One of the things on my list of 30 things to do before 30 was “to be vegan for a month”. An item I checked off in November.
It was hard when with friends, but really easy to do when I was by myself. I tried a lot of great recipes and have been making a lot of vegan meals since.
This recipe for smokey vegan mac and cheese is a total keeper, and one I’ll be making again. The “cheese” sauce is made with soaked cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast, giving it a smooth texture and cheese-y flavour. Also, this dish has brown rice noodles making it gluten free! I loved this meal, and I hope you do too!
Adapted from Manifest Vegan
- 16 ounces brown rice pasta, macaroni, penne, fusili, shells all work well
- 2 cups cashews, soaked in water at least 3 hours and drained
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups almond milk, to thin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups chopped (and de-stemmed) kale
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, undercooking just slightly by a minute or so. Drain well and rinse completely with cold water to remove any starch.
- Transfer the pasta back to the pot and set aside.
- Place the soaked and drained cashews, 1 cup almond milk, lemon juice, lemon zest,nutritional yeast, garlic, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt into a food processor. Blend very well, at least 7 minutes, until completely smooth and silky, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add about 1/2 cup more almond milk until thinned, pulsing between each addition.
- Add the sauce to the pasta in the pot, and then stir in the remaining almond milk to thin. Warm up gently over medium-low heat, stirring often until desired temperature is reached. Sprinkle on the smoked paprika and fold just to combine.
- In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, toss together the kale, coconut oil and sea salt and saute for about 3 minutes, or until bright green and slightly wilted. Stir into the pasta and serve immediately.