I believe that one of the saddest parts of becoming vegan for children and children-at-art is the fact that macaroni and cheese is no longer a dinner option. Mac and cheese has long been the epitome of comfort food for young and old alike, and is very VERY difficult to replace in a vegan diet.
At least I thought so.
Until I tried this recipe.
Okay, so it doesn’t taste just like dairy mac and cheese. But, this vegan comfort food tastes really, really good. And it’s really easy to make.
About 20 years ago when my family adopted a vegan diet, I remember being angry. I LOVED milk, cheese, ice cream, all of it! I remember thinking in my little five-year-old head that when I grew up, I was going to eat all of the Doritos that my stomach could hold. Of course, I’m so thankful now that my taste buds have changed and that the thought of eating that many Doritos grosses me out. Back in those days, Better Than Milk powder was essentially the only vegan “milk” option, and any and all vegan cheese recipes were downright disgusting. I remember wanting to gag after tasting some “tahini cheese” recipe that my dad had found somewhere. Yikes.
Thankfully, times have changed. Not only do we have better vegan recipes and resources available, but we have fabulous vegan milks, cheeses, and yogurts available at most grocery stores. Isn’t it wonderful?!? We still have a long ways to go in making vegan options more readily available and affordable. That is my passion. (Rant: Why does Daiya cheese have to cost $5 a bag?!?! And Soy Delicious ice cream, $7 or $8 a tub?!?! Come on now…)
Ahem. Back to vegan mac and cheese. For some reason, it seems to me that many vegan cheese sauce recipes use pimentos to add flavor and color to the cheese sauce. In my opinion, pimentos often make cheese sauces too orangey in color. So, presto! That’s when I got the idea to use some cooked carrots. My sister makes a fabulous vegan cheese for nachos out of potatoes and carrots. (Yum!) And, for this recipe, the carrot thing worked great.
The original idea for this recipe comes from the Seven Secrets Cookbook by Neva Brackett, although the original recipe itself comes from a woman by the name of Miriam Taylor. I have made several changes to the original recipe, and I think you’re really going to love this creamy comfort food.
May you be filled with God’s blessings, warmth, and this vegan mac and cheese in this January chill.
Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Cook time||15 minutes|
|Total time||20 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Serve Hot|
- 12oz dried macaroni (prepared according to package directions)
- 1 can coconut milk (or 1 and 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 medium carrot (peeled and cooked; or use 3 cooked baby carrots)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
|Prepare macaroni according to package directions.|
|In a blender, combine remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.|
|Pour blender contents over cooked and drained macaroni in a large pot on medium heat.|
|Cook just until mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat, and serve hot. Top with bread crumbs, croutons, chopped green onion, or vegan baco-bits (my favorite!), if desired.|
If you're not sure how to cook a carrot, all you have to do is peel it and cook it in boiling water for about 5 minutes. The carrot for this recipe doesn't have to be mashed-potato soft. It just has to be soft enough to be blended up in the blender. What I love about using a carrot in this recipe is that it gives this cheese sauce a fabulous yellow hue, unlike the bright orange that some vegan cheese sauces end up with.