SMOKEY VEGAN MAC' N' CHEESE
I’m sorry, but is there anything truly better: silken, smooth, smokey and cheesy. There is no other alternative especially when this is dairy-free, healthy and simple ingredients!
I can only pour out my apologies that this recipe did not come any sooner, because your favourite batchelor’s macaroni cheese, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut mac and cheese is simply nothing but ‘melted cheese’ (Did you see what I did there?) compared to this salivating silken dish of comfort.
An American netflix, comfort food classic; this recipe has only 8 ingredients, is completely dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, only requires 15 minutes to cook and is healthy. Again, I’m sorry – but doesn’t that sound like such an oxymoron for the most succulent smokey mac’ n’ cheese you are even going to eat?
Once you’ve made this delicious dish you will have definitely outdone the outdated American version by two fold! Guilt free glory. 🙂
The champion runner in this recipe: Nutritional yeast. Not brewer’s yeast, not a chemical compound but indeed a very ‘nutritious’ source of protein, antioxidants and B vitamins – oh, not to mention responsible for the fabulously cheesy flavour you must try!
For the curious, nutritional yeast is yeast which is grown on molasses, specifically as a food product, and it’s completely natural. It is often sold in pouches or tins in a flake form and is widely available at most supermarkets from Aldi to Asda. It adds a rich, cheesy, savoury nuttiness to dishes and is inexpensive to purchase. You can sprinkle it over toast for a nutritional boost and cook it in with scrambled tofu or (obviously) your favourite smokey vegan mac’ n’ cheese recipe!
Foremost, nooch is a powersource of complete protein (a.k.a the 9 essential amino acids our bodies cannot produce ourselves) with 3 tbsp containing 6g of protein and 100% of your RDA of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is vital for cognitive function, the production of red blood cells and DNA. Even one tablespoon of nutritional yeast has been proven to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency as seen here.
Tofu must be one of the most controversial of today’s food trends; it may as well just be thrown into a WWE wrestling match (figuratively speaking)… There are concerns about the product’s level of phytoestrogens through over consumption, however these concerns have little scientific confirmation. In fact tofu has been proven to decrease your amount of LDL cholesterol, thus protecting you against cardiovascular disease. In addition, due to its high levels of soy isoflavones it has been found to improve the menopause, hot flashes and even fertility. Unprocessed soy has also been shown to decrease the risk of certain gastrointestinal cancers and even assists with recovery from colon cancer.
Despite this, soy should still be consumed in moderate quantities (under 6 ounces of tempeh, under 16 cups of soy milk or under 400g of tofu). If you suffer with thyroid issues or oestrogen related breast cancer it is more important to pay attention to your soy consumption, and possibly decrease it as it has been seen to interfere with the endocrine system.
Conclusively, soy is a rich bank of protein, vitamins, minerals and health benefits – just be sure to be purchasing the least processed soy-based products, as well as soy farmed outside of the Amazon and from sustainable sources. and there are no reasons to not include it in your diet.
What does make this dish a smokey speciality? Well, the key secret is to toast your nutritional yeast! Yep, just like magic – phenomenal flavour is exemplified with a deep and smokey tone. In my opinion, with a childhood experience of being a macaroni cheese expert, I would definitely say that this top trick is the reason for my smokey vegan mac’ n’ cheese stealing the top spot!
This recipe is not only great for healthy family dinners around the table, but it’s particularly fabulous for getting extra spoonfuls of nutrition into your little monsters’ mouths! I for one could have easily eaten this dish come breakfast, lunch and dinner when I was younger! 🙂
Additionally, school meals, pack lunches, food prep; all sorted. You can easily store this dish in an air proof container in the refrigerator for up to one week or the freezer for two months. To reheat, simply mix in 1/4 cup of plant milk to one portion (as the cheesy sauce will thicken considerably once cooled) and microwave covered for 2-3 minutes. Alternatively, bring it to a boil on the stove until heated through thoroughly.
Do you see that glisten in that noochy nectar of goodness? Does your mouth salivate for that velvety, creamy, silken pasta to leap into your mouth? Mine certainly is, so there’s no reason for you to reach for that fork, follow my recipe, and take a bite of your own cheesy goodness.
Smokey Vegan Mac' n' Cheese
- large saucepan
- 160g Chickpea macaroni* may use any other pasta type
- 1 block Silken tofu** ~349g
- 1 Small brown onion
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 2 heaped tbsp Nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp Ground turmeric
- ½ tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1 Lemon or 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- ½ cup Water
- ½ Bunch of fresh parsley
- Heat your saucepan over a medium heat and then add in the nutritional yeast. Evenly spread it out over the pan, tossing it occasionally until toasted, darkened and aromatic. (This is what gives the mac' n' cheese an essential smoky flavour for maximum taste!) Place this into a dish to one side.
- Now, peel and dice the onion and finely chop the garlic. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to the saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and sauté for two minutes or until translucent. Next add in the chopped garlic and continue to sauté for another minute or until slightly golden and aromatic.
- Next, scrape out the onion and garlic into a blender or bullet blender cup. Place in the mustard, nutmeg, turmeric, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, water then cube and add in the silken tofu.
- Blitz this mixture on high until smooth and creamy, yet it should still be pourable. Place your cheesy sauce to one side.
- Fill the same saucepan with water and bring it to the boil, then add in your pasta and cook according to the package instructions (this is usually around 6 minutes).
- Next, reserving some of the pasta water, drain your pasta and place it back into the saucepan along with the cheesy sauce. Bring this to a low heat and cover with a lid to gently simmer and heat through thoroughly for 2 minutes. If your sauce becomes too thick, thin it out with your reserved pasta water. (The sauce will alo thicken forther once cooled.)
- Finely chop the parsley and add it to the mac' n' cheese along with salt and pepper to taste; incorporate everything evenly.
- Plate up your delicious American cuisine over a bed of spinach and garnish with extra parsley and roasted garlic mushrooms. Enjoy!
By JAMIE WATERS
Spread the word
"VEGAN 101: PUT A BIT OF NOOCH ON IT"