When I became a vegan in 2010, one of the first recipes I tried was macaroni & cheese. I'm not sure which site this recipe came from but I do know it was horrible. It was so bad that I considered going back to being a vegetarian because I wanted macaroni & cheese to taste familiar. Thankfully, I stuck in there and had other wonderful vegan food options to keep me going.
Then I discovered this recipe a few weeks ago...
Recipe from VegNews
Delicious Mac & Cheese
Ingredients (Serves 5)
- 4 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 8 ounces macaroni
- 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
- 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance)
- 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup raw cashews (I used 3/4 cup to make the sauce even creamier)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.
Note: This was my 1st time having breadcrumbs on my macaroni and cheese. It was okay but I will likely leave them off next time.
Edited to add: Elijah, my picky eater, requested this dish again (11/28) for dinner. He never liked conventional macaroni & cheese and complained about it making his stomach hurt (he's likely lactose-intolerant), so I'm glad to see there's an alternative that agrees with him. Not bad for a little boy who only wanted hot dogs and chicken nuggets two years ago. :-)
Many people tell me that cheese is the only reason a plant-based lifestyle wouldn't work for them.
Here's a passage from Lindsay at Happy Herbivore in reference to cheese addiction:
"Breaking Addictions: Many would-be plant-based eaters (vegans) struggle with giving up dairy, particularly cheese and yogurt. While there are several vegan substitutes on the market today that are just as delicious, the problem usually runs much deeper.
Dairy products contain a protein called casein. When our bodies break this protein down during the digestion process, casomorphins (yes, as in “morphine”) are created. These guys then have an opiate effect on our body, making us feel happy and relaxed... and addicted. Nature’s intentions were harmless enough; casein is intended to get a baby calf hooked on its mother’s milk so it keeps coming back for more. However, every time you eat dairy, you fuel an addiction both mentally and physically. Like a cigarette or a drug addiction, your body will physically crave dairy and go into withdrawal without it. Meanwhile, your mind is racing, wanting another happy fix. The only way to stop this vicious cycle is to stop getting high on dairy.
Cheese also has a greater concentration of casein than any other dairy product, which is why so many people are cheese fanatics. They’re literally hooked.
The good news is most people stop feeling cravings or desires after three weeks, especially when they make a point to use vegan substitutes. Once you give up dairy, you’ll be surprised at the changes in your body. Your digestive system will hum along more smoothly, your skin will clear and, if you need to, you will lose weight.
Anytime you’re tempted to indulge, consider this:If you’re not comfortable breast-feeding on your own mother today, why are you breast-feeding on a cow you’ve never met?"
Makes you think, huh?
Edit to add: Here's a time saving macaroni & cheese recipe that's just as good.