Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese is one of those iconic dishes, that every vegan just has to master. This particular version is very healthy as it has wholemeal macaroni (hard to find, but Harvest can order it from Essential Trading) which has so much more texture and taste than the anemic white versions usually on offer.
It’s a combination of several versions available on-line that I’ve tweaked substantially. I always find that people just don’t add enough spices – they’re just too timid all round. That said, you can always dial them back a bit if you want – don’t be afraid to experiment. Recipe writers aren’t gods they are mere mortals that dare to share their creations.
This version has some added onion, and baby plum tomatoes because it’s always a good plan to add in as many veggies as possible.
The crust is extra tasty too. I find that adding some italian seasoning, to the grated vegan cheese, plus some paprika and bread crumbs makes it crunchier and more tasty.
I like mine to be fairly liquid (i.e. not too stodgy), and so use quite a bit of almond milk. If you don’t like it quite so liquid, just use a little less.
Lastly, this vegan mac ‘n’ cheese keeps really well and reheats well too. You can also make 2 smaller dishes – each one to serve 3 to 4 – eat one and freeze the other. Superb with some garlic bread and/or hummus or even smashed potatoes.
Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese
- 250 g wholemeal elbow or macaroni pasta – essential do it.
- 350 g finely diced onion 1 good sized onion - red or yellow
- 300 g small waxy potatoes – around 2 medium small ones optional but helps with the creaminess & texture
- 100 g diced carrot - one medium carrot optional but helps with the creaminess & texture
- 6 cloves garlic sliced finely or crushed
- 150 g of cashews soaked & drained
- 750 g almond milk – I like it this wet Use too little & it becomes too dry & not moist enough.
- 7 tbsps nutritional yeast (rounded)
- 2 teasp smoked paprika
- 1.5 teasp garlic powder & 1.5 teasp of onion powder
- 1 teasp turmeric
- 1 tsp kala namak or smoked sea salt.
- 3 teasps Dijon mustard
- ½ teasp chilli powder
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 whole low salt stock cubes
- 25 g creamed coconut 1 ice-cube's worth
- 300 g baby plum tomatoes a whole supermarket box
- 50 g Wholemeal breadcrumbs for the topping
- 2 teasps Oregano or Italian Seasoning for the topping.
- 100 g Vegan cheese – preferably cheddar style and mozzarella. for grating over the top before baking
- Soak the cashews for 4 hours or soak 30 minutes in boiling water
- Dice the onions finely, and begin sautéing in olive oil.
- Peel and slice or crush the garlic and add as the onions being to soften.
- Reserve half of the onion & garlic mixture.
- If using the potato or carrot, add at this point finely chopped.
- Continue to sauté until quite soft, then add 250ml of the milk and simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat.
- Transfer this mixture to your blender (a Nutribullet is best), Blend the sauce thoroughly for around 5 minutes or longer if necessary – it needs to be completely smooth. It won’t take as long in the Nutribullet – and yet will be much creamier!
- Return to the pan and add all the other ingredients apart from the reserved onion & garlic mixture and the baby plum tomatoes. You can use some of the almond milk to wash out the nutribullet.
- Halve the plum tomatoes and sauté in a wok or the Actifry if you have one until starting to soften and caramelise. Around 10 minutes in the Actrify on 180°C
- Boil enough water to cook the macaroni – and cook at the upper limit of the instructions – it doesn’t want to be too al dente.
- Drain the pasta, and return to the pan. Add in the sauce, and the rest of the onion mixture and baby plum tomatoes.
- Mix until homogenous and transfer to a reasonably deep rectangular dish (or two smaller ones) and shake level.
- Grate some vegan cheese on top – a thin layer of cheddar style and then mozzarella works well.
- Sprinkle wholemeal bread crumbs onto this.
- Then add some Italian seasoning and or paprika. Instead of the Italian seasoning you can also use oregano
- Bake at around 180°C Fan for around 25 to 30 minutes - depends how hot it was to start with. It wasn't to be at least 75°C in the centre of the dish.