3-Way Mac-n-Cheese

This dish really ought to be called No Excuses Mac-n-Cheese. Something this creamy and delicious gives us no reason whatsoever to exploit cows for the sake of comfort food.  Besides, there isn’t much comfort knowing dairy cows are the most abused and exploited of all factory farmed animals. Eating vegan mac-n-cheese you get the best of both worlds…. comforting yumminess and peace filling up your heart which might just help you sleep better at night! All it takes is going into your kitchen and doing things a little differently. It’s not that hard. Honestly!

If you’re not there yet, a recipe like this may be what you need to help kick your addiction to Casein. It’s way overdue that humans be weaned. After all, we aren’t calves needing the high of our mother’s Casomorphins which encourage us to stick close to her udders ensuring our nourishment along with IGF1 hormone to support our growth into a Heffer! Still most humans absolutely love cow secretions and walk around high on the breakdown of these bovine hormones waiting to get their next fix. It’s pretty ridiculous when you step back and see it for what it is.

3-Way Mac-n-Cheese

Ok, Let me tell you why it’s 3-way. No need for minds to be wandering. You can make this dish as a casserole two different ways or you can make it simply, noodles and cheese sauce. Did you know traditional mac-n-cheese is one of a toddler’s most consumed food if not number one! Yikes! But you won’t feel bad giving this version to your sweet Angel! Velveeta. Kraft. I shudder just hearing these words. Cheese sauce pouch full of pus and preservatives. Eeeew!  Powdered cheese… Blah! Well this dish doesn’t even compare. Mine blows that crap away! Bonus: Vegan versions won’t clog your arteries or fill you with unwanted growth hormones.  They actually come with a Halo. Well, I don’t know for sure, but there’s a good chance! And there’s three, four or more ways to make this cheese sauce. You can use the blended cashews or not and you can make it with many different kinds of “milk”. If you cannot get your hands on Daiya Cheese shreds (the best vegan invention yet) you can make the casserole version without it, no problem.  And, drum roll please…. Either way, you can make this Gluten and Soy free! So, all bases are covered and we are left with absolutely… No Excuses!

#1 – Basic Noodles and Sauce… a toddler’s favorite  (mine too!)

This is when I want to make a fast bowl of mac and cheese for my three year old and have just a few bites left over for myself. Or if you’re not into sharing, just a big bowl for yourself with no left overs. If you want more, you’ll need to do the math for this recipe. But this is such an easy one to eye-ball.

What you’ll need

1 Cup of Dry Cavatelli Noodles

1 Tbs Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 Cup of Creamy Plain Almond Milk (I like the kind you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Whole Foods 365 brand, Wal-Mart sells Silk brand or Almond Breeze, Trader Joe’s now sells their version… or use your favorite.)

1 Cup Daiya Cheese, Cheddar Style Shreds (dairy free, gluten free and soy free!)

1 large pinch of Garlic Powder

1 large pinch of ground Turmeric

about 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt  (I love this salt, it has 84 trace minerals!)

*Update – I rarely add Earth Balance to this dish anymore, but if you are one that likes extra buttery flavor you might enjoy it. I am trying to cut back on oils wherever possible.

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.  When done, drain thoroughly. Add 1 Tbs of Earth Balance. Mix and melt it into the noodles.

In a separate pot. Pour in the Almond milk and bring to a light boil. Add Daiya Cheese and stir constantly until it melts all the way.  This seems to take a bit. Patience young grasshopper! You”ll begin to see the mixture thicken…. and thicken until the desired consistency.  You may have to adjust the heat. Add the sea salt, Turmeric and garlic powder and taste to adjust. Add more Daiya cheese if necessary. Feel free to lick the spoon here. Pour the sauce over your cooked Cavatelli noodles, mix and serve!

*Note: My first attempt with this recipe I used large Penne Noodles. It was a No-Go with my son. He likes small shells. I switched, and now he devours this! Picky little things, those toddlers!

Secondly I had no Cheddar Daiya on hand. What to do… what to do… I used the Mozzarella style and added more Turmeric and Paprika for coloring. It was every bit as fabulous!

Thirdly, the first time I tried this with canned coconut milk because I only had vanilla almond milk on hand. And I do not recommend vanilla flavor milk for this. I screwed up  too many other recipes trying this.  Vanilla flavor works best for baking or desserts. I used half of a can of coconut milk due to it’s creamy nature and saved the other half for a green smoothie at a later time. This turned out just as wonderful!


