A few months ago my friends n I decided to have a vegan mac and cheez cookoff. This is the recipe I ended up using for the occasion. We weren’t really being too competitive but our friends daughter picked the winners and mine was one of the winners along with some AMAZING caramelized onion smokey whiskey mac someone made.
If you can find/afford it, drizzle some white truffle oil on each serving before you eat it. The mac n cheez is pretty good on it’s own but the white truffle oil kicks it up a notch and brings a nice earthiness to the dish.
This might also be good with something smokey like pieces of tempeh bacon or seitan italian sausage. If I had thought about it beforehand I would have made some greens like kale or collards to go along with it. 2-4 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast would also probably be a good addition.
You can skip the baking part of this recipe if you’re too hungry to wait. I think the baking is only really needed if you want a crispy breadcrumb topping…in the pics I skipped the breadcrumb topping but still baked it…which I now realize isn’t really needed. Oh and you’ll need a blender or a stick blender for this recipe. A food processor might work but I’m not sure. If you don’t have a blender, go buy one. Or “borrow” one from a family member. Or make this at your friends house with a blender.
*Some words of caution* Just so you know, this isn’t going to taste exactly like regular mac and cheese because it’s obviously not full of cheese, butter, and milk. But it is pretty damn tasty. If you’re not vegan or haven’t had vegan mac n cheez before think of it as pasta in a creamy sauce and you’ll probably like it. But if you’re expecting mac and cheese you won’t. If you come up with any changes that make it better please let me know
adapted from vegnews
Caramelized Onion and Potato White Truffle Mac n Cheez
1 lb small pasta; like macaroni, shells, or mezze penne (mini penne)
1 1/2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (reserve the other half for topping)
1 small carrot, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped (reserve other half for topping)
1 c water
1/3 c raw cashews
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
heaping 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 TBL lemon juice
1/2 TBL mild miso (white/yellow/shiro miso)*
1/4c (4 TBL or 1/2 a stick) of earth balance*
leftover half of onion and potato
white truffle oil, if you can find it and it ain’t too expensive (I got mine at TJ Maxx)
optional breadcrumb topping
1/2c panko (or other) breadcrumbs mixed with 3 TBL melted earth balance
*if you want this recipe to be soy free use chickpea miso and soy free earth balance
1. Start a big pot of water on the stove for the pasta, add some salt to the water. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you’re gonna bake your mac n cheez.
2. Chop the potato, carrot, and onion while you’re waiting for the pasta water to boil (might as well do the garlic while you’re at it)
3. Put the chopped veggies (except the garlic) in a small pot and add that 1 c of water. Bring it to a boil then cover and lower the heat. Let it simmer 10-15 minutes until the veggies are very soft.
4. Throw the cashews (I usually break them up as I put them in the blender), salt, garlic, dijon, turmeric, lemon juice, miso, pepper, cayenne, and earth balance in the blender. I hope you’ve been stirring the pasta occasionally. Once the pasta is ready drain it and rinse with cool water and set aside.
5. Once the veggies are soft carefully pour them (along with the cooking water) into the blender. Let it sit in the blender with the cashews and spices for 5 minutes to soften the cashews a little. After 5 minutes blend, stopping occasionally to lift the lid and let steam escape, until completely smooth. (Don’t forget to burp the hot blender [lift the lid] or you may have a hot exploding mess on your hands/face/kitchen). Taste sauce to see if it’s salty/tangy/cheezy enough for you. If it’s not try adding more miso, salt, or lemon juice. If you want it more spicy you can add some cayenne, or jalapeno or something.
6. In the small pot you were using to cook the veggies heat up a tablespoon or two of oil and add the reserved onion and potato, chopped small, along with a little salt) and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally til lightly browned.
7. If you’re not baking this, mix the sauce and noodles together in the pasta pot or large bowl and eat. If you are baking this get out the 9×13″ pan I hope you have. Or some oven safe dish you think will fit all the pasta. Pour the pasta into the pan and add the cheez sauce. Mix with a large spoon until all noodles are evenly covered in sauce. Top with carmelized onion and potato mixture, and breadcrumbs if using. Cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes. If using breadcrumbs take off foil after 15 minutes and bake another 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot, preferably drizzled with white truffle oil.
If you would like to reheat this I’d recommend microwaving it with a little bit of milk or earth balance to help remoisten it.
up next: mole chili adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance and a veganized version of Alton Brown’s skillet cornbread. Or maybe something sweet.