Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Vegan Mac n' Cheese

I have a friend, Pam.  I've known her for what feels like five million years.  She writes an amazing blog called The Mental Confessional and posts equally amazing photos on Instagram.

If you know Pam, you'd know she has these amazing sparkling eyes and the most contagious laugh.  You'd never know that Pam suffers from bipolar disorder and postpartum depression.  I know from her blog posts, that there are times that feel really dark to her.  But I also know, that through her writing she has become a beacon of light amidst the darkness for others with her honest and heartfelt writing.  I am proud of her every day for working hard at advocating for others, for trying to manage her illness and for always being the best mom to her boys.

So what does vegan mac n' cheese have to do with mental illness?  Well, dairy has been linked to depression, bipolar disorder, cancer, and even dementia.  Pam has taken steps to cut out some meat from her diet (see, I can be a good influence!) but I would love for her to stop with the dairy, especially if there's a chance it's a part of what's making her feel crappy.  So in honor of my dear inspirational friend Pam, I'd like to offer her my favorite vegan mac n' cheese recipe.  This cheese sauce is amazing.  We use it on chips, over baked potatoes, and it will be the sauce I use to make the Hubby's favorite broccoli cheese casserole with Ritz cracker topping for Thanksgiving.

I hope you try it and like it as much as we do.

All you need is pasta (obviously) potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, cashews, water, butter, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper.  Now, don't go calling shenanigans already.  I promise you, this will all come together into a cheese sauce thanks to some vegan magic!


After you boil the veggies and nuts, dump it all in the blender with the rest of the ingredients.  Don't strain the veggies and nuts, add that water too.


You wind up with this amazingly, warm, lucious, thick, creamy cheese sauce.


Pour it onto your cooked pasta.


mmm...


Ta da!  Vegan Mac n' Cheese!


I did not come up with this recipe all by myself.  I took my inspiration from VegNews Vegan Macaroni & Cheese.  When I found this recipe, it was life changing!  I made a few changes in the ingredients and cooking directions, but I'd still recommend checking their version out.  I'd also consider subscribing to their magazine.  I do and I love it!  We use this cheese sauce for all sorts of things.  Once refrigerated, it becomes spreadable.

Ingredients

1 pound of cooked elbow macaroni

2 cups of water
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of cashews

3-4 tsp of salt (I use kosher, but use what you like)
5 TBS of vegan butter (I use homemade, but use what you like)
1/2 tsp mustard (whatever you have will be fine)
2 TBS lemon juice (fresh or from a bottle)
black pepper to taste (I crank my pepper grinder 10-20 times)
1/2 tsp paprika

Directions:
  1. Take a medium sized pot (if it's too big, the water won't cover the vegetables) and put in the water, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cashews.
  2. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Put into your blender, the salt, butter, mustard, lemon juice, pepper and paprika.  Add the cooked vegetables along with the cooking water to the blender.
  4. Blend until smooth.  I have a high-speed blender, but I can't imagine this would be hard to do in a regular blender.  Just try it.
  5. Dump in onto your macaroni and stir.  I add peas for color, but since your sauce is all vegetables, you don't really have to feel bad for eating a big bowl of pasta.
  •       NOTE:  The measurements of the potatoes, carrots and onions are not exact.  I often add more or less depending on how many I peeled.  So if you have 2 1/2 cups of potatoes or 3/4 cups of carrots, don't freak out.  It's not a big deal.  But do try to dice the potatoes and carrots the same-ish size so they cook at the same rate.  Also, I buy roasted cashews because they're cheaper, and have noticed no difference in taste.
  •       DISCLAIMER: This does not taste like Kraft Mac n' Cheese.  Because nostalgia makes that crap taste good, not your actual taste buds.  This tastes more like real mac n' cheese.  The kind where you make a roux and then add milk and freshly grated cheddar.  I say freshly grated, because no one should buy pregrated as it has wood pulp.  Yuck.  Just saying...



2 comments:

  1. I needed this boost today like you wouldn't believe. This is going on my shopping list this weekend and it will be Sunday dinner!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks love!!! xoxoxo
    I can't wait to try this! xoxo

    ReplyDelete