The best mac & “cheese” ever.
We have friends over tonight to have dinner and a fireside chat, and we elected to make this mac & cheese recipe, and OMG. Let’s put it this way. Jeff, who is so not the person you’d think would like a vegan mac & cheese dish, went back for seconds. Caryle, who was suspicious of it as well, also enjoyed it. Me, I wanted to put my face in it and ate it until I was nearly sick.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
3 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 clove garlic
pinch of turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. mustard (dijon or yellow)
8 oz. of elbow or shell pasta of choice
freshly ground black pepper
paprika, for garnish
*optional add-ins: roasted broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, spinach (I highly recommend these!!!)
Preheat the oven to 350F. If you are adding roasted broccoli to your dish, this would be a good time to start preparing that, so it can roast in the oven while you work on the rest! You should also start boiling some water for your pasta.I opted for gluten-free, quinoa shells, but any pasta will do.
While you’re waiting for your pasta to cook, start working on the “cheese” sauce.
If you have a Vita-Mix, or other high-powered blender, making this sauce is a cake-walk. Simply throw the first ten ingredients into the blender, and blend until smooth and creamy! If you do not have a high-powered blender, don’t worry– you can easily use a food processor or blender to process the cashews first, until they are finely ground, or ideally, a nut-butter-like consistency. Once your cashews are thoroughly processed, add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
You should have a thick, smooth sauce. At this time, you should check your pasta. Once it’s cooked to your liking, drain and rinse it, then return the pasta to the pot to be mixed with the cheese sauce.
If you’re adding any roasted or sautéed veggies, this would be the time to do it. I highly recommend adding roasted broccoli to this dish.
I also decided to saute a handful of mushrooms– they added a really nice texture to the dish! Once you’ve mixed everything together, pour the mac n’ cheese into an 8 x 8 square dish and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and black pepper. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.