EASY MAC & CHEESE

I’m sure by now we are all eagerly awaiting the end of this never ending lockdown winter; it’s been a tough old slog, am I right?

There’s not many foods that are synonymous with comfort but this recipe is a sure fire way to soothe those Winter Time Blues. In this recipe you will discover the wax off, wax on approach to easy Vegan Mac’n’Cheese. Lets do this! You’re going to need:

  • 160g Raw Cashews (unsalted)
  • 200g Carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes – no bigger than 1cm
  • 90ml Olive Oil
  • 40g Nutritional Yeast
  • 700g Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • The juice of 1 Lemon – bottled will be fine too
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic – peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 400g Macaroni Pasta – other shapes will do if you’re short
  • Panko Breadcrumbs to Garnish (optional)
  • Dried Onions to Garnish (optional)

The first step to crafting this culinary delight is to soak the cashews the night before – they will serve as the base for your sauce so ideally, the longer they soak, the better they will blend.

Next, you’ll need to steam the carrots and potatoes together, for about 5 minutes until they’ve softened. I don’t own a steamer so I put a colander into a pot with water in the bottom and put the lid over this; it works just as well as any commercial steamer and is ideal for the small kitchen cook.

Once the vegetables have been steamed, add them to a food processor, drain the cashews and chuck those in too with 60ml of the oil. Give it a good blitz until a nice smooth creamy sauce forms; throw in everything else with the exception of the macaroni and garnishes and give it another whizz with your food processor.

At this stage, you have now created your sauce. Congrats! Give yourself a pat on the back and make yourself a cup of Joe. It’s important to take a break. And while you’re at it, here’s a video of some cute cats:

Okay, we really can’t dilly dally so lets get back the preparation of this fine cuisine. Chuck your Macaroni (or other pasta of choice) into a pan and boil it for 1-2 minutes less than the packet suggests.

It’s important to undercook the pasta as it will finish cooking in the oven for the perfect firm Mac. Once cooked, stir in your sauce and transfer everything into an oven proof dish. The last thing you need is burnt Mac’n’Cheese caked to the bottom of your oven, let me tell you.

Speaking of which, fire that bad boy up to 180 degrees (160 if you’ve got a fan oven). While it’s heating up, mix the bread crumbs with the remaining oil and seasoning (salt, pepper, whatever you like) and pour it evenly over the top of the Mac.

You’ll want to cook it for 20-25 minutes, depending on how crisp you like the top to be. If you’re planning to throw some hard cheese on top, then first let me say I like your style. It likely won’t melt the way you want it to as Plant Based Cheeses just don’t have the melt factor. That being said, it’s really going to make this dish EXTRA CHEESY and that’s what it’s all about.

Once it’s cooked through, throw some dried onion top and get that Mac in a bowl while it’s still hot. There’s lots of little extras you can add to this dish; one of my favourites being Vegan Bacon Bits.

If you don’t like the idea of a cashew sauce, it’s totally possible to make this dish with a simple Roux of Flour, Butter and Milk. It’s as simple as melting butter on low heat, sifting in flour until it forms a smooth paste and then adding warm milk to create a sauce. Add the spices and other accoutrements and you’re set.

Please do let me know what you think of this recipe and I’ll have another one up very soon!

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