In general I think it's best to redirect one's nostalgic desire for things like mac and cheese towards delicious semi-equivalents like peanut noodles or a simple polish dish of cabbage and pasta rather than a vegan recreation that will fall short of your expectations. But noble intentions aside, I still find myself making this simple, cheesy, creamy, endlessly versatile macaroni dish a couple times a week. I blame the boy. When he is ready to eat, this can be on the table in the time it takes to boil macaroni. And with the addition of some spinach or peas, this mac and cheese just makes such a simple balanced meal. Plus, I figure it's just the sort of recipe that every vegan mom should have in her pocket. So here's mine:
1 1/2 c. dry elbow macaroni
1 c. soy milk
scant 1/4 c. nutritional yeast*
scant 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. marge (a small pat)
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
While the water is boiling for the macaroni, pour the soy milk into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the dry ingredients into the milk. Continue to whisk periodically as the milk mixture heats and thickens. When it has the consistency of a thick cheese sauce remove from the heat and stir in the pat of butter and the dijon mustard. When the macaroni is done toss the drained pasta with the cheese sauce and serve. Or try one of these variations:
- Desmond-Style: Place 1/4 c. frozen spinach or peas in a bowl and microwave briefly. Add a serving of mac and cheese and stir.
- Trina-Style: If you happen to have a can of chipotle in adobo sauce open in your fridge (but stored in a small glass jar, of course) like I generally do, then mix in about a teaspoon of the adobo sauce to your serving.
- Paul-Style: Put your serving in an oven-proof dish, top with cracker crumbs and put under the broiler until browned.
What's your macaroni style?
*In a nutritional aside, I must add that little ones shouldn't be eating a ton of this dish because it has quite a bit of nutritional yeast in it which is often fortified with a pretty high concentration of certain vitamins, so in heaping or too often helpings those high doses could become a problem in the same way that taking one multi-vitamin is good, but two isn't better. Just something to keep in mind. Though if you're a grown-up sized person, well then, eat away.