Saturday, June 21, 2008

Creamy Mac and Cheeze

I know there are a bunch of vegan mac and cheese recipe floating around out there on the internets and in cookbooks. I have tried many of them, but I always keep coming back to this recipe. The inspiration comes from my good friend, Sjanie, in B.C. (my only vegan friend, actually, aside from my blog readers). She was very supportive of my decision to go vegan and she would send recipes as we chatted via MSN Messenger, which I would hurriedly cut and paste, print off, and try out. The original print out is long gone because I started just pitching ingredients into a blender, adjusting as necessary to get the taste and consistency I wanted. I decided to finally measure and write down what went into the blender and share it with you. My kids love this dish slathered with ketchup, Canadian-style.


INGREDIENTS
Makes enough for a family of 5 with leftovers. Cut in half if needed.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 cups soy milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 cups firm tofu (does not have to be silken)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp miso (something mellow)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch

- 3 cups uncooked macaroni

METHOD
1. Cook macaroni, as per directions, until al dente.
2. While macaroni is cooking, place all other ingredients in a blender and blend for 5 minutes, until very smooth. Make sure all nuts and seeds have been blended.
3. Drain macaroni and return to pot over medium heat. Add sauce and bring to bubbling. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and reduces a bit (about 5 mins)
A FEW NOTES
1. I have never done this, but if you like cooked mac and cheese, I think you could add the sauce to the noodles, transfer to a greased casserole, top with bread crumbs, and bake for 30 mins or so (until bubbling).
2. The mac and cheese will be very saucy at first. If you are planning on eating some of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, remove some mac and cheeze from the pot after it comes to bubbling and store in the fridge. The sauce will absorb into the noodles overnight, but still be creamy when re-heated the next day.

76 comments:

Ricki said...

This sounds great. I've never done a vegan mac and cheese with nuts, but I bet they add a lot of creaminess. Yum!

Eesh said...

Yummy! I can't wait to try this! Mac and cheese was my ultimate comfort food in college. It was such a hard break up when it ended.

Paulina said...

Yummy! I love the addition of the nuts, I'm sure it adds to the creaminess.

Cherie said...

Looks great! I love the ingredient list. I think for your kid-friendly meals, it'd be great to see some more balanced meals to help both omnivores and vegans get green leafy vegetables into their children's bellies! :)

Vegan Dad said...

Cherie,
I usually just feature a main dish. Every meal I serve is flanked by a wide variety of veggies, I just don't take a photo of it.

mustardseed said...

Ooh baby. No marg. No EB.No Tofutti.

I love your picture.

mustardseed said...

Vegandad-agreed. I usually either include veggies in my main dish, or have a sautee on the side. Which I don't always take a photo of.

Trish said...

I will ahve to add some of the items to my shopping list and give this a try! Sounds very good.

Celine said...

please make our leftovers go quickly so that I can make a half-batch of this, soon.

Erin said...

This is very similar to my standard mac recipe, except I've never used nuts. It sounds awesome, and I love the idea of the extra protein.

Sherrie said...

I haven't used nuts in my mac & chez before, but that pic has convinced me to give it a try.

Alexis said...

This looks the best of any of the vegan mac & cheese photos I've seen on the internet. As soon as I can acquire miso, I will make this.

Your story about hurriedly copying, pasting, and printing reminds me that I often quicky write out abbreviated versions of your recipes on small slips of paper or sticky notes and attach them to the refrigerator or cabinets in my kitchen. So far yours are the only recipes I have done this with, because they are so good and simple enough to fit on small bits of paper. :)

Vegan Dad said...

Well, shucks, Alexis.

Vivacious Vegan said...

I just tried the mac & cheese in VT this month and didn't care for it much. I'm really excited to try yours also. There are some recipes out there that seem so elusive to me. What I wouldn't give just to find that "perfect" go to recipe.

AdvisorKarin said...

vivacious, I tried the VT mac and cheese recipe, too, and was iffy on it, but I did like using rice flour as a thickener.

Kristi said...

I just made this recipe, and can I say...wonderful! The nuts did definitely add a creamier texture and the taste was nice and mellow. I did add a little soy sauce at the end, just because I'm a salt freak and my other favorite vegan mac and cheese includes that. But I loved it and definitely will make it again!!

Anonymous said...

I made this last night and it was probably one of the best vegan mac and cheese recipies yet! I will make it again.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Came back here to say this is the best. Seriously. I loved it. Thanks for posting this recipe.

