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. 😉
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- soak cashews as mentioned above
- slice mushrooms thinly, cut onions in halves (leave the skin on)
- preheat the oven to 180°C, mix mushroom slices with tamari
- 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
- separate the mushrooms, set outside and remove the other veggies as well, set aside
- 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
- cook pasta in generously salted water until 2-3 min before al dente
- safe 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce
- cook potatoes and the other 2 carrots until they’re soft (about 30 min)
- 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)
- 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)
- season the sauce to taste with black pepper, sweet paprika, salt, cayenne pepper
- 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)
- mix thyme leaves with the Panko bread crumbs and dry roast in a pan for about 1-2 min / until slightly browned
- add nut parmesan and chili flakes, pepper and salt to the bread crumbs, mix
- preheat the oven to 150°C
- add the pasta mixture to a casserole and bake for about 15 min
- remove, toss bread crumb mixture evenly over it
- transfer back to the oven, raise the temperature to 180°C and bake until you receive a golden crust (for about another 10 min)
- serve with freshly chopped parsley and black pepper