Baked Mac & Cheese
I adapted this recipe from the Home Room Cookbook by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade. Like most vegans, I’ve tried about a bazillion plant-based macaroni n’cheeze recipes, but this is the one I come back to most often. It’s also fast and easy since you don’t have to cook or bake anything extra besides the pasta. And the topping I mean. But the topping is so worth it. DON'T SKIP THE TOPPING FOR GOODNESS SAKES!! But if you are really hungry, you don’t even have to bake it or fool with the breadcrumbs; just eat it straight out of the pot! However, you'll miss out on the lovely crunchy crust that forms on the top of the pasta when it's baked; and, you won't have the scent of hot, creamy happiness wafting through the kitchen... So, did I mention not to skip the topping?
Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese
16 oz brown rice macaroni (or other pasta of your choice)
For the Cheese:
12 oz silken tofu
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red miso
Juice from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Now, cook the pasta according to the directions—only undercook by about 1-2 minutes depending on the pasta. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Okay, while the pasta is cooking, throw all the ingredients for the cheese sauce into the blender and whip that stuff UP! If you don’t have a mega-blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, just go slow until everything is smooth and creamy. It might take a few minutes.
After making the sauce, prepare the topping: heat up the olive oil or vegan butter in a small skillet. Add the bread crumbs and panko and stir. Watch it carefully so the crumbs don’t burn—but even if they burn a little bit, that’s okay, they will still taste great. Cook on medium for about five minutes, then turn off the heat.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain, rinse, and put the pot back on the stove. Pour your now velvety smooth tofu cheese sauce into the pot, and turn the burner on to medium-low. Slowly stir the sauce and watch as it thickens. After a few minutes, turn the heat off, add the pasta and stir. Now dump the pasta and sauce into a casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly on top. Put in a hot oven and let bake for about 20 minutes or so. Remove from the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes, then DIG IN! After it’s cooled, I like to cut the leftovers into squares, stash in the fridge and then heat up over the next day or so.
If you can’t find panko crumbs, just use regular bread crumbs. I use store bought but you can always make your own if you are so inclined. I like to serve this dish with some sautéed kale or other green vegetables. My husband like to eat his mac & cheese with some Sriracha on top. HOT!
Also, Homeroom is a local restaurant in Oakland, but as yet I haven't been there. But I guess now I need to go!