I avoided this vegan pot-luck meal forever. It’s difficult to convince non-vegans that a meal based mostly on nutritional yeast is worth making and eating. For those that already eschew cheese, most people I know prefer the version of vegan mac & cheese that involves multiple sticks of margarine. That version is delicious, but I was looking for a recipe that could be less special-occasion-meal and more healthy-weeknight-meal. This is modified version of Veganomicon’s recipe was exactly what I was looking for. It tastes like comfort food, if not exactly like mac and cheese, and it’s full of protein, veggies, and whole grains.
Serves 8-10, and freezes well.
– 4 cps vegetable broth
– 1/2 cp all-purpose flour
– 2 tb olive oil
– 6 garlic cloves, minced
– 1/4 tsp dried thyme or sprig of fresh thyme
– 1/2 tsp salt
– freshly ground black pepper
– 1/4 tsp turmeric
– 1/8 tsp hot pepper flakes
– 1 1/2 cps nutritional yeast flakes
– 2 tb lemon juice
– 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
The Mac & Cheese:
– 3/4 lb whole wheat macaroni or other curvy noodles
– 1 lb extra-firm tofu
– 1 small bunch of kale, cleaned, de-stemmed, and finely chopped
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tb olive oil
– 2 tb fresh lemon juice
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until it is mostly cooked – not yet al dente – and drain and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 F and make the sauce.
2. Make the sauce: Combine the broth and flour in a small bowl and whisk until mostly dissolved. Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, then the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Then add the thyme, salt and pepper and cook for 15 seconds. Add the broth, turmeric, pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast and – while constantly whisking – raise the heat a bit until it starts to bubble, and continue to whisk it as it simmers for about 3 minutes or until it thickens a bit. Add the lemon juice and mustard and taste for salt. Turn off the heat and cover until you are ready to use. Optional: dip tortilla chips in it for a snack while you cook.
3. Crumble the tofu into an 11 x 13-inch baking dish, and mash the tofu with your hands until it resembles ricotta cheese. Add the salt, olive oil, and lemon juice, and then stir. Add about 1/2 cup sauce and mix in. Then add the macaroni and kale to the tofu mixture, plus 3 more cups of sauce, and mix well. Smooth the top of the mixture, pour the remaining sauce over it, and smooth it again.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. The top should be a bit browned. Let cool for 10-20 minutes so that it firms up a bit. Enjoy!