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.
- 1 cup flour, sifted before measuring
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 (13 oz.) can of non-dairy milk (I use light coconut)
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp prepared mustard (or 1 tsp. mustard powder)
- 1 tsp salt
- 13 oz. dry pasta
- 1 block of frozen chopped spinach
- 5 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- Whisk together flour, nutritional yeast and spices in a pot. Turn on stove to medium heat and place the pot on the burner, slowly whisking in broth and coconut milk (I like to combine the liquids in a measuring cup). Bring the mixture to a simmer, continuously whisking as to prevent lumps and keep sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Lower heat to low and let cook for 5-10 minutes, still whisking. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more liquid 1 tbsp at a time. Remove sauce from heat and add spinach and tomatoes (or your favorite veggies).
- Cook pasta, drain and add sauce. Enjoy!