Monday, March 28, 2011

Meatless Monday: Vegan "Not" Mac N Cheese and Scenes from a birthday dinner

A few weeks ago I made this for dinner. The girls were playing outside and I told them I was making mac n cheese. They came in a little later with their cheeks all pink from the cold air and they were ready for some warm cheesy mac n cheese. When they tried it, they started to complain right away. "Mom, this is NOT mac n cheese!!" "Mom, when you said you were making mac n cheese I thought you were making the stuff in the box!!" Needless to say it was not a success. But my husband and I loved it so I thought I would give it another chance at a later time.

Flash forward to my birthday dinner last week. This time I did not call it mac n cheese. I just called it pasta. And I used spaghetti noodle instead of macaroni. The result: The girls scarfed it down and even had seconds. Here is a little dialogue from the dinner:

Me: Girls, how do you like the dinner?
Girls: It's delicious!
Me: You know I made this same thing for you before and you said it was gross and you wouldn't eat it.
Girls: What? You never made this before!!

The moral of the story: It's all about presentation. This really is sooooo delicious and there is no cheese in it. The ingredients might seems a bit weird, but trust me, it is awesome.

I got this recipe from Liz at Flay Rah. I made a few changes. Here is my version:

Vegan "Not" Macaroni & Cheese

What You Need:
pinch of sea salt
16 ounces whole grain macaroni or pasta of any shape

“Cheese” Sauce:
2 shallot, peeled and chopped
2cup red potatoes (1 to 1.5 medium potatoes), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews (or tahini) ( I used cashews)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

What You Do:
Cover the shallots, potatoes, carrots, garlic with water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.

While the vegetables are simmering, bring the water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta (do not rinse) and set aside with the lid on to keep pasta warm.

Process the cashews, salt, garlic, coconut oil, mustard, lemon juice and black pepper in a blender or food processor with 1 cup almond milk. Drain water from softened vegetables and add to blender, process until perfectly smooth .

In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Serve immediately.

** So good.
**This is also really good as leftovers, cold straight from the fridge.

Here are some scenes from the b-day dinner:

"Not" Mac n Cheese with a vinaigrette salad

My Dining table has become my homeschool desk and kind of the dumping place for everything else so...

We crowded around the small kitchen table and watched a NCAA basketball game.

** This is proof of what a great wife I am. I made my own b-day dinner and I let my husband watch a b-ball game. If you know me personally, you know how much I LOVE watching sports!!


  1. Ok - I caught up on my Heather reading and have some questions/comments.

    1. Coconut oil? Can I replace it with veg.oil? Will the recipe turn out different?

    2. Good Job Weight Loss Girl! I have been watching what I eat this month and have lost 5lbs - but lost momentum last week when I bought a half gallon of ice cream. :(

    3. Does Weight Watchers really help? I have been reluctant to spend the money, go to weigh-ins etc.

    4. I think I will make the barley dish this week.

  2. 1. I wouldn't use veg oil. I would just omit the oil all together. I am not convinced it needs it.

    2. Good job on your weight loss!

    3. Is it worth it. Umm I don't know. More than anything it has helped to focus me. I just weigh myself at home and do the rest online.

  3. I saw this off of nourishing gourmet and will be giving it a try for my daughter and I that are off of dairy for health stuff.
    Thanks bunches!

  4. So glad it was a success this time! This sauce has become my go-to cheese sauce. I add a couple of teaspoons of taco seasoning and it makes fantastic nacho cheese sauce and also works in vegan enchiladas! Last night I made vegan enchiladas and forgot to add the almond milk to the cheese sauce. I noticed it was thicker, but the taste was still great. I think the coconut oil makes it really creamy, but you're probably right that it could be made without. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! <3

  5. Seeing this sauce on spaghetti noodles gave me an idea--I'll bet if you left out the carrots this would make a great alfredo-type white sauce, too! The carrots are mostly there to add color. I am picturing this on fettuccine with broccoli! Yum.

  6. I have decreasaed the coconut oil a lot and I still like it. i have tried the sauce with unrefined and refined coconut oil and we liked it with refined better since there is no coconut taste.

  7. wow! this was amazing! i've been off of dairy for a year and have missed mac n cheese. i will definitely be using this sauce a lot! any suggestions for a substitute for grilled cheese? i thought about making this without the milk and seeing if it would be thick enough for grilled cheese.