I’m going to come clean about something with you guys. In my pre-vegan days, I hated mac & cheese. I know, what kind of human am I? Even before I became vegan, I never particularly enjoyed cheese or anything cheesy. I couldn’t understand how people had such an immense love (and maybe obsession) for cheese. I mean, I loved a good-old cheese toastie, but that was about the extent of my cheese loving.
Maybe that’s why I love vegan cheese and cheese substitutes so much. Because most of the time they don’t remotely taste like the real stuff, but they satisfy that craving for something creamy, salty, comforting and just a little bit cheese-like.
Back to mac & cheese. I never liked it. But over recent weeks, I’ve had this odd craving for it. So I called my mum and with pride in my voice, said “Mum, I’m finally doing it.” I could hear her sigh of relief from over the phone. (No, not really. She was actually just so glad I was making it so that maybe I’d actually stop talking about it now.)
Okay, final paragraph before I get into the recipe. But this stuff was about a million and three times better than I intended. Like I-had-two-bowls good. (And there’s leftovers for lunch, winning.) This mac & cheese is insanely creamy, cheesy, sugar free and has a much higher nutritional content than the real cheesy stuff. So switch it up. Make my vegan mac & cheese and I don’t think you’ll go back. Here’s the recipe.
- 2.5 cups dried macaroni pasta (I’ve also used penne, gluten free pasta and lentil based pastas and all work well)
- 1 large white potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
- 3/4 cup water (from boiling the veggies)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes and then strained
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 ginormous tablespoons nutritional yeast (my obsession)
- Juice of half a lemon or 1tbsp apple cider vinegar
- A good pinch of salt and pepper, be generous!
- 1 clove minced garlic, or garlic powder
- 2 red chillies, chopped
- 1 big pinch smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp veggie stock powder
- Start by boiling two large pots full of water (one for the veggies and one for the pasta). Once both pots of water have come to the boil, put all of the veggies in one and the pasta in the other. Cook the veggies until soft and the pasta accordingly.
- When the veggies are soft, remove from the cooking water and place into a blender. Add 3/4 cup cooking water from the veggies and all of the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and place back into the pot, adding the cheese sauce and stirring until well combined.
- Serve with a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper and parsley or coconut bacon.
I’ve made a handful of different versions of this recipe. It’s great with jalapeños for an extra spicy, Mexican-esque mac & cheese, or with pan fried mushrooms, spinach and peas if you’re wanting to pack in some extra veggies!
Lately I have loved topping my mac & cheese with coconut bacon. It adds a completely new flavour that is totally delicious. I use the Extraordinary Foods Coconut Bacon which I purchased through Sprout Market (click HERE). I also have a link for you to receive 20% off and free shipping for your first purchase with Sprout Market. Click HERE.