Vegan Mac and Cheese
There are times when you just need some comfort food – winter in the Midwest, for instance – and there is no food more comforting than Mac+Cheese. The downside is that it’s full of wheat, dairy, and all that other super-tasty stuff that we are trying to move away from … <sigh>
This is the recipe I use when I cannot resist any longer. It’s easy, quick, gluten-free, the sauce is dairy-free, and you can omit the cheese to make it fully vegan. Prep time is 30 minutes or so; this quantity serves four. It also keeps well in the fridge if there’s any left over!
2 cups uncooked gluten-free macaroni; I use brown rice pasta, and there are other options
For the sauce:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 15 minutes in hot water
1 Tbsp tomato puree
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp (or more) organic horseradish
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
Generous pinch of mace or nutmeg, sea salt, black pepper
Plant milk if required to thin the sauce
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 slices gluten-free bread, toasted and reduced to crumbs
1 tsp cayenne or paprika
Optional: 2-3 oz strong cheese: I use an intense blue cheese, but extra-sharp cheddar or strong Cheshire would do equally well, or meltable vegan cheese if you can find some
1. In plenty of salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente – about two-thirds of the suggested time. There needs to be some ‘tooth’ as the pasta will continue cooking in the sauce; otherwise it will be mushy after baking.
2. While the pasta is cooking, puree the soaked cashews in their water, together with the tomato puree, mustard, horseradish, and soy sauce to taste. It should taste like a sharp béchamel. Season to taste with mace or nutmeg, sea salt, and/or black pepper. If too thick, add plant milk and reprocess until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream. Note: it will thicken up in the oven, so make it a little thinner to allow for that, or add a spoonful or so of the pasta water before putting it in the oven.
3. Preheat oven to 425°F or broiler. Grease a medium ovenproof dish.
4. Drain the pasta, and add both pasta and sauce to the dish. Mix well and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, breadcrumbs, and cayenne, or with the optional cheese.
5. Place the dish in the oven or under the grill for 5-10 minutes until the top is brown and crunchy. Serve hot!
And HERE is the .pdf file if you want to print it.