A couple of weeks ago, Tom and I were both sick with really bad colds. When Tom gets sick, a long nap always makes him feel really better. While he was sleeping, I took advantage of the time to make him a surprise – something he hasn’t had since we became Vegan – macaroni and cheeze. Well, actually we did have it once at a restaurant but we really didn’t like it. It was made with nutritional yeast and it tasted NOTHING like the mac n’cheese we knew. I even tried to make a “cheese” sauce with nutritional yeast myself. It was better than the restaurant’s but still…the “cheese” sauce just wasn’t cutting it (sorry, no pun intended).
Now if it were up to me, I would have made the dish healthier by adding veggies but Tom is a purist and since this was a treat for him, I made it the way he likes it. Of course, I did get my healthy touches in because I never use white pasta or flour. I had a box of whole-wheat rotini which are shaped like corkscrews. These are great because they really hold the sauce and have more substance than little elbows. Whole-wheat pastry flour is my usual choice but sometimes I like to lessen the gluten by using garbanzo bean flour. It has a great taste and I use it in a lot of dishes. Even the bread crumbs I use are whole-wheat so even if I wasn’t adding veggies, at least the dish was as healthy as possible. But if I were making it for me, I would have added broccoli 🙂
Anyway, it was a really easy dish to make and by the time Tom woke up, it was ready to serve for dinner. We ate it with some Gardein Chicken Tenders for the ultimate comfort dinner. And Tom? He was really surprised and feeling much, much better.
Note: to make gluten-free, use GF pasta, GF bread crumbs and chickpea flour.
1 lb. pasta or GF pasta
3 Tbs. Vegan butter
3 Tbs. chickpea flour
2 ½ – 3 cups soy, almond or any non-dairy milk
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. paprika
1 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. hot sauce (add to taste or omit)
3 cups cheddar-flavored Daiya
½ cup regular or gluten-free bread crumbs
2 tsp. olive oil
Canola oil spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta until just shy of al dente; it will cook further in the oven.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a saucepan and melt the Vegan spread. Add the flour and whisk until the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Allow the flour to cook for a minute. Add the milk to the roux, slowly, whisking continuously. Add the salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue to let the sauce cook until it comes to a boil and begins to get thicker.
Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the Daiya to the saucepan and stir well until it is fully mixed in. Add the mustard and the hot sauce. You may want to add more milk depending how thick you want the sauce. Taste it to make sure the seasoning is to your liking.
Pour the Daiya cheeze sauce into the pot with the pasta and mix thoroughly. Now at this point, you can just serve and eat the macaroni and cheeze but if you like it baked, continue on…
Spray a baking or casserole dish with the canola spray and pour the macaroni and cheeze into it, forming an even layer.
In a small bowl, add the bread crumbs and the olive oil and mix until it becomes a fine crumble. Top the macaroni and cheeze in the baking dish with the crumble and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheeze is bubbling and the top is crispy.
If you can hold yourself back, let the mac and cheeze sit for awhile so it can set better for easier cutting and serving. If you can’t, have at it and enjoy.
Note 1: this recipe can be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free pasta such as rice pasta, a gluten-free flour such as garbanzo bean flour and crushed up corn flakes or gluten-free cereal for the topping.
Note 2: this recipe can be made soy-free by using any non-dairy milk besides soymilk.