Bowls and bowls of vegan Mac 'n Cheese have been tumbling out of my kitchen the past few days. I've been seduced, yet again, by those fluffy golden curls of pasta. I've already posted quite a few vegan Mac/Cheez recipes, but this time I was craving a classic bowl. I wanted to put that "blue box" Mac to shame. So this is my fake-out version of what vegans like me may remember Mac 'n Cheese to look, feel, taste and sound like. Yes, sound like too..
Sounds Like Mac. When I fold my fake-out cheese sauce into the steaming, warm, pillow-y macaroni pasta I hear the sound of Mac 'n Cheese. It's a sloshing, gurgling, wet and bubbly sound as the thick sauce oozes between the tubes of macaroni and coats the silky curves in a delicate way.
I actually hadn't heard that sound in a very long time. Maybe back in early college, still a vegetarian, in a desperation move I whipped up a "blue box" Mac. The strangely silky cheese sauce coated each piece of pasta in a dramatic slithering way. Slapping against the side of the bowl as the electric orange powder transformed magically into "sauce." But the taste of "blue box" Mac never trumped the crazy color of the sauce.
But really, this recipe is s much better than my "blue box" memories. It's really a play on what my mom used to make. Rich, thick, creamy pasta that oozed with each spoonful bite. Comfort Mac. Yup, I can veganize that..
Inspired Again by a Memory. So yet another food memory of mine turned itself into my recipe inspiration. Do we see a pattern here folks?
I guess I'm trying to re-create my childhood (or actually, veganize my childhood) one dish at a time.
Fake-Out Mac 'n Cheese
makes 5-6 cups
3 cups fake-out cheese sauce (see below)
6 cups cooked macaroni pasta
2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
To prepare: Cook Pasta. Drain. Toss with nutritional yeast and parsley (opt'l tomatoes). Fold in prepared cheese sauce. Serve warm or keep warm in oven until ready to serve.
Fake-Out Cheese Sauce Recipe Below
Stretch Your Cheese Sauce - 5 uses
Find five more uses for my Fake-out Cheese Sauce (think cheesy nachos and vegan 'special sauce').
Fake-Out Cheese Sauce - updated 11/12
vegan, makes 5 cups
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 can cannellini beans, drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (or add to taste)
1/4 tsp fine pepper + salt to taste
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance) softened
1 Tbsp tahini (optional - adds a tang to the sauce – just as real cheese would)
add a few dashes cayenne or red pepper flakes for heat!
Last step: thin out to desired thickness with PLAIN soy milk, soy creamer or water
1. Bake your sweet potato – if using that method.
2. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. I used my Vitamix. Blend on low and increase gradually until mixture becomes smooth.
3. You can do a taste test and adjust spices, sweetness. Lastly, thin out the sauce to your desired thickness using soy milk, soy creamer or water. I added in a splash of soy creamer.
4. If serving with pasta, add directly to hot, just drained pasta and the pasta will heat the sauce. Otherwise, you can simmer the sauce on your stove top until ready to be served or used in a recipe. Simmering the sauce is great if using for a cheesy dip or fondue.