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No-Nooch, No-Tofu, Excellent Mac 'n' Cheese

What you need: 

8 oz. macaroni
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup potatoes (peeled)
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup red peppers
1 tablespoon fresh garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon salt

What you do: 

1) Start cooking pasta as directed.
2) Throw chopped veggies (except garlic) in a sauce pan and add water to just cover. Cover with lid and boil until tender.
3) In a food processor, add garlic, cashews, lemon juice, mustard, margarine, and salt and 1/2 cup of broth from the veggies. Process until very smooth, adding a bit more water if it's too stiff and starts to ball up (should resemble the consistency of creamy peanut butter). Add veggies by scooping them out with a hand-held strainer, and process until smooth, adding more salt if needed, or more broth if it needs to be thinned (should look like a thick gravy). You can also play around with spices that you like.
4) Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish, and dump in cooked pasta. Mix evenly to coat.
Note: The original recipe baked the macaroni mixture for another 30 minutes with breadcrumbs on top. I prefer mine creamier, so I skip this part (plus I'm a bit impatient and it taste incredible as is).
Source of recipe: An adaptation of Allison Rivers Samson's recipe in Veg News Magazine posted here: http://www.vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=40&catId=10. This is the best recipe I've come across so far, and pretty versatile. You can use other veggies to make different creamy pasta sauces, like zucchinni & spinach- just make sure you have the potato for the consistency and try to match colors so you don't end up with some weird brown sauce! This combination is surprisingly cheesy, even without nutritional yeast or processed vegan cheeses (which you'll find in most mac 'n' cheese recipes). And, it has a surprisingly cheesy texture due to the potato- even taste good cold!

Preparation Time: 
15 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
15 minutes
Servings: 
4-6
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

really tasty!  i used yellow pepper instead of red, and used a redskin potato with the skin left on.. added nutrition and balanced out the color to make it more mac & cheese colored.  also, i used roasted and salted cashews instead of raw but i soaked them for about a half hour.  lastly, i used water in place of the oil.  it all blended up perfectly creamy and was a beautiful color.  i could taste a little bit of the veggies but it wasnt overpowering - suprisingly mac & cheese-like!

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This was so good! I was a little skeptical going into this because I didn't know how the consistency of the sauce would be, but it is really creamy and smooth. I changed the sauce a little by roasting the red pepper and using vegetable broth instead of the water from the potatoes and carrots (for more flavor). I added a little pepper, paprika, and cumin too. This will make great leftovers!

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Yummy! This tasted just like boxed mac and cheese. I followed the VegNews recipe but I used sweet potato instead of a white potato. I made it in the morning so I could bake it off after work (adding the breadcrumbs just before baking) but it kind of dried out during the day. I would serve this immediately without the baking or breadcrumbs next time. I am also thinking of lots of other ways I would use the "cheese" sauce on other things. Thanks for this!

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Do you soak the raw cashews before blending?

I don't. Just make sure to pulverize them until it becomes a fine grainy texture. Adding the liquid will make it creamy.  I'm sure you would get good results if you did soak them, but I often don't remember to prep anything before cooking!

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Do you soak the raw cashews before blending?

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