All good things must come to an end, and today marks the end of my husband's three-week long vacation time. I've taken a break from blogging during our vacation, and now I remember that writing is a skill like any other; it requires practice. I attempted to write about something serious, which, in the end, was the literary equivalent of a poorly played game of Tetris. In the meantime, I've decided to share one of my favourite dinner recipes: Vegan Mac & Cheese. It's easy, vegan, and pretty inexpensive. I'm not a nutritionist, but it seems decently healthy enough too.
I seem to come across more and more people who need to eliminate dairy from their diet, even if it is only for a period of time, such as while nursing a baby. The rest of my family all loves dairy, especially cheese, and they enjoy this non-dairy version of their favourite comfort food. My husband says that it is "cheese-esque" and never complains when I serve this dish for dinner. That might be insufficient proof of its success, however, since he rarely complains about food. I'm so thankful that I married somebody with an adventurous culinary spirit. Let me tell you, there have been some epic misadventures that would have left any other man clinging to his meat and potatoes for life.
The real key to this recipe is not to pre-judge it when you look at the ingredients! One ingredient that is unfamiliar to many people is nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast; it is a complete protein, and is a source of several vitamins. It's low in fat and sodium, and free of dairy, gluten, andsugar. It has a cheesy or nutty type flavour, which makes it popular in vegan dishes as a cheese substitute. You can find it in most health food stores, and some mainstream grocery stores (i.e. Superstore) carry it in their natural foods section. Without further ado, the recipe awaits you:
3/4 cup milk alternative (soy or almond)
1/6 cup soy sauce or tamari (I usually eyeball this amount by looking at halfway to 1/3 cup, but it's 2 Tbsp and 2 tsp if you want to be exact)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp paprika
1 crushed clove garlic
1/2 block firm tofu
1/4 cup vegetable / canola / other mild-flavoured cooking oil
1 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 cup pureed cauliflower (optional, adds extra nutrition and creaminess, and your family will never know!)
macaroni noodles to fill your favourite casserole dish (ten handfuls of dry noodles for us!)
Pre-heat to the oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta noodles according to directions while you prepare the sauce. All of the ingredients (except pasta) need to be pureed together - either in a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, combine noodles and sauce in your casserole dish and stir until well-combined. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
|Fret not, it will taste better than it looks!|
|All mixed up and ready to go...|
|Browned to perfection|