VegNews Best Ever Vegan Macaroni and Cheese – WFPB Version!

You guys!  I just made the best vegan macaroni and cheese EVER.  Like, it took all my willpower to pack up the leftovers and put them away, because I wanted to eat the entire pan!  My omni (short for omnivore) husband found this recipe and made it for a special occasion quite a while ago and it was simply fantastic.  I held off on making it because I thought it looked like a ton of work (it’s not) and that it wasn’t very healthy (with a few easy tweaks, it can be healthy).

Today I had an intense craving for the soul warming goodness of mac n’ cheese, so after a quick trip to the store to grab shallots I was in my kitchen.  This recipe originally appeared on the VegNews.com website.  I have copied it here with modifications to make it WFPB (Whole Foods, Plant Based) and included the link to the original recipe at the end of this post.  I also doubled the recipe – eight ounces of mac n’ cheese is NOT enough!  I’ve updated the amounts here to make a double batch, so you don’t have to worry about doing the math.

VegNews Best Ever Vegan Macaroni and Cheese – WFPB Version!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound macaroni noodles (can use whole wheat or gluten free pasta also)
  • 4 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red potatoes, chopped relatively small (don’t peel)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped relatively small
  • 2/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (NOT the roasted/salted kind)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped into a few pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked, but sweet paprika will work as well)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Boil water for macaroni.  Cook macaroni in salted water (this is important, don’t forget to salt your pasta water unless you are on a low sodium diet!) according to package instructions.  Drain.
2. While your pasta water is starting, chop your red potatoes, carrots, shallots and onions.  Make sure to chop the potatoes and carrots relatively small and uniformly, as this will help speed up the cooking time.  Add these vegetables to a large pot with 2 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil for approximately fifteen minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender.  Do not drain.
3. Put the raw cashews (emphasis on raw, you do not need to soak them, even if you have a sad blender), salt, garlic, dijon mustard, lemon juice, cayenne, and paprika in your blender.  Dump the softened veggies along with their cooking liquid in the blender.  It is crucial that you put the cooking liquid in the blender, as this is what will make the sauce creamy without adding any oil or vegan butter (the original recipe calls for vegan butter).  Blend until very smooth.  If your mixture seems too thick, add another 1/2 cup of water.
4. Pour the sauce into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Dump the cooked noodles on top of the sauce and mix thoroughly.  If you’re careful, you can mix in the pan; there’s no reason to dirty another whole dish just for mixing.
5. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes.  Chomp! (If you like the crust super crispy, you can bake for 30 minutes.  If you don’t want any crust, just eat the mac n’ cheese after mixing!)

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The sauce is creamy and orange from the carrots.  The red potato skin also helps the color, which is why I don’t bother to peel the red potatoes.  Plus, you get all the extra nutrients from the skins!

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This is a super fancy GIF I made of the cheese sauce.  And by super fancy, I mean that it’s a miracle I didn’t drop the blender and break everything trying to pour and take pictures at the same time.

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Mac n’ Cheese in the casserole dish!  The original recipe calls for breadcrumbs on top.  I have never been a fan of breadcrumbs on my mac n’ cheese, so I left that part out entirely.  The recipe didn’t suffer at all.

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Finished mac n’ cheese with roasted asparagus = soul food.

Proposed time to prepare: Not listed
Actual time to prepare: 1 hour from start to finish.
-Active Time: 30 minutes
-Oven Time: 20-30 minutes

Easy to find ingredients: 10/10.  There are no fancy ingredients here, unless you count shallots as fancy.  All of the ingredients can be found at a regular grocery store.
Cooking techniques used: chop, simmer, blend, bake.

YUM factor: 10/10.  This is hands down my favorite vegan mac n’ cheese recipe. I love it even more now that I can make it without the butter.

Link to original recipe: VegNews Vegan Macaroni and Cheese.

This recipe was originally published on VegNews.com.  Any variation from the original recipe is my own modification.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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