Hands-Down the Greatest Vegan Mac N' Cheese You Will Ever Have...Period

 Chef Cody Beverstock I CB Cuisine I Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

So I was recently inspired to create my own vegan macaroni and cheese after a friend told me they loved mac and cheese (who doesn't?!), but were dairy intolerant so couldn't have any of the milk, cheese and butter that normally goes into a traditional mac and cheese. This dish is super creamy (and no, we're not using any of that disgusting "imitation cheese" - no offense to anyone that likes it :P), loaded with tons of flavor and leaps and bounds healthier than a traditional version.

 

Overview

Serves: 2-4

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 20 min

Total: 30 min

Difficulty: Super Easy

Ingredients

8 oz Penne or Macaroni

5 T Earth Balance (or equivalent) Vegan Butter

1 Medium Russet Potato - peeled, sliced into small cubes

1 3/4 c Original, Unflavored Almond (or other nut) Milk

1 Yellow Onion - peeled, sliced into 1 in. round

6 Cloves

1 t Canola Oil

1 Medium Carrot - peeled, sliced into small rounds

1 Shallot - minced

3-4 Small Garlic Cloves - minced

1/4 c Vegetable Stock

1/4 c Raw Cashews

3/4 c Panko Bread Crumbs

1/2 t Ground Nutmeg

1/4 t White Pepper

1 t Paprika

1 t Parsley - minced

Salt to taste

Directions

FOR THE SAUCE:

  1. Preheat oven on broil.
  2. After pre-heating our oven, the first step we're going to take is infuse our milk with the onion and clove, which is going to give our sauce a major kick in flavor. Take your onion round and pin 6 cloves into it.
  3. Place the onion/clove into a small pot with your almond milk and gently heat on low for about 20 minutes.
  4. Place potato cubes into pot and cover with cold water. Generously season water with salt.
  5. Bring potatoes to a boil, then decrease heat to a simmer and cook until tender.
  6. Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Place carrots in pan and gently sauté for 2 minutes.
  7. Remove onion from milk and remove cloves, then slice your onion and add to pan with carrots. Add shallots and garlic and gently sauté for 4-5 minutes (all we're doing is tenderizing, which will bring out all of the sugars i.e. sweetness in the carrots and onion).
  8. Add vegetable stock and simmer until stock has almost completely evaporated.
  9. Place your vegetables and cooked potatoes in a blender, along with 3 T of vegan butter, your cashews, and infused milk.
  10. Season with nutmeg, paprika, white pepper and salt to taste.
  11. Blend on high until mixture is completely smooth. If needed, add a little more milk to adjust consistency.

FOR THE PASTA:

  1. Place water in pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Season generously with salt (should taste salty like the sea).
  2. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 5 minutes give or take).
  3. Once pasta is cooked, drain and toss with sauce until thoroughly coated. Place into a 9x5 baking pan.

FOR THE TOPPING:

  1. Melt 2 T vegan butter and pour into bowl with panko bread crumbs (I personally feel panko is the way to go when it comes to anything involving bread crumbs - the texture is fantastic!).
  2. Mix until bread crumbs are coated in the melted butter.

TO FINISH:

  1. Top your mac and cheese with the bread crumb topping, place in oven and bake until golden brown.

TO SERVE:

Place a couple of heaping spoonfuls in a bowl and sprinkle with a little minced parsley, then curl up on the couch with that special someone and a lovely glass of wine.

Enjoy! 

This is of course a base mac and cheese recipe. There's a million directions you could take this - adding fresh vegetables, braised short ribs (if not vegan/vegetarian :P), pickled onions - the options are endless! Now get out there and play and come up with your own beautiful creation!