Whip it Up #2: Vegan Mac & Cheese

The suggested topic for this week’s Whip It Up was Cheese, but since I decided to do an all Vegan Whip It Up, this was the perfect chance for me to try the recipe I saw on Vegan Dad recently. By the way, if you don’t know of him and you’re ever looking for some good vegan recipes, he’s got them in droves. He kind of amazes me, and I can’t wait for his cookbook to come out. Here’s the post to his recipe, which relies on nuts and soy to achieve “cheese” for his mac.

Since I forgot to answer the 3 key Whip It Up questions last time around, I’ll start with them this time around.

1. Was the recipe easy to follow?
Word. There was no cutting of vegetables, braising, or any of that “serious cooking” crap. It’s all: measure ingredients and blend, yo.

2. Did the dish taste good?
Yes, it did. It had the same consistency of regular mac & cheese, but with a nutty flavor. You can’t go into it expecting it to taste like Kraft in a box, but it has the creaminess associated with comfort food. However, as the dish cooled it got a little sticky. So eat quickly!

3. Would you make it again?
Okay, here’s the thing. Regular mac & cheese costs like $1.39 for a box, or $2.19 if you’re getting the organic Auntie Ann’s stuff. Even if you’re making it fancy from scratch, like with heavy cream, the ingredients won’t set you back more than a fiver. This recipe, however, calls for raw cashews, pine nuts, tofu and nutritional yeast, among others. The tiny little jar of pine nuts costs about the same as a whole box of Auntie Ann’s, and don’t even get me started on the price of nutritional yeast. Bottom line: I’d have to take out a loan to make this recipe again, and while it was tasty enough to be worth the effort, I don’t think it was good enough to be worth the cost, especially since I’m not a strict vegan.

So here’s the recipe:

VEGAN* MAC & CHEESE

Serves one, 5 times. Cut in half if needed.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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) <–I couldn’t find miso in my neck of the woods, so I substituted it with Coconut milk, which worked just fine.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cups uncooked macaroni <–just use the whole damn box.

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) <–I skipped this step and went right to note #1.
A FEW NOTES (from Vegan Dad)
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). <– It never bubbled, I just waited until my un-air conditioned kitchen got too hot.
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.

And a few from me:

a. The ingredients created way too much sauce. So after I added them to the casserole dish, I ended up cooking the remaining macaroni in the box while the casserole waited.  It looked like this:

b. I had half a can of breadcrumbs that had been sitting around since way too long ago, so I used them all on the top of the mac & cheese when I popped it in the oven. THAT WAS TOO MUCH BREADCRUMBS!

c. Tumeric is a useful spice if you want something to turn yellow. But don’t expect it to be the same yellow as traditional mac & cheese yellow.

d. Have you ever put too much peanut butter on a sandwich? That’s akin to the feeling that you get if you eat too much of this in one sitting. Delicious but deadly.

This is what the final product looked like:

Serve with Bud Light in a can, because that’s all you’re going to be able to afford after burning through your grocery budget. Also, a side salad is necessary to cut the nuttiness.

*No animals were harmed, or even milked in the making of this dinner.

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20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by nancypearlwannabe on July 18, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Your possibly related posts link was for Mac & Cheese cupcakes, which sound revolting to me. I’m glad you just stuck to the vegan stuff.

    This sounds pretty good, and if someone made it for me I would love to try it, but you’re right- I’m not going out to buy pine nuts just for vegan mac & cheese.

    I keep meaning to get rid of those possibly related posts. And pine nuts should be reserved for pesto.

  2. It seems like an interesting dish, but it scares me at the same time. 🙂

    Happy weekend!

    It really wasn’t that scary. I already had the nutritional yeast on hand…

  3. The phrase, “vegan mac and cheese” sounds inherently contradictory to me, like “fat-free mayonnaise.” But I’m glad it was tasty!

    It is an oxymoron. But it sounds better than “vegan mac and blend of nuts, legumes and spices.”

  4. The more I think about it, the more it seems like you’d have to be a millionaire to properly be a vegan. Or maybe just a well-off 100,ooo-thousandaire.

    Nutritional yeast? What the heck is that? Is there non-nutritional yeast?

    You only need to be rich if you want to keep eating interesting things. I’m not quite certain what makes this yeast nutritional, but it also goes well on popcorn.

  5. Hmm. I am both intrigued and possibly scared of this. But if you say it’s tasty, I’ll take your word for it!

    It was tasty. If you ever come visit, maybe I’ll make some for you!

  6. I forgot what I was going to say because I got distracted by the “Possibly related posts” link to a mac & cheese cupcake. Ew.

    Oh yeah. I remember. Bud Light with dinner = you are a classy gal, my friend.

    It was left over from a barbecue… I might have actually drank red wine…

  7. Calling it mac & cheese is definitely false advertising. Mac …

    FAIL!

  8. It did something to my comment

    “Mac & something else”, I was trying to say

    …maybe it doesn’t like this character: {

    Sometimes wordpress hiccups. Sorry about that.

  9. I require that milk be harmed when I am cooking.

    Looks delicious.

    So do you like to scald your milk?

  10. That recipe is making my head spin. WHERE IS THE CHEESE???

    Apparently, the whole vegan concept is somewhat lost on me.

    I was recently telling someone that vegan cooking is the most challenging kind because cheese automatically makes everything taste better, and when you can’t add cheese, you have to work for it.

  11. yessssssssssss for you making this!! you were thinking of me weren’t you? haha

    i think i may just have to try this out – obvy ill give you then update

    It did cross my mind. Let me know how it turns out!

  12. Posted by Pants on July 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    The first thing I think of when someone says vegan is Bud Light.

    As far as I know, there’s no dairy in Bud Light…

  13. I recently went vegetarian but I’ve kind of been falling off the wagon lately because sometimes it’s just easier to run through a Zaxby’s drive-thru for an order of chicken fingers when you’re rushing to get from the office to the paint studio in Atlanta rush hour. Also, it’s very hard to be a vegetarian when you avoid soy products (long story).

    I’m going to have to check out Vegan Dad. But I’m not going to check out Mac & Cheese Cupcakes.

  14. That’s really cool! Although I can see how it would be super pricey for mac and cheese.

  15. looks/sounds good but i agree too costly/timely for me.

  16. I hear you about the pine nuts! I was shocked at how much they cost!

    It looks tasty, but the not eating of cheese is the #1 reason I could never be a vegan!

  17. I’m with you, mac and cheese should cost less than $3! This looks like a tasty version, even if it was more work than milk, butter, cheese packet, mix!

  18. I love the tablecloth!

    I loathe regular mac and cheese so the idea of eating vegan mac and cheese isn’t appealing. But thanks for telling us all about your adventure!

  19. I scold and scaled baby!

    AG likes it hard and dirtee.

  20. OH, this looks so good! I love this recipe challenge, but I have so many new ones to try, I feel like I should open a restaurant!

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