Let me start by saying this: I am not vegan. Nor am I vegetarian. Or gluten free. Or low carb. Or dairy free. But I am a dietitian, which means I have to counsel people with any or all of the above restrictions. So it would only be right if I played around with those recipes at times! So when I saw this recipe for a vegan mac and cheese, I HAD to know what it was all about. And as a huge shocker to me (and even more of a shocker to my skeptical husband), it was actually really really good. Like... I've eaten it for four meals in a row good. And like... I would make this again good.
Although I made this particular recipe vegan, it could easily be vegetarian by swapping out the nutritional yeast for cheese. I also made this recipe gluten-free, but it could easy use whole wheat pasta in place of the spaghetti squash (in fact, that's how I'm going to make this next time).
This recipe uses Nutritional Yeast in place of cheese (hence the "vegan"). Nutritional Yeast, for those who are unfamiliar, is made from an organism which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to deactivate it. Even though it is called "yeast," it doesn't grow like baking yeast, so it has no leavening ability. Nutritional yeast is packed with nutrition, hence the name. It is particularly high in vitamin B12, which is important for vegans to get in their diets since B12 is found only in animal products and is a nutrient that many vegans are deficient in. Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor, so it works great as a cheese substitute in vegan recipes!
Two changes I would make next time to my recipe:
1) I would add a bit of milk to the sauce as it was pretty darn thick without.
2) I will be using pasta in place of spaghetti sauce. This was a bit of a fiber overload if you know what I mean....
Obviously we also added a sunny side up egg to ours because, well, why not?!
Vegan Mac and Cheese
· 1 head cauliflower
· ½ cup Hope sriracha hummus
· ¾ cup nutritional yeast (can substitute with cheese if desired)
· ¼ small sweet onion
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 1 cooked spaghetti squash (can substitute whole wheat pasta if desired)
1. Roast cauliflower, chopped, drizzled in olive oil at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
2. Blend with hummus, nutritional yeast, onion, salt and pepper until smooth.
3. If needed: add a small amount of milk of choice if sauce is too thick.
4. Mix sauce with spaghetti squash or pasta. Enjoy!