Emily said...

Making this recipe today- your instructions say, regarding the tofu, "doesn't have to be silken"- which did you use? silken?

thanks!

Vegan Dad said...

emily,
I rarely use silken, actually. The key is you want a smooth sauce, and if you have a good blender or food processor then regular tofu can be made quite smooth. Of course, it is easier to get the smooth texture with silken, but not necessary.

KK said...

I made the recipe minus the tumeric and used EVOO vs. regular olive oil and silken tofu, since that's what I had on hand. The underlying taste of the pine nuts sort of overwhelmed the dish for me.

But no worries, I ate it Canadian-style and it was DELICIOUS!

Thank you for the new recipe. I have tried others from you, but this is my first comment.

Savannah said...

Hi Vegan Dad.
I live in Ontario too and find it quite frustrating to go grocery shopping.
I was just wondering where you picked up nutritional yeast and miso?
-Thanks

Cravin' Veggies said...

I finally made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome!! All four of us gave it 2 thumbs up. That doesn't happen here very often...

Vegan Dad said...

Savannah,
There is a great bulk/health food store here called Bins and Bins. It can be expensive, but it has miso, nooch, tempeh, Earth Balance, etc. It is the only place around here to get such stuff, so what are you going to do?

Joanna said...

I've been on this vegan mac and cheese hype recently, and I've tested out 2 completely different recipes. Yours will be my new experiment. haha I sound like a mad vegan scientist.

Nasreen said...

I made this tonight and it was fabulous! I didn't have sunflower seeds or pine nuts and I added a 1/2 cup of pureed butternut squash. I also reduced the nutritional yeast because I find that flavor can be overwhelming for me. I forgot to try it Canadian style, but I did try it mixed with a little spaghetti sauce and that was good too! I can't wait for your cookbook so I don't have to jot down the recipe or put my laptop in danger in the kitchen.
http://kawaiikiki.livejournal.com/122406.html

kmouse said...

Hi Vegan Dad,
I love your recipes. I tried this one last night and it was fabulous. (I blogged about it.) I think it will be my go-to mac and cheese from now on. Only thing I did different was to use all almonds instead of the variety of nuts. Still came out delicious. Thanks for sharing!

Kim

Cheeseburger said...

I just made a half batch of this. This is the first time I used either pine nuts or miso and there is a very strong, almost musky flavour to the end result that leaves an aftertaste. Any ideas on if it is either of these two ingredients or something else?

Vegan Dad said...

cheeseburger,
I would guess the miso, since pine nuts are pretty mild. Try for a mellow miso, like chickpea miso or a yellow miso.

pinkmummer said...

I just made this for dinner for me and my mom. I couldn't find any sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or miso around, but it was still sooooo good! I used ground mustard seed instead of dijon, as well. We both LOVED it, and each had two servings. This is my new favourite mac and cheese recipe. Next time I'm going to add some broccoli, carrots, and peas!

Cheeseburger said...

Upon reflection, when I halved the recipe, I did NOT halve the miso, which led to the strong flavour. I think I used a bit too much tofu as it is hard to measure 3/4 cup of firm by cutting it into small blocks. Next time: less miso, less tofu, more onion and garlic spices.

kimmykokonut said...

I recently made this recipe and did a little review of it on my blog. This is the best M&C recipe I've made thus far. It's creamy, fatty and awesome. (and easy) I wonder if there's a way to to sub the tofu to make it soy free? Miso's so fermented I don't count that one. (I used pumpkinseed milk in place of the soymilk). Have you ever tried it without tofu? This is the first recipe of yours I have tried and I'm hooked. I'm impressed you have time to develop recipes, cook amazing dinners, have a family and blog, too! Kudos to you. Any cookbook plans on the way?

Vegan Dad said...

kimmykokobut,
Well, I suppose you could add more cashews, some rice milk (or what have you) and some flour to help it thicken.

A .pdf cookbook project is in the works.

Natalie said...

This was a great mac and cheese! I substituted 1/2 cup of soy creamer plus the 1.5 cups of soy milk. I also added a couple tablespoons of horseradish for kick! Awesome. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What is Miso?

Vegan Dad said...

anonymous,
Miso is a fermented soy bean paste used mainly in Japanese cooking. You can find it in Asian markets, health food stores, and places like Whole Foods.

Binx said...

this recipe is so good! i've made it twice in one week. beats a roux-based 'mac and cheese' any day!

Urban Environmentalist said...

