Finding Balance
Maid It

Vegan Comfort Food


If I told you that vegan macaroni and cheese is not only possible but delicious, would you believe me? It's OK, I wouldn't have believed me a week ago either. But it's true!

In the midst of all the busyness lately I was able to fit in two new recipes last weekend: creamy mac and cheese from 30-Day Vegan Challenge and this toasted kale and coconut salad over quinoa. I'm so glad I did! This might have been the best meal I've ever cooked. (Whoa!) Sorry I didn't invite you over for dinner; Chris will just have to back me up on this one. It was comfort food meets healthy food meets delicious food (the best kind of food).

To make the vegan mac and cheese I also got to try out a new ingredient: brewer's yeast (also called nutritional yeast). It's packed with protein and has a savory taste very similar to parmesan cheese. I want to sprinkle it on everything! Plus, I'm stoked to have found a vegan substitute for parmesan cheese; weaning myself off cheese is the toughest part of trying to eat a more vegan diet. As all the kids on Facebook are saying: winning!

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
from 30-Day Vegan Challenge

1 1/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 t. onion powder
1-2 t. salt, to taste
1 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. ground white pepper (I used black pepper. The world did not end)
3 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I used almond)
3 T cornstarch
1/2 c. canola oil
1/4 c. light miso paste (found at a health food store, in the refrigerated section)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
12-16 oz. elbow macaroni
1/2 herbed bread crumbs 

Add the cashews to the large bowl of the food processor and use the pulse button to finely grind the cashews. Don't allow cashews to turn to a paste. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Pulse three more times to blend in the spices.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, cornstarch, and oil. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to low-medium, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally to 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens.

With the food processor running, gradually add the milk-oil mixture to the cashew mixture. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Next, add the miso and lemon juice and blend to combine. Now you've made a creamy cashew cheese sauce!

Combine the cashew cheese sauce with the macaroni in a baking dish and bake, covered, at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover, top with bread crumbs and bake an additional 15-25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and crisp. Serve piping hot and see if you've not a vegan mac and cheese convert too.