Pssst, today I’m going to tell you a secret! The secret how I veganized a classical dish: Mac’n’Cheese. Obviously without cheese, without cream, and without a pile of fat.
OK, I probably took some freedom in reinterpreting Mac’n’Cheese. But when you are going against traditions, a little bit of artistic freedom must be allowed. Anyways, I think the not-so-secret behind an awesome Mac’n’Cheese is making a delicious cheesy sauce. That can be somewhat of a challenge because one wants it cheese-free but tasty, rich, and creamy at the same time.
Using plant-based milk as a base for the sauce is the obvious choice. But how do you get the cheese flavor? Nutritional yeast is a great addition for this. It gives the special touch that is reminiscent of good parmesan. Not sold yet? Then check out this post. Still, when one mixes milk and nutritional yeast, you don’t really have a sauce but something that is much too liquid. To counteract this, I use a can of white beans and process them with the other two ingredients. It adds starch, therefore firming up the texture without needing flour, and it gives the sauce a natural creaminess. Plus extra flavor – so many wins in one!
I also mixed some roasted red onion bits into the sauce because I just like them so much. For the top, I wanted to have something crunchy. The crunchy top is made from bread crumbs, more nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, and some herbs (if you want). If one adds a layer of this mixture before topping it with even more vegan cheese, baking these Secret Mac’n’Cheese for about 25 minutes will give you a flavorful crunch that you’ll never forget.
A advice for those who like their Mac’n’Cheese extra creamy: simply double the amount of sauce and you are done! Now take my secret and tell it to the rest of the world! 😉
- 8 oz (250 g) pasta, gluten-free
- 1 red onion
- 1 12 oz (400 g) can white beans
- 2 cups (470 ml) milk
- 1 cup (50 g) nutritional yeast
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- bread crumbs, gluten-free
- 5 oz (150 g) vegan cheese
- fresh herbs (chives), optional
- Cook pasta for about 5 minutes. They don't need to be done, just a bit precooked.
- Add beans, half of the nutritional yeast, and milk to a blender and process until smooth.
- Peel the red onion and cut into small cubes. Heat a spoonful of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the mixture from the blender and let simmer on low. Add squeezed garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer pasta and cheese mix from the saucepan to a casserole, mix well.
- In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with ½ cup of nutritional yeast, cut chives, and a small handful of the vegan cheese. You can use a tablespoon of olive oil, if you want. Distribute it on the pasta. Finally add the remaining vegan cheese.
- Bake for about 25 minutes.