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I finally pulled the trigger and attempted the holy grail of plant-based cuisine – mac and “cheese.”  I put off making it for a long time, fearing the result.  In my omnivorous days I was a huge fan of mac & cheese – any kind other than the blue box.  I assumed any plant-based version would be a gigantic disappointment – as are most foods that attempt to taste like their non-vegan alternatives.  With that in mind, I set out to create a recipe that wouldn’t directly mimic mac and cheese, but rather satisfy my desire for creamy, savory pasta.  The result  couldn’t have hit the mark any better – a bold, flavorful dish balanced by creamy goodness – and gluten-free to boot.  It’s so good, you’ll go back for more.

S’Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (optional but recommended!)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I used half almond milk, half unsweetened MimicCreme)
  • 2 heaping tbsp yellow miso
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup corn oil mixed together)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package gluten-free macaroni, cooked (I used organic Tinkyada brown rice penne)

Preparation:

In a food processor or VitaMix, finely chop the cashews (watch closely – you don’t want it to turn into cashew butter!).  Add the nutritional yeast, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt & pepper and blend together (pulse with a food processor or blend on medium-high in your VitaMix until well combined).

In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, miso corn starch, olive oil and canola oil.  Heat on medium high until mixture begins to boil, whisking very frequently.  Turn down heat to low and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently – mixture should be the consistency of gravy.

Add the milk mixture to the food processor or Vitamix with the cashew mixture.  Blend on high until smooth. Scrape down the sides well whenever necessary. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, mustard, hot sauce and lemon juice and blend well until everything is smooth.

Combine cooked pasta with the amount of sauce you like.  Devour.

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