Posts tagged Macaroni and cheese

Favorite Vegan Macaroni and Cheese All-In-One Casserole

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Welcome Fall!

It’s my favorite time of the year for comforting and flavorful meals.

Piping hot casseroles, stews and soups. I’m all for it!

I know you and your family will 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 ago.

Even though there are ten thousand delicious vegan mac-n-cheese casseroles already out there, this is my default recipe now. Why? Because it is simply a meal in itself. It’s fast and convenient. You don’t have to soak the cashews or thaw the frozen veggies, which makes this so easy to throw together.

That’s right, veggies are involved and smothered in cheese sauce, so 8 year olds gobble it down without complaint. You can even add Gardein Chick’n strips or Beyond Meat grilled or lightly seasoned strips… hence the “all-in-one”.

This recipe always leaves leftovers for our family of three, which I love. Some weeks we get lucky and one night we’ll do a leftover buffet from a few previous meals. Isn’t that the best? As much as I like cooking, I love NOT cooking!

You can serve this with a side salad as you may find you won’t be able to stop eating this casserole. A salad may help to slow you down.

I usually use a lot more broccoli than pictured, but I ran out for this round. I decided it was time to blog it anyway.

In my old post, I talked about not being able to eat nutritional yeast… well, I didn’t realize that as a newer vegan, when I tried nutritional yeast, it was too potent with fiber that my body was not used to. I wrote it off then, but THANKFULLY I gave it another chance after being vegan for a while, and now all is fine in my intestinal world… We can’t get enough of it now. High protein, high fiber, B-12 and cheesy goodness!

You can make this dish gluten free by using brown rice noodles, which we usually opt for. We like Tinkyada brand. For this dish pictured, I used mini wheat elbows for something different (not gluten free). I really like the look of this casserole with a brown rice Fusili noodle, which is mostly what I use. I know I said it would soak up too much liquid in my other post, but we take our chances and it works out fine. I even cut back the liquid from the original recipe in order to make it a thicker sauce. You can always keep it at two cups and add more cashews if necessary.

You’ll have to play around with this recipe depending on your preference and baking dish. I know you’ll make this more than once!

With that said, please take note of the casserole dish I am using, because I feel it needs to be a deeper dish in order to keep the casserole from potentially drying out.

Keep me posted in the comment section if you make this recipe. I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you are looking for more recipe ideas or daily inspiration, the best place to follow me is on Instagram at karmatarian, or Facebook. I also have a few recipes over on Pinterest. I usually follow back on Instagram if you aren’t a private user.

Be sure to sign up for email notifications for future blog posts as I post when the mood strikes.

…and it would not be my post without a sarcastic comment about how much I hate the dairy industry!  I’ll leave it to Dr. Klaper and his now famous words from the must see documentary “Cowspiracy”. Listen to what he has to say about baby calf fluid…

 

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Favorite Vegan Macaroni and Cheese All-In-One Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 -16 oz Box or Bag of preferred Pasta Noodles
  • 1 plus 3/4 Cup Non Dairy Milk, Plain
  • 1 Cup of Raw Cashews
  • 2 Tbs Soy Sauce (I usually useTamari)
  • 1/2 Lemon – (Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp of Jarred Crushed Garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz bag of frozen Broccoli (guesstimate on the frozen veggies because you can add as much or as little as you like)
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz bag of frozen Green Peas
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs, Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or Panko Crumbs
  • 1 Tbs Melted Coconut Oil or Grapeseed oil
  • Optional Paprika to sprinkle on the top

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Boil  water and cook pasta according the the directions.

While pasta is cooking, add the next 11 ingredients to a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. It should taste bold as flavor will dissipate a little among the noodles and veggies.

When noodles are finished, drain and pour into a 2.8 Liter oval casserole dish

Mix in the frozen veggies

Mix in optional cooked chick’n (I don’t usually do this, but it is an idea)

*Make sure all ingredients are at least level with the top of the casserole and not overflowing, because you want the sauce to cover everything, or at least have coated the top later.

Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and veggies and mix well

In a small bowl pour bread crumbs and 1 Tbs oil and then use a fork to blend well until nice and crumbly.

Sprinkle the coated bread crumbs evenly over the casserole. Sprinkle with a little paprika if desired.

Pop the casserole into the oven uncovered and bake for 20 to 25 mins. Bread crumbs should brown nicely.

Enjoy!

Christa

~The Karmatarian

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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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