Pretty much every vegan cook is convinced they make the best vegan mac and cheese - I think it's a rite of passage, sort of like buying your first pair of faux-leather stiletto boots. (Maybe that one's just me.) It's also very personal: some like theirs full of gooey Daiya or FYH cheddar, while some prefer the creamier nutritional yeast sauces.
So I'm not going to call this dish "Seriously For-Real Ultimate Best Mac & Cheeze EVER!!!" I'm also not going to claim that it tastes just like "real" mac and cheese, because let's be honest - nothing tastes like cheese except cheese. What this does taste like is a fabulously rich, creamy, cheesy mess, with all the homestylin' goodness I crave and without the icky dairy.
Oh, and mine has tempeh bacon in it. So that means it wins automatically, right?
Baked Mac un-Cheese
- 12 oz whole-grain macaroni
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 large roasted red or orange bell pepper, seeds and skin removed
- 1-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy, rice, etc.), plus an extra half cup or so reserved
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups nutritional yeast
- 8 oz tempeh bacon
- 8 oz Daiya (I used mozzarella because we prefer the flavor, but feel free to use cheddar or a different brand)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Cook macaroni according to package directions.
- Fry tempeh bacon strips until crispy.
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- In a blender, combine cashews, roasted pepper, almond milk, cornstarch, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Blend on low at first until cashews are all broken up, then on high until it's perfectly smooth and creamy.
- While the sauce is blending, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the nutritional yeast until it's evenly mixed and crumbly. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the yeast is lightly toasted, being careful to not burn it.
- Pour the sauce mixture from the blender into the pan and whisk it to mix it into the yeast. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is heated through. If it's too thick to easily pour at this point, stir in the reserved milk until the consistency is right.
- Once the macaroni is cooked al dente, drain it and put it into a 9x12 glass baking dish. Add the tempeh bacon and the Daiya, and mix evenly throughout.
- Pour the sauce over the macaroni and stir it in.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until breadcrumbs are toasted and the cheese is bubbling throughout.
Serves 10. You should probably try to get a vegetable into this meal, too; I served mine with garlic green beans.