This week, we are getting down right sinful in the kitchen by making one of the unhealthiest dishes you can imagine: mac and cheese. When people think of the word “vegan”, I don’t think this is the dish that pops into most of their heads. I don’t blame them though. When I Google “vegan mac and cheese recipes”, the internet is cluttered with people making the sauce using carrots and potato…Nah, not about that life. Before you go saying, “Jackie, have you tried making those recipes though?”, for your information I have. I’ve had my fair share of making cheese sauce using vegetables as a replacement for the creamy cheese. As much as blending potatoes, carrots, and plant milk gives off a creamy consistency, it no where tastes like a real thing. You could add buckets of nutritional yeast and I still wouldn’t feel satisfied.
So what gives me the authority to say this? Where did this passion for mac and cheese come from? Before going vegan almost two years ago now, I was addicted to mac and cheese. It was my favourite food in the world, cheese was a way of life for me. After going vegan, I cut down on eating mac and cheese since I try to avoid eating processed vegan cheeses. But every now and then I do crave a good mac and cheese and I just find using blended vegetables to mimic a creamy and gooey sauce is a bit silly. But if you know an amazing recipe that will change my mind, please tell me!
So for today’s recipe, I wanted us to embrace mac and cheese for what it is: an unhealthy, creamy, ooey gooey, fatty, rich and heavenly dish. I prepared my mac and cheese the way I used to, but just replaced thing like the butter, milk and cheese with vegan alternatives that I found in-store. This is not rocket science, and anyone can easily make this dish any day of the week.
The Best Vegan Mac & CheesePrint Recipe
- 2 cups of macaroni noodles
- 1/4 cup of vegan butter
- 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
- 3 cups of plant milk
- 1 1/2 cups of grated vegan cheese *see recipe notes*
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (this is optional)
- 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
In a large pot of boiling salted water, pour in your macaroni noodles and cook until al dente (10 minutes). Once your pasta is cooked through, drain, and set aside.
Set your oven to broil.
In the same large pot on medium low heat, melt the vegan butter. Once melted, add in your flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Keep mixing the flour and butter making sure not to burn the bottom. After 3-4 minutes of constant stirring, add in your plant milk. Bring this to a high heat, and stir. Keep stirring this mixture until it becomes thick. It should take about 3-5 minutes. Once everything is creamy and bubbling away, bring the heat back down to a medium heat, and add in your grated vegan cheddar cheese. You can also add in your paprika to give the sauce a more authentic orange colour. If you don't have paprika, you can omit this step. Keep mixing until the cheese has melted into the sauce. Give this a taste and season with salt and pepper. Add in your macaroni noodles into the cheese sauce and combine. Turn off the heat.
In a 8x8 baking dish, grease with more vegan butter. 1 tablespoon should be able to coat the pan, this will prevent the mac and cheese from sticking to the dish. Take your pot of mac and cheese, and pour it into the dish. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top and place this into the oven. After 5 minutes, the top of the mac and cheese should be golden brown. You can leave it in for longer if you like a deeper colour, but keep and eye on this so it doesn't burn! Carefully take this out of the oven and let this sit for 5 minutes before serving.
I used 1 pack of Earth Island Vegan Cheddar Cheese (10 slices). You can use whatever vegan cheese you want, Daiya is another brand some people like. If you can't grate the cheese, cut it into small chunks.