I grew up on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the 70’s and as my palate became slightly more sophisticated, I started eating pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano, baked ziti, or ravioli– all basically modified versions of noodles and cheese. When went plant-based, this satisfying combo was the hardest thing to give up. That is probably why I went to work immediately to find yummy cheese substitutes. Luckily, now there are lots of options for cheese substitutes at the grocery store. However, this is an easy version you can make from scratch and it will even give you leftovers that you can use on veggies, slather on toast or eat with a spoon!
I made this Mac-n-Cheese recipe a hearty meal by adding steamed broccoli and baked tofu. You could also add in cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, “faux” sausage chunks, roasted asparagus tips or whatever you can think of!
Fear not, if you are gluten free, simply substitute one of the many pasta options. I love this one:
Here is the recipe:
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 2/3 c cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours and drained
- 1/3 c rice milk
- 3 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup earth balance or other vegan butter
- 1/4 cup tapioca (or regular) flour
Preheat oven to 400°. Put some fork holes in a sweet potato and lightly brush with extra virgin olive oil. Roast the sweet potato until the fork easily pierces the potato (around 25 minutes), turning halfway. Allow to cool enough to peel.
Put the cooked potato in a high speed blender with the cashews, rice milk, cherry tomatoes, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, and garlic and onion powder. Blend until smooth.
Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add the vegan butter. Create a roux by adding in the tapioca flour and stirring until small bubbles form (don’t worry if you aren’t getting great bubbles). Stir for around 1 minute. Add in the blended “cheese” and stir, bringing sauce to a low boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over macaroni, stir well and serve.