#2 – Mac-n-Cheese Casserole…  A traditional comfort food favorite

What You’ll Need

10-16 oz Pasta  such as Penne    (I used a bag of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta to make this Gluten Free! Also you don’t want a type of pasta that has too much texture or it will soak up the sauce and end up dry. Use smooth pasta. You don’t really need the whole bag, but it didn’t hurt me to have more cooked noodles on hand)

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 Can of Coconut Milk plus Water to equal 2 Cups Total Liquid

Or

2 Cups Creamy Plain Almond Milk    (You can also use other milks like hemp, oat, rice or soy. I make it with coconut or almond but hemp would be great too!)

1 Cup Raw Cashews 

2 Tbs Soy Sauce

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp or more Sea Salt.

1 tsp Crushed Garlic  (Optional as you can omit and just add more garlic powder)

Large Pinch Garlic Powder

Large Pinch Onion Powder

Pepper, optional

1 + 1/2 Cup Daiya Cheese, Cheddar Style Shreds

Misto Sprayer filled with Olive Oil or your favorite Cooking Spray

1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs, Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or use Toasted and Crumbled Gluten Free Waffles as your topping!

Paprika to sprinkle on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and get your 8×8 casserole dish ready.  Make Pasta according to the package directions, drain, return to pot and drizzle with 1 Tbs of Olive Oil so it won’t stick together while you are making the sauce. This also adds to the rich creamy outcome of the sauce.

In a blender, add milk, cashews, soy sauce, lemon juice, turmeric, paprika, sea salt, crushed garlic, garlic powder, onion powder and blend away until thickened. Taste to adjust seasonings and salt. Seems like the salt gets baked away, don’t be afraid to taste the salt here.

Once blended and creamy, transfer to a large pot and heat to a light boil. Add your Daiya Cheese and whisk constantly until it’s all melted. You may have to adjust or raise the heat. When melted, add noodles slowly to the sauce… I may have used 3/4 or less of my 16 oz bag.

Just eye-ball the consistency of your noodles and sauce but it’s fine if it seems a bit saucy because that will bake in, and you certainly don’t want this to turn out dry.

After your noodles are coated, transfer the mixture to your casserole dish and top evenly with bread crumbs and paprika. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, remove and spritz with olive oil and turn your oven to broil. Lightly broil!  Watch it VERY closely here… Broil for about 2 minutes, give or take, until it is a beautiful golden brown. I did this because my casserole did not brown all the way within 15 minutes of baking and you don’t want to over bake this.

Remove, let cool for a minute and dive right in! No fear if you haven’t salted it enough, have your shaker with Himalayan sea salt near by. Problem solved.

# 3 (and 4)

You don’t have Daiya Cheese on hand

If you don’t have Daiya cheese on hand, just add your noodles to the cashew sauce without the step of melting in the Daiya Cheese and then bake in the oven.

Allergic to Cashews?

Cashews makes a fabulous creamy sauce, an idea which I stole from the wonderful world of raw food. I think cashew sauce plus Mozzarella Daiya cheese would make a wonderful Alfredo sauce!

But if you can’t do cashews, then follow the first recipe for basic noodles and sauce but make it into a casserole:

Cook about 10 oz or so of dry pasta

Use 2 cups of your preferred nut, soy or rice milk

Increase your Daiya Cheese from 1 to 2-3 cups

Add more Earth Balance, optional

Make your pasta. Make your sauce. Adjust your seasonings. Mix with noddles and pour into your 8×8 casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and paprika and bake for 15 minutes in a 375 oven until lightly bubbly and brown. See if you need to spritz with oil and broil to brown evenly.

*Note: A lot of vegan recipes call for Nutritional Yeast  especially in mac -n- cheese. Feel free to add it. I used to think I was allergic to nutritional yeast when I first started going vegetarian. It has a lot of fiber! My body was not used to it. It felt like daggers going through my digestive tract. Over time, the body adjusts to fiber such as beans and nutritional yeast. I’m so thankful because now I can’t get enough of this stuff and I do add it to my mac-n-cheese dishes and so many others. So definitely try nutritional yeast in your recipes for added cheesy flavor and vitamin boost. Especially B12. It also contains protein.

So there you have it, many ways to veganize an American classic. Have fun creating and I would love your feedback as always!

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Alisha said,

    I made the mac and cheese casserole for New Years Eve and it turned out awesome! My husband loved it and has requested to see a lot more of it! :) Super easy too!

  2. 2

    Christa said,

    Excellent!!! Thank you for letting me know. Happy New Year Alisha!

  3. 3

    […] love my revamped vegan Macaroni and Cheese recipe that I want to share. This is an update to the  3-Way Mac-n-Cheese post from forever […]


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