Friday, October 24, 2008

"Creamy" Mac & "Cheese"

I have been on the search for a good vegan mac and cheese for a long time. True, EJ and I aren't vegan, and we have a lot of love for cheese. I mean a LOT of love for cheese. But, we also try to be health conscious at least part of the time, and I can't justify making a homemade mac and cheese all that often. But with this recipe, I can.

I have had some disasters in the kitchen when it comes to making vegan mac and cheese - some things were completely inedible. Seriously, my big piece of advice is this: avoid recipes that call for 3 cups nutritional yeast and claim it tastes just like cheese. This is a LIE. Nutritional yeast is good, but only in moderation.

Another note about this recipe. I don't feel comfortable saying it is completely original. I have tweaked it a bit, and I'm pretty happy with the results, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without a little help from Vegan Planet.

This recipe is dedicated to Rachel, who asks me for it all the time :)

From Food pics

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Elbow macaroni
1 block soft silken tofu
2 cups soy milk
1/2 chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp dry mustard
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
large sprinkle nutmeg
Cajun seasoning, to taste (I use about 1-2 tbsp)
salt, pepper, to taste
bread crumbs
Spinach (I use about half a bag of fresh spinach but frozen will work too, just thaw it and get out as much water as possible)
3 tbsp olive oil

1. In a large pot of salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente.

2. Preaheat the oven to 375.

3. Meanwhile, get out the blender and blend together the onion, tofu, soy milk, garlic, miso, mustard, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, olive oil, about 3/4 the cajun seasoning, salt and pepper until smooth. At this point, I taste it to see if I like the flavor. If not, add more spices.

4. Spray some oil on a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Drain the macaroni and dump it all into the casserole dish. Pour the tofu mixture over it, reserving about 1-2 cups of the liquid. Mix well, cover all the pasta. Break the spinach up into small pieces and mix it here, too. The heat of the pasta will help steam it, so it might be easier to mix the spinach with the pasta before adding the tofu mixture. Another trick that I do is take about half the spinach, and throw it in with the boiling water when cooking the pasta. It only need to be in the water for a second, so I put it in, stir it, and drain the pasta. Don't do this with all the spinach because it will clump. I recommend doing that to half and adding the other half when mixing it in the casserole dish.

5. Cover the casserole dish with tin foil and bake 25 minutes.

6. Remove from oven. Pour the rest of the tofu mixture over the macaroni and mix well.

7. Mix the bread crumbs (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup) with a little olive oil and sprinkle about half of it all over macaroni. Mix lightly, just mixing the bread crumbs with the top layer of pasta. Sprinkle the rest over the top with the rest of the cajun seasoning.

8. Bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.

NOTE: Instead of bread crumbs, spin some almonds in a coffee grinder until coarsely powdered and use in place of the bread crumbs.

From Food pics

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I made this last night for Elise and Bear. It was FANTASTIC!!!
Thank you so much for posting the recipe and for being so awesome!