Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

A staple of college students and mothers short on time, mac & cheese is one of those comfort foods that can be found on pub menus and in trendy restaurants, usually with bacon, truffles, lobster, or any manner of other thing added in.  A vegan version of this classic is not difficult to make, which is fortunate, because a life without mac & cheese is a sad life indeed 😉

The following recipe, courtesy of Vegan Yumminess, is what I consider a great base recipe.  I made it exactly as written, and while the creamy mouth feel was spot-on, I did find it was a bit on the bland side.  In future I think I will add a few more spices, and maybe up the nutritional yeast.  Maybe mix in some tomato paste for zest.  You can definitely play around with it, but my goodness was the cheese sauce silky!  I doubled this recipe and there wasn’t much for leftovers after the four of us had significant helpings 😀

ingredients

10 ounces dried macaroni (or about 2⅔ cups)
1 cup peeled/diced yellow potatoes (or russets)
¼ cup peeled/diced carrots
⅓ cup chopped onion
¾ cup water (preferably use liquid from pot of boiled veggies)
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 pinch paprika

directions

  • Cook macaroni al dente, according to package instructions (usually requires boiling for 6-8 minutes in salted water), drain, and set aside.
  • Bring several cups of water to boil in a small pot. Place chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion in the boiling water, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft enough to blend. Cooking time will vary slightly, based on how small you have chopped your veggies.
  • When veggies are soft enough to blend, use a slotted spoon to remove them from cooking water, and place them in your blender. Add ¾ cup of that cooking water to your blender, along with your remaining ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour sauce over your cooked macaroni noodles in a dish of your choice, taste for salt, and serve immediately.
  • Or, place macaroni mixture in a baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until crumbs are turning golden brown.

NOTES
If you are not using a high-speed blender (like Vitamix of Blendtec) for this recipe, I recommend soaking your cashews for at least 30 minutes before attempting this recipe.

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