16 Jul Vegan Mac n’ Cheese
Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 8 Servings
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
I love cheese so much it hurts. So when I started dating a fussy cheese-hating guy a couple years ago I was convinced that due to our polar opposite thoughts on dairy products we would never have a chance in hell of making it. But alas, we fell in love, and as the years passed I became increasingly tired (and felt guilty) for creatively finding ways to sneak butter, cheese, milk, and cream into most of his food and started to come up with alternative ways to mimic my much-loved decadent dairy experience. Mac n’ Cheese is high on my list of ultimate comfort foods, and one that I just wouldn’t ban from the kitchen, so I set out to make a vegan version that wouldn’t leave me missing the regular one (and wanting to smack him for how he was stifling my consumption of melted cheddar). It took a while to perfect, but I finally found a way to make a version of the classic super rich dish by using whole, natural, and plant based ingredients. No processed fake cheeses here (I’m talking to you, Junk Food Vegans)- just some awesome cashew cheese sauce that is good for your heart and body. This version has a Southern Twist, but you can mix up the flavor combos and veggies in a ton of different ways (stay tuned for my truffle kale version). Enjoy!
2 Cups Dry Elbow Macaroni Noodles
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw brazil nuts
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons)
1 tablespoon garlic (about 3 large cloves)
2 teaspoon arrowroot powder (our amazing thickener, find at any Whole Foods or Natural Foods Store)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup chopped collard greens
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups nut milk of choice (I use homemade cashew milk)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance, melted and slightly cooled
2 Tablespoons of Cholula (optional, but gives the topping a great color and tangy spice)
2 teaspoons Maldon Smoked Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook pasta in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water for 1 minute less than the package instructions.
While pasta is cooking, blend all sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Drain (but don’t rinse) pasta.
Combine noodles with cheese sauce (use the pasta pot so you use less dishes). Don’t freak out, it will look a bit soupy but will thicken up in the oven (Trust the Arrowrooot!)
Pour into a lightly oiled baking dish or individual cast iron skillets or ramekins.
Mix melted earth balance and Cholula in a small bowl, then toss with breadcrumbs and salt. Sprinkle over top of casserole.
Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 5-6 minutes or until topping is golden brown and crisped. (Don’t over bake or sauce will get too thick)
Remove from oven, sprinkle with smoked sea salt and serve!