Today we are making Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese with a Crispy Topping.
A Sisterly Tradition
Making Vegan Mac & Cheese is a tradition that my sister and I have when we get together. As we were growing up, anytime we were home by ourselves, we would make mac and cheese, most often accompanied by some steamed broccoli. It was a special treat back then and now that we are much older, we still enjoy it just as much.
There is something deliciously wonderful about noodles covered in a creamy vegan cheese sauce and topped with a crispy topping with just the right amount of crunch.
I have tried many vegan versions of this dish. Somehow it isn’t easy to find the right balance between creaminess and flavor. In my mind, Mac and Cheese must be super creamy and bust with flavor.
One of the neatest things about this recipe is that you can hide some vegetables in the vegan cheese sauce without anyone knowing. Perfect for kids if they are not too excited about eating their veggies. The vegan cheese recipe is really easy to make. You just cook the carrot and potato along with some herbs and nutritional yeast. Blend everything in a blender with some soaked cashews and you have a beautiful sauce to mix with your macaroni. I like to add a splash of fresh lemon juice to really bring a pop of flavor to this recipe.
This week Kaija was on a fall break, so I wanted to make her favorite comfort food while she was home, hence the Mac & Cheese.
This time we made it with a new twist. We adding a wonderful crispy topping, which takes this dish to a totally new level.
We also bake this Mac and Cheese to make the topping extra crispy.
Hope you enjoy this Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese, covered with a Crispy Topping, as much as Kaija and I do:)Print
Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese with Crispy Topping
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 small potato, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1–2 small carrots chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 2/3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight (see note)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup yeast flakes
- 3 – 3 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon vegan margarine (optional)
- salt to taste
- 8oz macaroni, cooked
- 2 tablespoons vegan margarine or oil
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size pot, over medium to high heat, sauté onion in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the thinly sliced potato, minced garlic, chopped carrots, garlic and onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and crushed red pepper. Sauté for 1 minute.
Add the soaked cashews and water. Let it simmer until the potato and carrots are cooked and soft.
Transfer to a blender and add nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, turmeric, margarine (optional), and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.
Cook macaroni according to the directions on the box, drain and mix with the cheese sauce.
Pour into a greased baking pan.
For the topping simply melt the margarine or oil and toss with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on the top of the mac and cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes in the oven. If you would like more of a golden color on top, broil for 2-3 minutes.
Cashews lose some of their distinctive taste and blend easily when soaked overnight. If per chance you did not remember to soak overnight, you can cook the cashews in a little bit of water for 15 minutes or so. This will have a similar effect. Be sure to drain the cashews before use.
This cheese sauce stores well in the fridge. It can be made ahead of time, and then heated and added to pasta right before serving.