Vegan Macaroni and ‘Cheese’ with Peas

Most people like pizza and grease when hungover; I turn to macaroni and cheese to fill my comfort food void. Mac and cheese is one dish that I’ve missed since taking dairy out of my diet.

I’ve tried various kinds of fake cheeses but they often have a weird taste and texture. So I do without. But when I saw this recipe I thought I’d try it as I like all of the ingredients in the sauce and, as a bonus, I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. I tripled the original recipe because I wanted to make a big batch. It reheats and freezes well. Hubby, my official taste tester, gobbled it down (but he may have been hungover). When blitzed in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix), the sauce has a creamy and velvety texture and the noodles get nicely coated. This sauce would do well with the addition of some salsa and roasted jalapenos to make a creamy queso dip. -bvox

Vegan Macaroni and ‘Cheese’ with Peas

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

For the ‘cheese’ sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and finely diced potatoes
  • 1 cup peeled and finely diced carrots
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil or flavourless oil (if all you have is EVOO, use it!)
  • 1/3 cup water or you can use reserved cooking water from the veg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (optional)

For the whole dish

  • 1 box (about 375 g) dry pasta (such as macaroni or fusilli)
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen peas

Directions:

For the ‘cheese’ sauce

  1. Soak the cashews in a bowl of hot water for at least one hour to overnight. Drain and rinse. (For a quick-soak method, bring a small pot of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Add the cashews to the hot water and soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain and rinse.)
  2. Add potatoes and carrots to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup cooking water.
  3. Place all ‘cheese’ sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Alternately. you can use a food processor and may have to process the mixture for several minutes. Keep in mind that if you use cashews they won’t fully break down like they do in a Vitamix, resulting in a slightly more textured sauce. You can omit the cashews.
  4. If the mixture is too thick, a splash of water or oil can help it along. Sample the sauce and adjust seasonings as desired. The sauce will keep for up to one week refrigerated in an airtight container.

For the whole dish

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
  2. Return the pasta to the pot and add the peas and the cheese sauce. Stir and heat over low until heated throughout and slightly thickened. You can also add the peas to the pasta during the last 30 seconds of cooking.
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