Okay, so this Mac n Cheese recipe is a bit more like Penne n Cheese, but whatever works really. Penne has a great shape and I just happened to be all out of macaroni. There’s a heap of Mac n Cheese recipes out there in Internet land, but it seems the ones with a little more effort put in definitely taste better. The simple recipes with nutritional yeast being basically the main ingredient are always .. nooch like, and nothing more. Not that there’s anything wrong with nooch, but a creamy white pasta sauce is all about a richer flavour and smooth texture.
Cashews are wonderful little gems. You can either soak raw cashews for a few hours on the kitchen bench or be really impatient like me and boil them for 15 minutes instead. The latter seems to make the most sense and they whizz up really easily in a blender.
Cashews are pretty good, too, in terms of creating a nice smooth, creamy flavour and texture that coats the pasta well. The addition of certain spices like paprika, cumin, mustard and porcini powder add a lot of depth to the flavour. The traditional animal-based Mac n Cheese is always going to be a lot richer because of the protein and fat in cow’s milk and cheese. Some recipes even include chicken eggs—hello cholesterol and insulin resistance! The plant based Mac n Cheese version is not going to be identical in this really rich sense, but the cashews do a great job with the spices and this pasta dish is really satisfying.
|Servings:||0.5L sauce||Prep Time:||15 Minutes||Cook Time:||10 Minutes|
Ingredients for Vegan Mac n Cheese
- Any type of pasta shells as required
- 2 tbsp Nuttelex butter
- 1 cup raw cashews, boiled for 15 minutes
- 1 shallot, diced finely
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
- 1 tsp porcini mushroom powder
- 3/4 tsp hot chili powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups Massel vegetable broth (1 cube)
- Optional: Grated vegan parmesan cheese
Steps for Making the Vegan Mac n Cheese
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and add the raw cashews in. Boil for 15 minutes and then remove and drain.
- Begin cooking the pasta in a saucepan.
- In a large blender, add in the shallot, minced garlic, nutritional yeast and all of the powders/spices.
- Pour in the cashews and the vegetable stock.
- Liquify the ingredients until smooth. There should be no lumps as the cashews will have softened significantly. The sauce may also appear a little runny, but this is okay, it will thicken up when heat is applied.
- By now the pasta should be ready. Remove and drain.
- Add a generous dob of Nuttelex butter into the saucepan the pasta was cooking in. Melt this on medium heat and once it bubbles, add the pasta in and stir until well coated (this is an old Italian trick and it will make the dish a little richer).
- Turn the heat down to low and add in the pasta shells. Mix thoroughly.
- Using a large serving spoon, transfer some of the sauce into the saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium and stir so the sauce is well heated, 1 minute approximately. This will cause it to thicken up and stick well to the pasta. Make a judgement here on whether there is enough sauce or if you need to add a little more to ensure the dish remains moist.
- Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with paprika, cumin, and (optional) vegan parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
- Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat in a saucepan by stirring into freshly cooked pasta.