How many times has this happened to you? It’s pot luck night and you’re the only vegan in the group. You bring a dish but end up taking the whole thing back home again because everyone is afraid to try it. No more vegan shaming! This delicious vegan mac and cheese dish—courtesy of foolproofliving.com—tastes great and might even fool the naysayers at the dinner table. The secret to the cheese? It’s made of cashews!
Creamy Vegan Cashew Mac and Cheese
This recipe makes six servings and takes a total of 50 minutes to make (20 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to cook). Each serving has almost 14 grams of protein and less than two grams of sugar.
- ⅓ cup coconut oil or olive oil
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 4 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- salt and pepper
- 4½ cups almond milk, unsweetened
- 10 ounces (3 cups) cauliflower florets, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1¼ cups raw cashews, chopped
- 1 pound (16 ounces) brown rice elbow macaroni or regular elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs, lightly toasted (optional)
- 3-4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in yeast, mustard, tomato paste, garlic, turmeric, and 2 teaspoons of salt.* Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Stir in the almond milk, scraping up browned bits, and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the cauliflower and cashews; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook partially covered, until cauliflower is soft enough that it falls apart when poked with a fork (about 20 minutes).
- Working in two batches, process the cauliflower mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
- Pour the cauliflower sauce into the empty pot and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
- Add the drained macaroni and vinegar and cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through and the sauce is slightly thickened (about 3 minutes).
- If needed, use the reserved liquid to adjust consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If preferred, garnish each bowl with toasted panko breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.
*Although this recipe may seem to call for too much salt, the amount balances when the sauce and pasta are mixed together. The salt is an important part of the “cheese” flavor.
If you’re not sure about stepping out there and offering to bring “mac and cheese” to a holiday meal, go ahead and make it at home first. And remember that you can always adjust flavors and ingredients to suit your taste.
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We hope you enjoy this mac and cheese recipe—and don’t tell anyone it’s vegan until after dessert.