Macaroni cheese is a classic comfort food and thanks to Jacqueline is something vegans can enjoy too. She shares a beautifully creamy (surprisingly cheesy flavoured) and totally dairy free recipe for this dish.
My husband has been vegan for a year now, before that he was vegetarian for 25 years. He’d toyed with becoming vegan before, but pathetically only managed for a day before giving in.
This time he had resolve and he stuck it out even though he struggled at first. If I’m being honest I struggled at first too. My toddler was still having slightly different meals from us and the last thing I needed was to make a seperate meal for my husband too. Very annoying and time consuming too.
I soon realised that a lot of my recipes were vegan already, such as my Spaghetti Bolognaise, my Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chickpea Bake, my Richly Braised Lentils and my Veggie Chilli. Most of my soups were fine for him too and my tomato based sauces for pasta, so I had a good selection of recipes to cook for him.
I started adjusting all of my recipes. I would use olive oil instead of butter and set his portion aside before adding cheese or cream, but he was still missing out on some of his favourite dishes. Tagliatelle con Spinaci e Funghi and Macaroni Cheese were his all time favourites. It was time to step up my game.
I managed to create a creamy mushroom sauce for pasta by using soya yoghurt instead of cream, but macaroni cheese proved a lot more difficult.
Making a vegan white sauce was easy enough, I just replaced the milk with soya milk and the butter with dairy free spread. It was getting that cheese flavour that was proving impossible, until I had a conversation with an Australian blogger who told me about nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is used by many vegans to flavour food. It’s a good source of protein and vitamins and is often fortified with vitamin B12, which is hard to get in a vegan diet. The best thing about it, is that it tastes cheesey! Whoop! Whoop! And voila we have macaroni cheese.
On a final note, before my recipe, just in case you are interested, my husband feels much better since he turned vegan and has lost 2 stone in weight, even though he is eating well. I still love cheese, so I won’t be following him any time soon, although I am happy to share his vegan meals.
Vegan Macaroni Cheese
80g dairy free spread
100g plain flour
600ml soy milk (unsweetened)
4 heaped tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp english mustard powder
a good grinding of black pepper
a pinch of salt
300g macaroni (elbow pasta)
some fresh chives for garnish
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions until al dente.
Add the dairy free spread to another pan, then add the flour and mix well. It will form a clump, but don’t worry.
Add a little milk at a time, whisking as you go until all the milk has been added. It takes longer with the dairy free spread than it does with butter, but keep at it. You will end up with a silky smooth sauce.
Add the mustard and nutritional yeast and stir well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and mix in the sauce.
Serve topped with some chives. Don’t bother cutting the chives, just snip them with scissors.
For more vegan recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.
Haha, you are so right Helen. I never thought of that :)
6 August 2013
Perfect recipe Jac,
I am a huge fan of nutritional yeast - even though it does look like fish food!
4 August 2013
Thanks Karen. It is really creamy and rich. I was very pleased with it and Graham loves it.
2 August 2013
Lavender and Lovage
What an innovative recipe Jac, I would never have thought that you could make a vegan mac and cheese, but, it looks just as creamy as a non-vegan one!
2 August 2013
Yes, all that and it means my hubby doesn't miss out on one of his favourite foods either. It being healthy is definitely a bonus.
1 August 2013
Very clever and very healthy, good to know that you can still have yummy food that's not loaded with calories and saturated fat.
1 August 2013
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