This was delicious! Although my sauce turned out a bit too thick for my liking. I may have used too much tofu. Thanks vegan dad!

administration said...

I'm sorry if I missed this answer in the comments... but does this freeze well? Thanks for developing vegan versions of all my favorite omni foods - you're really going to help us in our transition from omni-land ;)

Vegan Dad said...

administration,
I don't know. I have never frozen it since leftovers are pretty rare around here. I don't see why it wouldn't freeze well.

administration said...

Thanks a lot, I asked because I like to cook a few batches ahead and freeze for later - this would fit wonderfully in our "rotation" ;)

Mandee said...

I came to ask if you thought it would be ok minus the tofu and see you've already answered that by suggesting more cashews & rice milk, brilliant!

megamuffen said...

I wonder if it would be possibly to substitute more cashews or maybe almonds for pine nuts. I just find pine nuts to be so expensive!

Vegan Dad said...

megamuffen,
For sure. I just used different kinds of nuts to make a more complex flavour. More cashews would be fine.

Good-Dees said...

You're my hero - this was totally kick butt. What do you think about freezing the cheese sauce??? It made tons for 2 people. I freeze stuffed tofu shells with great success. I also thought about thinning the sauce down for a soup base- yes, I think it's that good!
Thank you for sharing!

Vegan Dad said...

good-dees,
There is some discussion above about freezing. I have yet to do it. Perhaps you could freeze some and report back.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

I have frozen it. It works just fine.

Good-Dees said...

Yes - it FREEZZZEESSS and reheats perfectly!

Anonymous said...

just made a batch of these puppies for lunch. had no miso and replaced it with light soy sauce. this is the stuff. its good, its filling, warm, tasty, homey, comforting. go on and make it. you wont regret it.

nintrovert said...

Made this 2night it was good, I'm new to veganism and still finding my way looking for info... have been glad to find easy to make things here, I added umoboshi paste and used whole wheat rotini noodles, I also added more chickpea miso and nut yeast because I like a stronger taste. I had some extra belly bella mushrooms so I sauted them and added them in and added raw brocolli when it was almost done (I baked it) I also made the tempeh meatloaf a few weeks ago it was a big hit. Vegan dad to the rescue!

Houtz Family said...

i am eating the last bite of my first batch of this and i must say this is better than any CHEESE could be...my boys and husband did not agree but what do they know?!?! my husband (omnivore) said he'd probably like it if there were less mustard so i think i will try that next time...maybe that's why you guys eat it with ketchup as a balance with it's favorite partner, mustard. thank you for a delicious recipe and i can't wait to try more of your ideas!

KarenMarie said...

I made this last night and I really like the flavor. The only thing is I pressed the tofu and I don't think I should have. The consistency was kind of pasty instead of creamy. I have never seen a recipe where you didn't have to press the tofu. Very good flavor though. My non-vegan boyfriend had seconds!

Anonymous said...

I tried this last night and it tasted amazing! Thank you for posting your wonderful recipes!

Leah Hope said...

OH MY GOD

I baked it with whole wheat panko on top for 15 mins...it got a little crunchy on the bottom but i like it that way. this was maybe the #2 best vegan mac and cheese i have ever had (#1 being at a restaurant, soul vegetarian, in atlanta). thanks SO MUCH!

Anonymous said...

This is my first vegan recipe on my first day as a vegan! Thanks for all the great Ideas.

speedvegan said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. It is absolutely delicious.

Lou said...

I hope you don't mind that I linked to this post in trying to explain to my friends that vegan cooking isn't without it's creamy delights :)

It's a beautiful photo and recipe and I'm enjoying your site a lot, many thanks for all the inspiration :)

fauxpas said...

Hey VeganDad,

Is there something I can use in place of the cashews and pine nuts, avoiding all nuts in general?

Thanks!

Vegan Dad said...

fauxpas,
You should check out The Uncheese Cookbook--it has a few mac and cheese recipes that use flour to thicken the cheese sauce (which I think is nut free).

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday with a few modifications. Firstly, I used no tofu. Since I had no blender, I ground the nuts in my coffee grinder, and added all the spices and flavourings. I mixed them well, added the oil and hot water (to dissolve). Lastly, I added the milk and cornstarch. I was quick, simple and really good. Thanks!

Sarah said...

I must try this! Anything that can be whipped up in a blender and mixed with cooked noodles is right up my alley with my 16-mth-old tugging at my leg!

Tatiana said...

