My Favorite Vegan Mac & Cheese

 

Week one of How to Vegan is officially coming to a close, and since I've teased you all week on social media with that incredibly tempting photo of my vegan mac and cheese, I thought it would only be fair to let you in on the magic. Because this recipe is magic.

Before I became vegan, mac and cheese was my FAVORITE. When I made the transition it was actually one of the only things that I was really sad about giving up. I tried the vegan varieties of boxed mac and cheese and just felt like it was weird. It was good, but not good enough. When I found my first vegan recipe for homemade, creamy mac and cheese, I was awe struck. I tried a bunch of them and kept trying to tweak and perfect and change proportions and seasonings here and there until finally, I reached the level of ultimate ooey gooey goodness that I was looking for. The holy grail of vegan comfort food.

Now if you are not vegan and you are trying this along side real mac and cheese, I'm just going to break it to you now. Its not cheese, so it is not going to taste like melted cheese, butter and cream. But it will have the rich, buttery, salty, creamy taste that you are looking for and give you that ultimate comfort food feeling that you get when digging into the real thing, all through the power of plants! (You also won't feel like keeling over and dying after...always a plus.) But if you're in the same position I am, you forgot what real mac & cheese tasted like anyways, so you're in for a serious treat.

Once you try this recipe, I really encourage you to use the base of this sauce to experiment on your own. That's what cooking is all about; learning the basics and using them to come up with new ideas and recipes that you find satisfying. So vegan cooking shouldn't be any different. Try adding herbs or different spices, or drizzle it with some hot sauce, or maybe try it with a bread crumb topping! You may want yours more salty or buttery, and you can easily make that happen (I've seen recipes with a LOT of margarine or oil). Making these recipes your own is important in having fun with your vegan transition and realizing that you can cook delicious vegan food.

So here we go. Your mac & cheese is about to go vegan...

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Ingredients

1 Russet Potato, Peeled and chopped

2 Carrots, Peeled and chopped

1 Small Yellow Onion, Peeled and chopped

1/2 Cup Cashew Cream Cheese (You can find the recipe for this here. Or substitute 1/2 Cup raw cashews and 1 Tbsp almond milk)

1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast

1 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 Clove Garlic

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Veggie Paste

1/2 Cup Almond Milk

Salt, Cayenne Pepper, and Black Pepper to taste

1 Lb Elbow Macaroni 

Directions

1. Cook potatoes, onions and carrots in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft.

2. Drain the vegetables and save the water. Bring water back to a boil, salt the water and cook elbows until al dente

3. Put the cooked veggies and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Since ingredients will be hot, do not seal the blender when blending. Remove the cap from the top and cover with a tea towel (otherwise you will cover yourself, and your kitchen in vegan cheese sauce.) Blend until creamy and smooth.

4. Pour sauce over cooked elbows, stir and enjoy! That's IT!