Mac & Cheese is an American staple. Many Americans eat Mac & Cheese on a regular basis. In our home, my sister is the Mac & Cheese person. When she can get vegan Mac & Cheese, it is a “very good” day. Recently she even asked for it for her Birthday meal. This vegan version of Mac & Cheese is one of our favorites. It is creamy, smooth, and so tasty. The best part of all is that it is good for you. Serve it over whole wheat pasta for a more nutritious meal, with gluten free pasta for a gluten free option, or change the shape of the pasta for a different look.
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 sea 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
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.
Mix with macaroni and enjoy!
Note: 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.