Vegan, nut-free mac and cheese to tempt omnivores

Do you think you can’t go vegan because you will miss cheese? Try out this recipe and then reevaluate.

Vegan cheese, or cheeze, depending on how much you care about etymology, likely brings up thoughts of strange, viscous, unmeltable goop. But like dairy cheese, not all vegan cheese is made equal!

As a seasoned vegan I think I am qualified to recommend a few vegan cheeses that stack up against the real thing. My favorite harder cheese available at stores is Chao by Field Roast. Try the Creamy Original Chao Slices for a muenster experience. Chao slices are coconut-based and contain fermented tofu. Seriously, make a sand­wich with these, they are so good.

Another popular variety of vegan cheese is nut-based soft cheese. One of my favorite brands for this is Treeline Treenut Cheese, who just happen to be based out of the Hudson Valley! This cheese is cashew-based and tastes great on bagels, sandwiches and crackers. My favorite is the Green Peppercorn flavor. You can also make nut cheese at home! I’ve never tried this person­ally but there are plenty of recipes online. Miyo­ko Schinner from artisanveganlife.com has great recipes online and in her book “Artisan Vegan Cheese.” Buying vegan cheese from the store and making nut-based cheese from scratch can both end up being expensive, so my personal fa­vorite cheese fix doesn’t fit into either of those categories.

My favorite homemade vegan cheese is ac­tually a cheese sauce and it is gluten-, soy- and nut-free (depending on what kind of non-dairy milk you use) plus being fairly inexpensive! The original recipe is for nacho cheese sauce from Hot For Food, a Toronto-based vegan food blog and YouTube channel. You can find this recipe on the blog.

But I am going to tell you how to adapt this recipe to make delicious vegan mac and cheese!

Start by boiling a cup of peeled, cubed white potato and half a cup of peeled, chopped carrot. That is right, the base of this sauce is veggies, but please don’t be alarmed! I promise it doesn’t taste like veggies. Boil for approximately 10 minutes, drain and blend them in a blender. A high-powered blender will work best, but I’ve successfully made this in a food processor so you can make anything work if you blend long enough.

Next you are going to add to the blender 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk or water (if you have a nut or soy allergy try checking out rice milk), 2 tsp of lemon juice, 1 1/2 tbsp of tomato paste, 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of onion powder and 1 tsp of salt. I also like to add about 1 tsp of mustard, some hot sauce, more salt and garlic powder, a bunch of ground pepper and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast for flavor but those are optional.

Blend until very smooth and add more non-dairy milk or water if you need to!

Boil your macaroni (there will be enough sauce for a 16-oz box), drain and mix the sauce with the pasta! It should be hot enough to eat without heating it up further.

If you want to be a little extra, add some fro­zen peas and call it mac and peas.

The last time I made this dish I had my two omnivorous housemates try it and, not surpris­ingly, they both approved! They both said it had the texture of dairy cheese and that it tasted great.

Vegans, make this for your friends and fam­ily and watch them be baffled! Omnivores or vegetarians, try this recipe out before deciding you can’t live without cheese, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Be sure to check out Hot For Food for the original recipe and for other awesome vegan food!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peeled, cooked white potato
  • 1/2 cup cooked carrot
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk or water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Optional: 1 tsp of mustard hot sauce, ground pepper and nutritional yeast to taste

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