The beans especially were good for giving it a thicker creamy texture while adding some extra nutrition and flavor. (:

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