Saturday, February 23, 2008

Baked Macaroni and "Cheese"

Son of a bitch.

If I would have known that I could eat macaroni and "cheese" like this, I would have been vegan long ago.

This grub is so good it makes me want to cry...Or quite possibly even plummet myself to the ground in a fit of rage and throw a temper tantrum that would rival that of a three year old girl who just got her favorite toy swiped out of her sweaty palms by her bastard older brother.

It's just that good.

Not only does it taste great, but it tastes great without all the saturated fat and cholesterol of your traditional "Mac and Cheese."

For the pasta, I used my favorite "Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta" that has a great texture and, as advertised on the package is "not mushy!"

So, if you're looking for a blast from the past, and a dish that will bring you to tears, this is your bag, baby.

[UPDATE June 13, 2010: Since I posted this recipe back in 2008, I've added a little more "cheesiness" to the dish in the form of Daiya Mozzarella style cheese. It makes it a bit more creamy, a bit more stringy, and a bit more "watch out while I slam my fist through the table in an uncontrollable spasm of delight." Yup. It's just that good.]

Baked Macaroni & "Cheese"
From the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Veg News
Serves 6

4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 oz macaroni
2 Tbsp + 1/3 cup Earth Balance non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
2 Tbsp shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika
3/4 cup Mozzarella style Daiya vegan cheese (optional)

1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

3. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened veggies and 1 cup cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.

4. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta, blended "cheese" sauce and Daiya, if using, until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the "cheese" sauce starts to bubble and the top has turned golden brown.


Loops O'Fury said...

Does it taste like cheese?

I came here from Ali's because I'm trying to go gluten free. I don't like to cook much and haven't experimented with gluten-free baking at all yet, so I'm glad to find lots of tried-and-true recipes here.

Jenni said...

Loops: I wouldn't say it tastes EXACTLY like cheese, but it's pretty darn close. It has an excellent flavor of it's own, and it's VERY creamy.

I've tried some boxed gluten free vegan "Mac and Cheese" and it was horrible...SO bad that I took one bite and threw the rest out.

This stuff though, awesome.

My husband is even a fan...and if you know him, that says it all right there!

Sandra said...

Did you use regular macaroni or whole wheat?

Jenni said...

Sandra: I used brown rice pasta, but if you're not gluten intolerant you can use whatever you want! I believe I have the brand I used on the post, they have it at Kowalski's!

Loops O'Fury said...

So, I haven't tried this yet, but I did buy some Tinkyada spaghetti yesterday. :p

Anonymous said...

I have actually made my own little baked Mac-and-Cheese. I add some feta with a little bit of cream cheese....makes your toes curl ;-)