We’ve been doing the Meatless Monday thing pretty much for the entirety of our marriage so far. It’s been fun trying new recipes and realizing that you don’t need an animal protein to make a meal. Some of our favorite veg recipes are things like black bean burgers, tofu curry, eggplant parmesan, and this recipe for vegan mac & cheese. Admittedly, when I first made it I added a can of tuna and called it tuna casserole. Brett asked for seconds and couldn’t stop telling me how good it was. Even when I told him what was in it he didn’t change his mind. The flavors are great and really adaptable to any taste. It makes a great side dish with plenty of leftovers, or a main dish that will definitely fill you up.
Vegan Mac & Cheese
(adapted from the edible perspective)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped (or about 1 cup of any mild vegetable such as carrots, cauliflower, etc.)
½ small onion, peeled and chopped (about ¼-1/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups raw cashews and/or almonds (in any ratio)
1 1/3 cup unsweetened, unflavored milk substitute
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon mustard
12-16 ounces pasta (any type you would use for mac & cheese)
1 slice bread (or fresh breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon Earth Balance (vegan margarine)
Boil sweet potatoes and onion in a medium pot until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside. Add nuts and milk to blender. Process until smooth. Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, and mustard and process until smooth. Add boiled and drained vegetables and process until all combined. Cook pasta in boiling water for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Mix together cheese sauce and pasta. Pour into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle paprika over top. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, process slice of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. Melt butter and combine with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over baked casserole and place under the broiler for 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
Serves approximately 4-6 as a main course
Nutritional yeast is probably the only ingredient that would be hard to find. I get it out of the bulk bins at Whole Foods, but I’ve also seen it in the natural section at grocery stores (Bob’s Red Mill is a national brand that might be easiest to find). You don’t want to leave it out because it’s what gives the casserole its cheesy flavor (Read more about it here).
Also, if the strict vegan thing doesn’t matter to you, regular cow’s milk and butter work just fine in this (probably better, especially the butter). Once you blend the sauce, give it a taste. You might want to add some fresh herbs, or some cayenne for a little heat. And it does make a great tuna casserole with just the addition of one can of tuna. Like Ashley says on her blog, I can’t imagine someone not liking this. Try it!