Macaroni and Cheese

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As a child, I adored macaroni and cheese. We were a “from the box” kind of family, and so in the eternal battle between baked casserole or from the pot, I am on the side of the creamy from the pot variety. When I became a vegetarian, macaroni and cheese was one of the go-to options for when the food on my family’s dinner table was made of animal flesh. It was so easy, I could make it myself.

Well guess what? This recipe is so easy you can make it yourself too – and it’s vegan.

As a vegan, there is no way I want to give up the amazing, powerful comfort that comes from food like macaroni and cheese. So called comfort food truly does work to both satisfy your hunger and your emotional stresses. But because I no longer value my own pleasure at the dinner table more than the suffering of animals, I turned to Chef Chloe, an amazing young vegan chef who is taking the culinary world by storm and even won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network with vegan cupcakes. Although I normally dabble and change up most of the recipes I find online, hers is so delicious and reminds me so much of my childhood that I only made one or two minor switch-ups. So, without further ado:

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of your favorite small pasta noodle (elbow, rotini, penne, etc)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (My favorite is Earth Balance)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of your favorite dairy free milk (I prefer almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or more to taste
  • Lemon Juice, to taste

Preparation

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.

While your pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk the flour into the butter on medium heat. Whisk for about two minutes, or until the mixture forms a paste like in the picture here.20130507_191513 Once your roux, or flour-butter mixture is the proper consistency, whisk in all of the dairy-free milk, nutritional yeast flakes, tomato paste, and the salt and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then heat at a low simmer while whisking frequently until the sauce becomes thick and creamy. At this point, taste the mixture and season to your taste with lemon juice (and more salt or garlic powder if you choose).

20130507_193349Drain your pasta and pour it back into the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir. You’re done! Enjoy the delicious, creamy, cruelty-free comfort that only vegan macaroni and cheese can truly provide.

As a side-note, Chef Chloe’s original recipe called for broccoli mixed in as well. Sometimes I’ll mix in broccoli like she suggests, or sometimes I like to throw in red pinto beans for an added protein kick. No matter what, I enjoy this recipe every time I make it. I hope you do too.

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