Lately I’ve been eating so much tempeh. I used to never cook it, because I felt like I could never completely remove the bitterness, but steaming the heck out of it for 15 minutes seems to work. This creamy Italian-flavored mac is accompanied by noochy tempeh and sautéed broccoli rabe. It’s the result of me having a block of tempeh and wanting to do something other than buffalo tempeh wings.
Long, long ago, in grocery stores very much like our own, aisles weren’t filled with vegan cheese and meat substitutes like they are today. There was no Daiya. Many of us didn’t really know that by soaking and blending cashews you could make cream. Almond milk was a weird thing only available from a few brands. It was rice and soy milk, Follow Your Heart cheeses and a whole lot of “making it work.” This recipe reminds me of living in Pittsburgh, a city that wasn’t very vegan friendly, where I had to make 90% of the food I ate. Yea, I grew up eating Kraft, but I barely remember what that tastes like. This is my comfort mac.
This was the first cheese sauce I learned how to make. I don’t even remember where I found it. Probably VegWeb and later, saw a similar version in Veganomicon. I’ve made this sauce a LOT over the years, and I’ve perfected it. This recipe is what got my partner to go vegan and, let’s be honest, probably fall in love with me, too. When they saw me mixing the dry ingredients and then looked over a few minutes later and saw sauce, they asked me what sort of “magic” I was doing.
I will tell you right now that taste-wise, this mac & cheese isn’t the best. It’s really good, but it’s not great. I’ve figured out the mac and cheese game and this isn’t the winning recipe. But, if you don’t have cashews, or a blender, or the resources to get fake cheese, this recipe is your best friend. The sauce also makes a good nacho dip if you mix in half a cup of salsa.
Vegan MoFo 2013 has begun! As I mentioned a few posts ago, my theme is mac & cheese. This month I will explore all aspects of vegan mac & cheese making.
But before I start cooking, I have to talk ingredients. What do you need to have on hand to make vegan m&c? Nothing fancy, really. Yea, you can use fake cheese, sour cream, Veganaise or other expensive ingredients you’d have to go out of your way to buy, but really, you just need these 4 things:
I’d hate to toot my own horn, but toot toot ya’ll! This pasta is delicious! It’s spicy and smokey and creamy and I made it 3 times before I decided it needed to go on the blog. I made the sauce in both a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix or BlendTech), and a regular ol’ food processor and both versions turned out great. The tomatoes add a sweet note and kale is just delicious is anything, but feel free to substitute whatever veggies you love. I added tempeh bacon this time around, but don’t put it in the recipe because it turned out a little too smokey for my taste.
The recipe’s below the cut!