Macaroni and Cheese

Before I went (pesce-) vegan due to my MS diagnosis I was a dedicated omnivore (it’s not that long ago tbh – I’m following the OMS program for a little more than a year now.)
Anyways I used to love traditional Mac and Cheese and also experimented a lot with different ingredients, cheeses and flavors.
To mock cheese or meat can be a huge bummer so I was a bit afraid to touch the holy grail of Mac&Cheese.
Germany is locked-down due to COVID since October basically and it got even worse. There’s still a long and tough time to go and I feel a little nostalgic and melancholic recently.
Nostalgia also means for me memories of traveling to NYC – the food heaven – before COVID, before MS.
Pizza and M&C were a huge part of these cravings for sure.
Weirdly I had a dream about a Mac and Cheese recipe the other night and thought: why not try it out?
It took a little time, so it’s nothing for a busy day but it’s definitely worth it. It didn’t taste vegan and not just that: It was incredibly delicious.
And trust me, I’m not vegan long enough that I forgot the taste of traditional dairy cheese Mac&Cheese.
I even did something not really OMS-compliant I guess: I ate 5 whole portions in a row. I just couldn’t stop because I’ve been that mind blown by the outcome. Luckily my body forgave me that feast. 😉

ingredients:

  • 1,5 regular packs of Macaroni (around 4-5 cups / 750g)
  • 2 cups of brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp of Tamari
  • 1 branch of fresh rosemary
“cheese sauce”:
  • 4 medium large potatoes
  • 3 medium large carrots
  • 2 shallots or 1 medium large red onion cut into half
  • 3 whole gloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of cashews (soaked for at least 5h or boiled for about 15 min)
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast (or more if desired)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup of the water used to rinse the remains of the caramelization-process in the baking pan
  • 1/2 cup of pasta water
  • seasonings: salt, black pepper, sweet paprika powder, cayenne pepper (I didn’t measure it just use them as desired. But keep in mind the whole recipe requires a lot of salt.)
    optional: 1/2 a bulb of homemade Cashew Cheese or 4 probiotic capsules if you are fancy and prepare the sauce one day ahead: just add them to the blender and let the sauce sit covered with a kitchen towel at room temperature for about 24h, add some more liquid in the end if it dried out)
toppings:
  • 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • a bunch fresh thyme leaves
  • a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • a pinch of black pepper and salt
    optional to add:
    nut parmesan (just blitz cashews, almonds or flax seeds with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and salt)
  • chili flakes if desired

method:

  1. soak cashews as mentioned above
  2. slice mushrooms thinly, cut onions in halves (leave the skin on)
  3. preheat the oven to 180°C, mix mushroom slices with tamari
  4. on a baking pan place mushrooms, 1 carrot, 3 whole and unpeeled gloves of garlic and the onion halves upside down, roast for about 25-30 min
  5. separate the mushrooms, set outside and remove the other veggies as well, set aside
  6. add 1 cup of water to the empty baking pan to absorb the remaining flavors of the caramelization process, scrape carefully, mix, let it sit for a little while and safe 1 cup of the liquid for the sauce
  7. cook pasta in generously salted water until 2-3 min before al dente
  8. safe 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce
  9. cook potatoes and the other 2 carrots until they’re soft (about 30 min)
  10. afterwards transfer potatoes, carrots, cashews (drained and rinsed), oven roasted garlic, carrot and onions (skin now finally removed), liquids (1 cup of pasta water + 1 cup of baking-remainings-liquid), nutritional yeast, lemon juice (and if desired the Cashew cheese or probiotic capsules if you make it ahead – I used the homemade cheese for this recipe. If you don’t use any of them you might need a little more nutritional yeast and salt)
  11. blend for about 5 min or until the sauce becomes really even and creamy – you might need to add some more liquid (plant based milk is suitable as well)
  12. season the sauce to taste with black pepper, sweet paprika, salt, cayenne pepper
  13. mix the pasta with the sauce carefully, taste again (as mentioned it might require a generous amount of salt – another 1-2 tbsp of tamari are doing a great job for that purpose as well)
  14. mix thyme leaves with the Panko bread crumbs and dry roast in a pan for about 1-2 min / until slightly browned
  15. add nut parmesan and chili flakes, pepper and salt to the bread crumbs, mix
  16. preheat the oven to 150°C
  17. add the pasta mixture to a casserole and bake for about 15 min
  18. remove, toss bread crumb mixture evenly over it
  19. transfer back to the oven, raise the temperature to 180°C and bake until you receive a golden crust (for about another 10 min)
  20. serve with freshly chopped parsley and black pepper

2 thoughts on “Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Sunayna Prasad

    I like the idea of potatoes in a sauce. I can relate to what you have gone through.
    I used to like tomato products, but unfortunately, I developed an allergy toward tomatoes a few years ago. Like your dream on mac & cheese, I’m had dreams where I ate tomato products and felt fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hope that dream will come true at some point!

      Liked by 1 person

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