Real talk: sometimes, I just want something comforting and delicious that won’t leave me feeling like I just ate a submarine. Recently, I was craving macaroni & cheese.
Given my particular health needs, I wanted to do a vegan version. Thankfully, I was introduced to Brown Vegan, and through that website, I found an amazing vegan macaroni and cheese recipe that actually tasted like the bee’s knees. (OK, no, I haven’t actually tasted a bee’s knees, but you get what I mean. Who came up with that phrase, anyway? I mean, who was thinking about the knees of a bee? Do they have knees? I digress.)
The Brown Vegan references the original recipe where she found this deliciousness, but I made most of the same adjustments she did. In addition, I opted to not use bread or Dijon mustard in my cooking adventure.
What I loved about this recipe is that the sauce is actually made with vegetables, among other things, and came out super creamy and wonderfully savory.
Without further ado, here is the pathway to this vegan comfort yum.
Vegan Baked Mac n Cheese
Macaroni (initial boiling)
- 4 quarts water
- dash of sea salt
- 8 ounces macaroni (I used a gluten-free macaroni)
- 3/4 cup raw cashews (soak for about an hour prior to use)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup Earth Balance spread
- 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup yellow potatoes, chopped (I left the skin on, blends w/ no problem)
- 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic
- 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. (Depending on the type of macaroni you get, regular vs. gluten-free vs. veggie-infused, etc., the exact cooking time can change. Whichever version you use, cook only for the shortest amount of time recommended. So, if it says 6-9 minutes, cook only for 6.) In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. 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. You want to be able to poke a fork through the carrots and potatoes, for instance. This is very important, because otherwise they won’t work well in the blender for the sauce.
In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup Earth Balance, lemon juice, black pepper, cayenne, paprika and garlic. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth. You might adjust the seasonings to your preferred balance.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.