Vegan Mac and Cheese

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So I'm just going to start with letting you all  know how much I loveeeeee me some Mac and Cheese! It is without a doubt my favorite comfort food and one of my favorite dishes to eat all year long! Mac and Cheese is a perfect side dish during summer with a big plate of BBQ or during the colder months with some soul food or even on its own! 

My whole life, my mom has been in charge of the Mac and Cheese during the holidays - so naturally I've followed her role and developed her recipe into my own! So.. PSSST! I have a secret to tell you... come a little closer... sooo, you see all of these yummy pictures? Yes, the pictures of these noodles coated in creamy, saucy, "cheesy", goodness that makes that perfect noise that only mac and cheese makes when you stir it all together... so this recipe... it's {ahem} vegan. 

SURPRISE! (well, I guess it's not technically a surprise since you read the title and it brought you here, so you've gotta be curious right!?) People see these pictures and don't assume something so awesome looking could be VEGAN! Unless you're already vegan, you may be skeptical about this, as most people are! But trust me, this recipe is everything that you dream of Mac and Cheese to be:

  • Creamy
  • Cheesy
  • Warm 
  • Hearty 
  • Velvety 
  • Delicious
  • Comforting

I even had a few friends over this past weekend to test it out. I had them try it before they knew it was vegan and they ate the entire dish not knowing! My boyfriend is ALSO the King of Mac and Cheese and he approved this so... there ya go! lol 

People have been challenging me to create a recipe that could match the amazing, yummy deliciousness that is Mac and Cheese, so I sought out to create something that could fool even the Mac and Cheese connoisseurs of the world. I pulled a few tips and tricks from some recipes out there and put my own spin on it and BOOM... okay let's get to it! Get the amazing recipe below :) 

(Note: I didn't end up using the soy slices that are pictured above)

(Note: I didn't end up using the soy slices that are pictured above)

ingredients:

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni pasta 
  • cashew cheese (follow this recipe!)
  • 1 cup So Delicious Dairy Free Cheddar Shreds
  • 1/2 cup Follow Your Heart Parmesan cheese (I picked mine up at Sprouts but check Wholefoods too!)
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Cayenne to taste, optional if you like spicy :)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs 

directions: 

  1. Follow Cashew Cheese recipe and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Be sure to add 1 tablespoon olive oil and a nice sprinkle of salt into the water while boiling. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and allow it to get hot.
  4. Sauté garlic until translucent and fragrant. 
  5. Turn heat to low and add pasta noodles back to pot and stir in cashew cheese until you have coated all of the noodles.
  6. Slowly mix in the cheddar and parmesan cheeses and the milk little by little, switching between the two, until you have mixed them all together. 
  7. Add in all seasonings and continue stirring pasta over low heat until creamy. 
  8. Feel free to add more salt and pepper or cayenne if you enjoy a little spice!
  9. Top with panko bread crumbs and bake for 15-20 minutes until the panko begins to brown. 
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley and ENJOY!!!