Once upon a time, my sister sent me a recipe for vegan mac 'n' cheese, proclaiming that it tasted just like real mac 'n' cheese. I looked at the laundry list of ingredients, jotted down notes on how to do it, stuffed it in my recipe files, and forgot about it.
A few weeks ago I pulled it out and put it on the counter where I'd see it every day. Day after day, it called to me. But I knew it involved blending. I knew it required more than three types of vegetables. I knew I'd have to cry through the onion chopping process.
And then a few days ago, I finally did it. And you should too.
Yes, it involves blending. But the whole recipe is way easier than it seems. Yes, there are multiple veggies. But none of them are weird or expensive. Yes, there's a chopped onion. But if you have ninja chopping skills like I do (no), you'll be done before a single tear falls.
I was amazed by how much this tasted like real cheese...so much so that I exclaimed twhat?! when I licked the sauce. J didn't agree, but still found it incredibly tasty. Whether you're a vegan or not, whether you think this tastes like real cheese or not, you should try it. It's a delicious and healthy dish no matter what. If you're avoiding gluten, just substitute brown rice pasta for the macaroni.
And then we'll all live happily ever after...eating bowls of this creamy, dreamy goodness.
Mac sans Cheese
adapted from Allison's Gourmet
8 oz. whole wheat elbow noodles
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped cauliflower
heaping 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup oil
1/4 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
breadcrumbs, or similar
Boil the noodles until al dente, then rinse with cold water and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the shallot, onion, cauliflower, and carrots with 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. In the meantime, combine cashews, garlic, oil, mustard, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a blender and blend until very smooth.
When vegetables are ready, add them to the blender (including the water) and blend until creamy and smooth. Add this mix to the noodles, stir to combine, and spread in a casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and paprika. (I actually used crushed up whole wheat pretzels. You could try ground nuts, seeds, chips, or crackers too.) Bake for 20 minutes.