I love mac and cheese. I love it in the box; I love the ones the Food Network makes with four different kinds of cheeses. What I’m not so sure about are vegan mac and cheeses because in my experience with vegan recipes, anytime you try to make a vegan food taste like a food that is not not normally vegan (and in the case of mac and cheese, this is definitely the case), the results are usually not so great.

So imagine my surprise when I found Tasting Table’s recipe for mac and cheese, and it tasted pretty darn good. Because of the spices that were added, it tasted more like a spicy, barbeque cheese sauce. The initial savory-ness caught me off guard, and I’m not sure I liked it at first. But very quickly, I found the meatiness of the flavor to be quite addictive.

Still though, what I craved was mac and cheese and so I played around with the flavors a bit. I took away the peppers, which were a bit prominent for me. I ] added in a ton of lemon juice, which along with the nutritional yeast gave a really strong backdrop of cheesy flavor. The lemon juice also made the flavors of the sauce pop in addition to the tang needed to mimic cheese flavor. The result was a sauce that, although wasn’t 100% “mac and cheese” cheese, gave the creaminess and tanginess of cheese, but with a ton more savory, barbeque flavors.

Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe

(Serves 2-3)

  • 1/2 onion, small dice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of English mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 lb pasta, pre-cooked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop oinions into small dice and peel and smash the garlic clove.
  3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium to medium high heat. Add in onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes, until onions slightly soften.
  4. Add in cashews and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.
  5. In a blender, add all the spices, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, the cooled nut mixture and water. Blend until completely smooth.
  6. Put pre-cooked pasta into a casserole dish. Add in the cheese sauce and mix until all the pasta is coated.
  7. Coat the breadcrumbs with olive oil and spread on top of the pasta.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.