Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods and it is an expected dish at holiday meals. I always host Thanksgiving and everyone wanted to know how my vegan diet would effect Thanksgiving dinner. I reassured everyone they would have their traditional fixings, but I would also have some alternative options.
I am four months in to my vegan journey and I credit most of my success to modifying a lot of my favorite dishes to not feel deprived when everyone else is enjoying them.
Cheese is the main ingredient in this dish. I have always used a variety of cheeses and I didn't want to change that in my vegan mac and cheese. One of the challenges I discovered is that nondairy cheese is not as salty as dairy cheese, so I have to use a little more salt than what I would normally use to balance out the flavor.
I also use sweet potatoes to make my cheese sauce. I learned this trick from the Sweet Potato Soul recipe for mac and cheese. It helps thicken the cheese and texture of the dish. I was so surprised how well this works!
You can use whatever noodles you want, but I choose to use rice noodles because they are the closest, taste wise, to regular noodles.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, but remember this is just a starting point for you to create this popular dish. Be creative and make it your own.
2 cups sweet potatoes mashed
16 oz. brown rice elbow noodles
8 oz. nondairy cream cheese (toffuti brand is my favorite)
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (Parma brand is my favorite)
1/2 cup nondairy shredded or block cheddar cheese
1/2 cup nondairy shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup nondairy shredded pepper jack
1/2 cup nondairy sliced gouda
1 cup nondairy half and half
1 cup water
2 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup silken tofu
salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven 350 degrees.
2) Boil 2 medium sweet potatoes until tender. Set a side and let cool enough for you to handle and remove the skin before mashing.
3) In a large pot, cook noodles according to the package directions. Drain noodles in a colander and transfer to a greased 9X12 baking dish.
4) In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, add milk, water, mustard, cheeses, salt and pepper to taste. Stir frequently until all the cheeses are melted and thick.
5) Combine mashed potatoes, sauce and tofu to a blender and puree until smooth.
6) Pour cheese sauce over noodles and stir in with noodles. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Your turn: What is your favorite version of mac and cheese?
Please share with your friends!