Yay it’s another veganmofo post! Today’s recipe is courtesy of Allison’s Gourmet. Normally I would be a little bit hesitant to post a recipe that’s already been posted in various other places but this is a recipe that needs to be tried to be believed. Mac and cheese was something that I used to love as an omnivore. When I went vegan, I tried every single mac and cheese recipe that I could find – all ones from VegWeb, prepackaged ones from Whole Foods, all the ones in every notable vegan cookbook I could find (and I own A LOT of them!), along with a ton of others. Some of them tasted …okay, but none of them tasted even remotely like mac and cheese to me. Even when the revolutionary Daiya non-dairy cheese came out in the USA, I thought it would be THE KEY to great mac and cheese, but, alas – the mac and cheese I made with Daiya came out the worst of all.
My prayers were answered when I found this recipe by Allison of Allison’s Gourmet, originally published in VegNews. Not only does it taste amazing, it actually tastes like real mac and cheese, which is more than I can say for any of the other recipes I’ve tried. I’ve brought it to potlucks and served it to omnivores without even mentioning that it was vegan, and everyone loved it and just assumed it had real cheese in it. But that’s not even the best part! The best part about it is the simplicity of the ingredients. There’s no nutritional yeast or expensive vegan cheeses to buy – just regular old stuff you can get at the grocery store.
Allison’s Gourmet Vegan Mac and Cheese
When I make this, I tweak it slightly from the original recipe, which can be found here. I don’t like my mac and cheese to have a crunchy topping, so I don’t use the breadcrumbs or dust the top with paprika. I also don’t usually have the patience to bake it in the oven at all, because I’m too excited to eat it.
Can be soy free and gluten free too, if you use soy free margarine and/or gluten free pasta!
The original recipe says it Serves 6 but I would say the way I make it serves 4. Maybe the breadcrumbs do make that extra difference to bump it up to serving 6, I dunno. I can eat half the entire recipe in one sitting (yikes!!!) with no additional side dishes, or 1/4 of the recipe if I have it with cut up tofu dogs like in the above picture.
- 8-12 oz / 226g of Elbow or shell pasta – or use whatever shape you want!
- water and a few pinches of salt to cook the pasta in
- 1/3 Cup Onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 TBSP Shallots, peeled and chopped – or just substitute with more onion
- 1/4 Cup Carrots, diced
- 1 Cup Red or Yellow Potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 Cup / 250ml of water
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted Cashews (see note below for subtsitution information if you have a tree nut allergy)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp mustard
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1/3 Cup / 75g Vitalite, Earth Balance, or other vegan butter/margarine.
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
Cashew Allergy note: If you’re allergic to cashews, I feel your pain! I’m allergic to brazil nuts, and those things are in tons of vegan recipes, ESPECIALLY raw food ones, much to my constant disappointment. I have successfully made this recipe with sunflower seeds instead of cashews (because I was out of cashews at the time) – in my opinion it doesn’t taste as AMAZING as it does with cashews, but it still tastes good and I actually don’t like sunflower seeds so that might’ve been why I felt that way. Other people have reported success with using tahini as a substitute, but I haven’t tried it.
Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions.
Meanwhile, combine the potato, carrot, onion, and shallots (if using) in a small saucepan with the cup of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover. Cook until vegetables are very soft, about 10-15 minutes. Edited to add: It’s really important that you don’t let all the water boil away from the veggies, and DO NOT allow the veggies to burn! That’s why I tell you to cover them once simmering. If you accidentally let the water boil away, add a little bit of water back in to the saucepan. This is information that’s missing from the original VegWeb article, but it’s pretty important, in my experience.
In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, margarine, mustard, lemon juice, and spices.
Once the vegetables are finished cooking, add the cooked vegetables along with the water to the cashew mix in the blender. Process into a smooth puree.
In a bowl, mix the cooked pasta with the cheese sauce. If you want baked mac, now is the time when you would spread it into an oven-safe casserole dish and cook in an oven at 350 f / 175 c for 30 minutes. But I can never wait that long! I usually just eat it straight away without baking.
NOTE: These nutrition facts are calculated based on my version of the recipe (i.e. no breadcrumbs) and using a bag of gluten free pasta and earth balance as the margarine. Regular pasta tends to be lower in calories than gluten free pasta.
1 serving (1/4 of the recipe) contains:
- 535 Calories
- 83 g Carbs
- 18g fat
- 11g protein