Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

OMG - Vegan (and Gluten Free) Mac and Cheese!

VeegMama's recipe for vegan, gluten-free mac and cheese

I have been vegan almost four years now and have never eaten vegan mac and cheese. Something about fake cheese, and not wanting to be disappointed by a faux version of one of my favorite comfort foods.  Still, I have missed it.  I am not sure what made me do it, but I finally decided to make a mac and cheese recipe.  I have been trying to cut out gluten recently (because my body feels better) so I decided to take this recipe from VegNews and make it gluten-free.  The results were delicious!  My late Uncle Herb had a trademark mac and cheese dish that he always served at holidays.  It was one of my favorites - comfort and love in a bowl.  One bite of this recipe took me back to that happy place.  Seriously, I love this recipe.  No fake cheese is involved, just cashews and even some veggies.  My kids and husband loved it too.  I am so excited to have mac and cheese back in my recipe box and my tummy!  I look forward to breaking it out at the next holiday meal.  I hope you enjoy this as much as me!

Vegan and Gluten Free Mac 'n Cheese
Serves 12

8 quarts of water
1 tablespoon sea salt
16 ounces of gluten-free pasta (I used a brown rice/quinoa fusili from Trader Joe's)
8 slices of vegan and gluten, free bread, torn into pieces (Trader Joe's sells a brown rice, vegan bread that I used)
4 tablespoons + 2/3 cup Earth Balance
4 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
2 cups yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup onion peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup raw cashews
4 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot with salt.  Add pasta and cook until al dented.  Drain and rinse pasta with cold water.  Set aside.

2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulsing the bread with 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance.  Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onions and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.

4. In a food processor, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 2/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne.  Add softened vegetables and cooking water.  Process until smooth.

5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and sauce until completely coated.  Spread mixture into a 9x12 casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.