This may be a statement that’s completely unnecessary to broadcast, but I am not vegan.
You can probably tell from the recipes I post that include dairy and meat. But perhaps you’re confused because you’ve also seen a fair amount of vegan recipes on my blog.
I don’t necessarily try to eat vegan food at regular intervals, but if someone I’m with wants to eat vegan food I’m usually game. I’ve spent the last 10 days cooped up in Portland, Ore., with my sister and she considers herself part-time vegan so it tends to happen that when I’m in her company I eat more vegan dishes than would be normal for me.
I have had some really good vegan dishes, like vegan nachos. Vegan chocolate cake. Vegan French Toast. Vegan Cornbread. Vegan Chili. Vegan Hot Fudge Sauce. Black Bean Burgers. The one thing that has eluded me in all of my vegan meals is a good mac and cheese. And it’s not for lack of trying either.
At my favorite neighborhood vegan restaurant where I love to eat nachos and avocado tacos, I once ordered the mac and cheese. I figured that since every other dish I tried there was amazing, this one would be too.
Wrong. The moment the dish was put in front of me, I wanted to gag. It smelled so strongly like coconut oil and tasted so strongly like coconut oil that I couldn’t even eat it. Sis was disgusted by the smell even across the table. I’ve tried two different versions of vegan box mac and cheese. Both were putrid. They tasted literally nothing like cheese or anything edible.
So forgive me for being skeptical with another vegan mac and cheese recipe. Especially when it claims to be rich, luscious, and filled with nutty, tangy cheddar cheese flavor. No vegan mac and cheese I have ever tried has actually tasted like real cheese! I likened this claim to be similar to the misleading claims that cauliflower pizza crust tastes just like real pizza crust. (It doesn’t!)
But what the heck. I figured I would still give another vegan mac and cheese recipe a try and go into it with low expectations.
While I was making the sauce Sis came in the front door and said something smelled good. I think it was the onion powder in the sauce. This dish came together really quickly. I had to futz a lot with the sauce to get it to taste something like a cheese sauce. And honestly I didn’t think it was the best sauce in the world when I tried it straight out of the food processor. But when I added the sauce to the noodles and some pasta water to the sauce, something magical happened.
I’m not saying it necessarily tasted exactly like a real cheese sauce but it was creamy and a bit spicy and as cheese-like as I think fake cheese can get. Sis exclaimed that the dish was amazing (for fake cheese). I’m not going to lie to you and tell you this tastes like real mac and cheese. But I will tell you it’s an excellent substitute for those who eat vegan and/or cannot eat dairy.
- 16 oz pasta noodles, your favorite shape
- 2 to 3 c. Vegan Cheez Sauce (or more to taste)
- Reserved pasta water
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and reserve as much pasta water as possible.
- Return noodles to pot and mix with cheez sauce. Add pasta water, as necessary, to get a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.