Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese

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Get ready for the creamiest, tangiest, most satisfying vegan mac and cheese that you will ever make. I have made this many times both for myself and also to bring along to events with family and friends, and it always goes over well. 

This has all of the qualities of comfort food–warm, creamy and rich–without the usual heaviness that comes with traditional mac and cheese made with dairy. The tanginess will leave you feeling nostalgic for the familiar taste of dairy cheese, but is achieved through healthier plant based alternatives. Also, because of the fat content in the soaked cashews and tahini, you won't feel like you're just eating blended potatoes and carrots on pasta. 

However, If you're watching your fat intake, you could halve the cashews and leave out the tahini, but I feel that the combination of tahini, lemon juice and garlic adds a perfect savory flavor--almost like parmesan cheese! 

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below,  and don't forget to tag me on Instagram (@meatlessinnewyork) if you recreate my recipe!

 

Prep time: 1 hour (to soak cashews). Cook time: 15 minutes. Serves 4-5

INGREDIENTS

Sauce

  • 1 medium sized potato (around 2 cups)

  • 2 carrots (around 4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup white onion
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour (or overnight)
  • 2tbs dijon mustard
  • 3 tbs lemon juice (see notes)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 3 tbs nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box of macaroni noodles

bread crumbs

  • 4 slices of extra toasted bread 
  • 2 tbs vegan butter (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel and dice your potatoes, carrots and onions into medium sized chunks.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, add the diced vegetables. Cover with water and boil until soft. About 10 minutes.
  3.  While the vegetables are cooking, cook a box of brown rice pasta according to box instructions.
  4. For the bread crumbs, toast the bread in a toaster or under a broiler until golden brown on each side and extremely crispy. Break up into smaller pieces and place the toasted bread in a food processor with vegan butter (optional) and blitz until they are in fine pieces.  Set aside.
  5. Drain most of the water from the vegetables, saving about half a cup for blending, and add the softened vegetables into a blender (preferably high speed) and blend until smooth.
  6. After the vegetable mixture is smooth, add cashews, dijon, garlic powder, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  7. Pour over the cooked macaroni, mix well and top with bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

notes:

  • Upon remaking this recipe a few times, I'd made a few tweaks here and there, but I truly believe the recipe is great as is. But I just wanted to let you all know that in place of or in addition to the lemon juice, you could add 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The point of the lemon juice is to add acidity and tang, so I feel that ACV works just as well if you don't have fresh lemons on hand. Also the last time I made this I was out of white onions (I had red ones but I was worried it would change the color), so I used onion powder instead and it was still delicious! So try that out if you're looking to make the recipe a little less involved.
  • Lastly, the nature of this recipe is that it is customizable. I always start with the measurements I've given, and sometimes add more lemon juice, tahini or dijon to taste. I find that it's hard to find an exact measurement of the potatoes and carrots, so you really just have to taste as you go and make sure that everything is seasoned the way you like it. I also find that once you taste the sauce and think it's perfect, then you should add more salt and acidity. Once it is poured over the pasta, everything becomes a little diluted so to avoid having to season after mixing everything together, just put a little more than you think you need. Trust me!  

Want to save this creamy vegan mac n' cheese for later? Pin this recipe to your Pinterest boards!

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