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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Much Promised Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe

Alright, so I have been vegan and missing Mac and Cheese for like . . . 6 years now. During this time I often tried Mac and Cheese recipes and I never liked them. They typically used like 1/4 or 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast . . . and don't get me wrong, I love nutritional yeast, but it just didn't cut it for me as a main ingredient of a cheesy dish.

So here we go! I have promised this to so many people recently and failed to ever write it down. Most of the amounts are pretty variable so just experiment and see what you like.

First prepare your pasta according to the package directions. I like to use the traditional "macaroni" shaped pasta because I find with vegan cooking, perception affects taste, so the closer you can stick to your mental schema of "Mac and Cheese", the more it will taste like Mac and Cheese.

Next prepare the cheese sauce.

Heat a small pot over medium/high heat. Melt in Earth Balance Non-Hydrogenated Vegan Margarine. NO, ANOTHER MARGARINE WILL NOT DO. This is the best! (Well, you could also use Soy Garden but it's the same thing under different packaging). But no other kinds. How much Earth Balance? Wellllll, for a whole pound of pasta I'm thinking at least 1/2 cup of Earth Balance. But pretty much use what you want and it'll be fine.

So yes, melt 1/2 cup of Earth Balance per pound of pasta into your sauce pan.

Next, add about 1/2 a tub (or more) of Tofutti "Better than Cream Cheese", and 1/2 tub (or more) of Tofutti "Better than Sour Cream".

Whisk this thickening mixture together and then add some oat/almond/soy/whatever vegan milk to it. Like, not that much, a few splashes. Maybe 1/4 cup or so.

When this is hot and bubbling, add some grated "cheddar flavor", Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative. Again, this "cheese" can't really be substituted with anything else I have ever found.

**A note on dealing with the cheese substitute: Generally what we do is grate the entire block of "cheese" the first time we use it, and then freeze whatever we don't use on the first time through. Then you have it in your freezer, pre-grated and ready to go, whenever you need to use it for anything. Just an idea!**

So add maybe 1/2 cup of grated cheddar "cheese" to your bubbling sauce, and whisk until it is all melted. Then turn the heat down to low (or off) and add the final flavor/color enhancers. I generally add:

-A couple of squirts of ketchup (1/2 tablespoon or so?). I honestly haven't decided if this is purely to make the cheese sauce more "orange" or if I like the added flavor, but I do it every time now.
-A few sprinkles of corn starch (maybe 1 tablespoon?)--helps to thicken the sauce a bit more.
-Some nutritional yeast. Didn't mean to hate on it before--I love it. But more like 1/2 tablespoon of it. Not 1/2 cup.
-Some extra salt
-(optionally) some hot sauce--like only a little bit--I like the Texas Pete's or the Sriracha Sauce (the kind you find in those authentic awesome "these people are FROM China/Taiwan/Thailand/etc" sort of restaurants). Anyway, I do tend to add a squirt or so of hot sauce--it doesn't really make it hot--more for flavor (and again, color).

Finally, squirt some Bragg's Liquid Amino's (totally worth buying but if you don't have it, you can use soy sauce) over your pasta, stir, and then pour your cheese sauce over your pasta and stir, and you are ready to go!!

We really like eating this Mac and Cheese with a green side like steamed kale, spinach, broccoli, etc. These vegan substitute things can be a bit intense on their own, so having that green side right there just makes it all taste even better!

So there, finally, the much enhanced vegan Mac and Cheese recipe! If anyone tries it, let me know if you approve! Hehe.


Marilyn said...

mom adds some flour to her mac and cheese to make it thicker...is your recipe really runny or is the corn starch enough to thicken it?

justadrienne said...

No it's not runny at all actually. Because almost all the ingredients are on the more solid side (cream cheese, sour cream, vegan cheese, etc). You probably could use flour instead of corn starch to thicken it but . . . you could also use corn starch. LOL

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