3.07.2012

mac sans cheese

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

Ingredients:
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
paprika

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.

18 comments:

  1. Wow! No cheese??? I may have to try this as a healthy alternative one evening and trick all my dinner guests

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  2. No. WAY.
    I refuse to believe that has no cheese in it.
    I really don't want to blend all this stuff together, but I want to eat that.
    NOW!!!

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  3. How much does this make? Lionel hates for me to trick him and rarely tries stuff I make so for a while I will need a one-person, one-week serving ( I like to make things on Sunday to have for lunch all week ).

    Yummmm it looks so delicious I cannot wait to try it!

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    Replies
    1. Hmm...it's a little less than 2/3 of a box of pasta, if that helps. I think it would be appropriate for one person for a week. The two of use finished it in a few days.

      In any case, Lionel might enjoy it just as pasta with a veggie sauce...Joe didn't think it tasted like cheese and still loved it!

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  4. Ooh this looks so good! I love the idea of a vegan mac and cheese. I've never made one before but with the cashews and cauliflower, I'm convinced. I've seen some versions with butternut squash too. I'm going to have to get on board with this. Great photos.

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    Replies
    1. Butternut squash! Genius! I bet it adds an amaaaazing color.

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  5. I think of all the things I miss, I miss mac&cheese the most. Looks great, Clair

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    Replies
    1. Gah, you'd think they'd have paleo pasta by now. Git on it, food industry!

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  6. I haven't had Mac&Cheese in years and this sounds like the perfect, healthy recipe for a comeback ;) I agree with Stephanie, the photos look great!

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  7. Zan's going sans gluten soon (or wheat, I should say), so I might have to try this with the rice pasta. It looks delicious and I love how it's made with vegetables!

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    Replies
    1. Ooh, I can't wait to hear how this plays out...and what inspired it!

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  8. I couldn't wait to get to the actual recipe to see how you pulled this off. Photos look delicious. Recipe sounds delicious. I'll have to give this a try and see if husband notices the difference!

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  9. I'm not a vegan. BUT I am an adventurous eater. And this looks so crazy (in a very appetizing and exciting way) that I just might try it. Consider it "pinned".

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  10. Your recipes are amazing! Between this and the butter beer I'm practically foaming at the mouth.

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  12. Oh my goodness! This looks delightful. I'm vegetarian, but I try to do vegan as often as possible. I definitely want to try this!

    xo,
    Hannah
    www.chillairandperfume.blogspot.com

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  13. I can't believe it tastes so much like mac and cheese! I have to try this!!

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  14. This is amazing! I love variations on the traditional mac and cheese and even though I'm not vegan, do love a good vegan recipe. I'll have to try this! Thank you for the inspiration!

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Thanks for making me smile. =)