I've tried several mac and cheese recipes, and my kids hate them! I am anxious to try this one, it seems different enough from the others!

Awesome Vegan Girl

Kalei said...

My Friend made this dish only in her version she topped it with peas and bread crumbs throughout to give a crunchy top layer. It was really tasty.

Shan said...

My omnivore family absolutely loves this. I put half on spaghetti squash and the other half on cooked carrots last night. Then my mom had it for dinner on normal noodles tonight. Fantastic.

melbournevegan said...

This is the best vegan thing I have learnt to make! I have used this sauce to make carbonara, lasagna, and cannelloni and it goes down a treat with non-vegans.

Heather said...

I am BEYOND excited to try this!!! We have milk, nut and egg allergies in my home and that is one thing my kids miss is the mac and cheese. I hope omitting the nuts would not be a problem? Do you think? I will have to look onto pine nuts to see if they are allergens. I will be thinking and can hopefully tweak this to make something fun for my kids. Maybe not for Thanksgiving but hopefully by Christmas.

mlefay said...

greetings! ^_^ all your recipes look awesome and i can't wait till this ice melts so i can go to the grocery store to get ingredients. :) i do have one question... just a general "i've only been vegan a year and i know no other vegans here" question: nutritional yeast and raw cashews.... what exactly is nutritional yeast and where do i get these two items? would they have them a a whole foods or should i check my local vegan stores?

Vegan Dad said...

mlefay,
You can get both items at Whole Foods, but at bulk food stores as well. Nutritional yeast is a yellow, flaked yeast high in B-vitamins and endowed with a cheesy-like flavour.

veganhomemaker said...

I don't know if you will ever see this comment(this post is almost 2 years old), but I was wondering how long I would blend the mixture with a Blendtec. 5 minutes is a really long time with one of these. I don't think I could get it to stay on that long. I'm can't wait to try this recipe.

Valhalla Bean said...

veganhomemaker, I just made this recipe last night in my Blendtec. I think I blended it using the dips/sauces button for 20 seconds and then another 40 seconds at speed 6 plus a few pulses to get any extra lumps out.

Teddyplanet said...

Wow, I made this tonight for the family and it was delicious! Everybody said it was good, but that it had a different flavor; maybe because it was slightly sweet. Could that have been my soymilk, or is that just the flavor?
Either way, it was amazing!!

Serah B. said...

This sauce is sooooo good. I was out of pasta, so decided to try this as a cheesy broccoli and rice casserole. I made the sauce then baked it with broccoli, cooked brown rice, onion, and the bread topping from the Tuna-Free Casserole. The kids inhaled it. I'll have to try it on actual noodles sometime, too!

Kerry said...

I'm really late to the game - but if you're still reading comments on old posts, could you recommend your favorite tofu for sauces like these? And I think you make your own soy milk, but if you had to use a commercial vegan milk, what would you use?

I tried this with Wildwood tofu and unsweetened hemp milk and the chemical flavors completely overwhelmed the other ingredients. I think this recipe is wonderful and I've successfully made nutritional yeast sauces before - but I am having a hard time selecting tofu and vegan milk that add texture without chemical flavors. So many commercial tofus have horrible calcium-chemical flavor, and so many vegan milks use sugar or additives to try to imitate milk flavors - but those flavors dominate in dishes where they are not needed.

In summary, do you or anyone who is reading have recommendations for tofu or vegan milks that work well in sauces?

Holly said...

Do you think there are any substitutes I could use for the cashews and pine nuts in this recipe? I'm severely allergic to nuts, and haven't been that impressed with other vegan mac and cheese recipes.

Tamara said...

Well, to my complete surprise... My picky teenager who is my guinea pig and who usually takes a itty bitty taste and scowls at me for making her sample my experiments... Not only took one bite, but took 2 spoonfuls and then asked me if her 5 year old sister would share it with her! She immediately had a huge bowl full! I am impressed... Thank you for sharing the recipe Dad! :) We have been a predominantly vegetarian/vegan family and I myself have been trying to transition the family to raw foods .... But my 5 year old has never been willing to give up her Kraft mac & cheese .... Until now! Cheese in ANY form has been the hardest thing for us to give up. So, even though its not raw... It's still gonna be the goto recipe when we need something cheesyish and are willing to eat cooked food! Thank you again!

super said...

Me and my partner were in need of some comfort food after a sad day because our pet had died. This took very little effort to make and really hit the spot. Thank you so much for sharing it - James