Recipe: “Just Going For It” Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

I love it when I have it in me to just go for it.  I’m a planner and a worrier, so just going for it isn’t something that necessarily comes easily to me, but when I do it, it’s pretty fantastic.

That hill that looks too big to conquer?  I’ll just feel all that much more bad-ass when I run to the top!

That panicky anxiety about speaking in front of a room full of people?  I can get over it – I know how to win them over!

That bridge that drudges up massive fear and images of falling to my drowny-death in a watery, dark abyss??  I gotta’ get over the river and to work somehow! (Wait, I don’t think I’ve told you all about my massive fear of water, but now you know.)

Vegan Mac and Cheese

It’s so easy to back off, slow down, develop other plans, or just give up entirely when uncertainty strikes.  Sometimes, it’s even wise to do so.  But, other times, it’s absolutely wise to just forge ahead.

I’m trying to push myself to forge ahead more often.

This dish is a result of me forging.  Cooking may not seem that daunting, but there are certain dishes that intimidate me and certain days when my confidence with a wooden spoon, pot, and stove top is nowhere to be found.  Veganizing macaroni and cheese was a bit of an intimidating process to me, but I forged on with a bag full of nutritional yeast and a bad-ass cooking mentality, merging researched recipes and adding my own flavors on instinct.

It was so worth it.

This is a new favorite.  As I ate it, I kept verbally expressing my delight (and surprise) at how incredibly delicious and satisfying it was.  I’m making this again.  Often.

How about a cheer for just going for it??

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“Just Going For It” Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 6-8 Servings

Adapted from Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap and Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Kitchen

 

Ingredients: Vegan Mac and Cheese - Single Serving 2

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni or shells
  • 3 tblspns Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or AP flour)
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond, but soy, rice, or hemp would work)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tblspns tomato paste
  • 2 tspns kosher salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
  • 1 tspn garlic powder
  • ½ tspn onion powder
  • ¼ tspn cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tspn turmeric
  • ¼ tspn black pepper
  • 1 tblpn lemon juice
  • ½ tblpn apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tblpns bread crumbs, seasoned with a pinch of cayenne and garlic powder
  • Optional toppings for serving: hot sauce, chopped green onions or chives, slices of tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Prepare your breadcrumbs by mixing them in a bowl with a pinch of cayenne and garlic powder.  Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Cook your pasta in salted water according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine Earth Balance and flour over medium heat.  Using a fork or small whisk, stir constantly until Earth Balance has melted and has formed a thick paste with the flour.
  5. Add non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, turmeric, and black pepper to the saucepan.  Bring the mixture just up to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens – about 10 minutes.  Whisk mixture frequently during the cooking process.
  6. Remove from heat.  Add in lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.  Stir well.  Combine cooked noodles and sauce in a large bowl (or the pot you used to cook the noodles) and mix well.  Pour into prepared pan and distribute evenly.
  7. Sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs across the top of the pasta and bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, or until the top is lightly browned.
  8. Let rest for a few minutes before serving with toppings of your choice. Recommended toppings include hot sauce, tomato slices, and/or chopped green onions or chives.