Developing that “just right” recipe for vegan Mac & Cheese has been a goal of mine since January when we decided to embrace a vegan diet. Our Creamy Deep-dish Mac & Cheese was the result of me experimenting with about 8 or so different variations and was the first version to receive the nod of approval I was looking for. The being said, I still hungered for the throw-together-with-a-few-simple-ingredients-on-a-weeknight version of this classic comfort food, and I think I may have just found it.
I’ve explored making Mac & Cheese with and without soaked raw cashews, nutritional yeast, coconut milk and a medley of vegetables (such as carrots, squash and potatoes) and decided that my ‘playbook’ of ingredients for the ultimate vegan Mac & Cheese recipe has no nutritional yeast and no coconut milk. I realize that many vegans praise “nooch” as the ideal cheese substitute given its umami-like flavour, but I find it pretty dreadful and avoid it entirely (in truth). The ‘no coconut milk’ criterion stems from my experience that coconut milk tends to homogenize flavours very well, but it often doesn’t let individual ingredients shine. I wanted the squash and parmesan cheese to ‘sing’ in this recipe and do they ever…
This rendition of classic Mac & Cheese blends the savoury flavour of our vegan parmesan cheese with the sweet, nutty flavour of the butternut squash and the result is a creamy, dreamy version of traditional Mac & Cheese. The kids devoured it and I was so excited by this recipe I tried to share it with two of my don’t-know-how-anyone-can-go-vegan-minded colleagues at work (what can I say I was that excited, lol). They declined on my offer, but I’m pretty sure I noticed a wow-that-smells-awesome-for-vegan-food reaction from one of them while I ate at my desk. That made me smirk — and hopeful 🙂
1/Steam butternut squash until tender (1 medium squash/595g required)
2/Prepare parmesan cheese (see our Savoury Parmesan Cheese here)
3/Cook pasta as directed
1 medium onion, halved (100g)
2 garlic cloves (10g)
Olive oil (10g)
Butternut squash, coarsely chopped & steamed (595g)
1 cup water
1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup soy milk
Parmesan cheese (80g) [Approx. half of prepared cheese (recipe above) + reserve for topping]
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/Add onion and garlic to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2/Add olive oil to the TM bowl. Sauté 3 min/120C/Speed 1. Once again scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
3/Add steamed butternut squash to the TM bowl. Chop 30 sec/Speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4/Add remaining ingredients (water through soy milk) to the TM bowl. Blend 30 sec/75C/Speed 5.5.
5/Add parmesan cheese and salt. Cook 1 min/75C/Speed 5.5 Pour over cooked pasta and blend well. Sprinkle reserved parmesan cheese over sauce for a more savoury dish~
*Harvest Sun Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder