Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Review: Vegan Mac & Cheese

Way back in 2004 when I went vegan, I remember having the depressing thought, "I guess this means I can't have mac and cheese anymore." It was one of my favorite foods, and a life without it sounded grim. But if it meant saving animals, I knew I had to make that sacrifice.

Of course I quickly learned that vegans can still have mac & cheese, and since we weren't using dairy cheese, the options were actually way more exciting! Noochy cheese, cashew cheese, potato cheese, squash cheese, Daiya cheese. There are so many ways to make vegan mac and cheese!

And now the prolific vegan cookbook author Robin Robertson has just given us over 50 more ways to make vegan mac in her new book, Vegan Mac & Cheese. This book covers all the cheesy bases with basic blends, globally inspired macs, veggie-full mac, and vegan meaty macs. She's even got a chapter dedicated to "fun with mac & cheese" that includes Mac 'n' Pizza and a Mac Uncheese Omelet!

I chose two recipes from the book to try. The night before the St. Jude Half-Marathon a couple weekends ago, I carb-loaded with this creamy bowl of Philly Cheesesteak Mac from the Meaty Macs chapter.

Inspired by the Philly sandwich, this dreamy bowl has a cashew cheese sauce. It's topped with portabellas and red bell pepper sauteed with vegan worcestershire sauce and ketchup (for a cheesesteak-y flavor). This was phenomenal, and it made enough to last for days and days. This dish was especially comforting on the day we lost Pandora, when I just didn't have the will to cook.

I made the Soy-Good Mac Uncheese from the Basics chapter for the No Meat Meet-up Vegan Potluck on Sunday.

This nut-free baked macaroni dish is made with blended silken tofu, nooch, vegan milk, mustard, and spices. Your classic vegan mac dish. The sauce, sampled straight from the Vitamix, was amazing, and I wanted to dump it on everything. Mixed into the pasta, it made a creamy dish!

The instructions say to top with breadcrumbs and paprika and bake, which I did. But I wouldn't do that next time. Baking dried this dish out quite a bit. Still tasted great! But I longed for that creamy texture the dish had before baking. Over the years, I've found that baking tends to dry out most nooch-sauce based macs, so I should have known! I'd still recommend this dish — just don't bake it.

I'll definitely be trying more from this book. There's a Better-Than-Boxed Mac Uncheese dry mix that would be great for keeping in the pantry. And the Indian-inspired Creamy Curry Mac is speaking to me on a deep level.

In the New Year, when I'm trying to eat more veggies, I'm sure I'll make the pasta-free Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Mac (made with tempeh bacon, peas, and tomatoes) or the Buffalo Cauliflower Mac. The kid in me really wants to try the Kid's Stuff Mac 'N' Cheese (with vegan hot dogs in it!), and the Fried Mac Uncheese Balls will be on the table for my next house party!


Hillary said...

I love Robin Robertson so much! The Philly mac and cheese looks incredible, like why have I never thought of that!
I totally agree about baking noochy sauces. Too dry!

Susan said...

I've been having some fun with this book, so many ways to make mac and cheese.
The philly cheesesteak one is definitely on my list to do soon.