(Yes! The macaroni and cheese in this picture is actually VEGAN! Now let me show you how to make it!)
Back when I was living with my parents, my mother allowed me to cook my own vegetarian meals for dinner while she cooked for the rest of the family. My father was very much a steak and potatoes kind of guy, and it wasn't very easy for him find contentment with, say, a tofu and veggie stir-fry. Needless to say, splitting dinner into a vegetarian meal and meat-centered meal became something of a routine.
My older sister, who was away at college at the time, had been eating a plant-based diet for years before I had followed suit, and because of that, I had a tremendously valuable resource when it came to planning for not only cruelty-free but DELICIOUS meals!
Long story short, when I first made this macaroni and cheese recipe, Dad accidentally ate a whole plate of it thinking it was something Mom had prepared. (One of my biggest cooking triumphs to this day!) I take this recipe with me to potlucks, holiday weekend barbecues, and days I just want to indulge. Try it once, and I can assure you you won't turn to any other recipe when you're looking for some vegan mac and cheese!
16 ounces pasta noodles (I prefer chiocciole pasta or medium shells)
1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine
1/4 cups flour
2 cups soy milk creamer (plain) (2 cups of a regular non-dairy milk works too)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic
1 cup Follow Your Heart brand vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided**
1 cup Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheddar cheese, shredded, divided**
a dash paprika, optional
1/4 cup of bread crumbs, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil water for noodles, and cook according to package directions. In a medium sized sauce pan, put the vegan butter over medium heat. Once melted, lower heat and slowly stir in flour. Bring to a creamy texture and raise heat to medium.
2. Stir in milk until the sauce is thick and creamy. Add the spices and give it the taste test. This is the white sauce and the foundation of the mac and cheese.
3. Set 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup cheddar aside for later. Now use the other 1/2 cups and stir them into the white sauce. Once again, stir until sauce is thick, creamy, and the cheeses are even.
4. Drain the noodles. Pour the sauce over the noodles in a large baking pan. Now, you can do one of two things: take the two 1/2 cups of cheese that were set aside earlier. Mix the two cheeses together and sprinkle across the top of the mac and cheese, or pour 1/2 the mac and cheese into pan, and sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese mixture, then add rest of mac and cheese, and sprinkle rest of cheese (for layers).
5. Dust with paprika and/or bread crumbs (optional). Bake covered for 20 minutes.
[ ** If you're hunting down Follow Your Heart cheese alternatives for the first time, they come in square brick form and are carried by a majority of natural food grocery stores. ]