Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

                          from VegNews

I immediately wanted to try this mac n' cheez recipe, partially because

a) the recipe's sweeping through vegan food blogs, and I've only read good things thus far,

and partially because

b) it's total MacGyver-style vegan mac n' cheez.

I mean, IT HAS NO CHEESE! AND IT HAS NO NUTRITIONAL YEAST! (Which, as most of you know, is usually the cheese-substitute in vegan mac n' cheez.)

It's like this recipe was created when some bad-guy dude locked MacGyver in a room where there was nothing but a potato, handful of baby carrots, onion, cashews, and some bread. And the room was rotating at 100-miles an hour on a platform over Niagara Falls. But MacGyver was all, All I need to saw through these barred windows is this nosehair that I tweaked from my own nose. And once I saw through THOSE, I will bite off the toenail of my big toe and THROW it in the mechanism that is making the room spin at 100mph, forcing it to come to a grinding halt, and then I will LEAP into the rushing waters of Niagara Falls, but will be saved by using a rope that I've crafted by weaving together my own pubic hair, pulling myself ashore to safety. But I cannot waste this potato, handful of baby carrots, onion, cashews, and bread that have inexplicably been left in the room with me. Thus, before I rescue myself, I will whip up... VEGAN MAC N' CHEEZ!!! Absurd? Perhaps. But I am MacGyver, and I can make anything out of anything. So: VOILA! Vegan mac n' cheez!

(MacGyver solemnly weaving
his pubic-hair-Niagara-
Falls-rescue rope...

And lo and behold, somehow the combination of carrots, potatoes, cashews, onions, and various seasonings TASTES STARTLINGLY SIMILAR TO ZINGY KRAFT MAC N' CHEESE! It really kind of freaked me out. I had N-A taste it and verify, and he gave me a weird shocked look upon tasting and then asked if he could snag some for dinner.

The only thing that REALLY REALLY REALLY pissed me off about this recipe was the amount of salt called for. Typically, I only use about 1/4 of the amount a recipe has listed. But I got excited to finally use my sea salt, so I put the whole 2 t. in. And it was SOOOOOOOOOO salty I cannot even begin to tell you. And I'm a fricking MOLESTER of salt, that's how wrong my love for it is. So I've adjusted it in the recipe posted below.

Nonetheless, this is crazy-ass good mac n' cheez. I still prefer the creamiest mac n' cheez EVER simply because it's super fricking creamy and delish. But this recipe makes a nice easy stand-in for old-school krafty macaroni (and it COULD conceivably beat out the creamiest mac n' cheez ever once I try it again with barely any salt this time). And also, you can freak people out when you tell them what the cheez sauce is actually made of. And we all know how much fun THAT is.

  • 4 quarts water

  • 8 oz macaroni

  • 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces

  • 2 T. + 1/3 c. Earth Balance non-hydrogenated vegan margarine

  • 2 T. shallots, peeled and chopped (or an extra 2 T. onions if you don't have shallots handy)

  • 1 c. red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 1/4 c. carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 1/3 c. onion, peeled and chopped

  • 1 c. water

  • 1/4 c. raw cashews

  • 1/4 t. sea salt (or to taste)

  • 1/4 t. garlic, pressed

  • 1/4 t. dijon mustard

  • 1 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 t. black pepper

  • 1/8 t. cayenne

  • 1/4 t. paprika


In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened veggies and 1 cup cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.

In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended "cheese" sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the "cheese" sauce starts to bubble and the top has turned golden brown.

(Serves 6+)

(Recipe from VegNews)

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