As someone who isn’t vegan, but would love to start incorporating more plant based foods into my diet, Vegan Mac and Cheese seems like a great place to start. You can never go wrong with a cheesy and creamy pasta dish.
How do you create a perfectly cheesy and creamy sauce without cheese or cream? Great question. That combination has been made achievable by cashews and nutritional yeast. Crazy, right?
The cashews give the sauce a creamy texture. Some people swear by soaking them to ensure they break down when blended. If you have a high powered blender, you should be able to blend them without soaking.
I let them soak for as long as I make the base recipe and it works great. If digestion is something you’re concerned about, soaking the cashews could also help with that.
Nutritional yeast is an up-and-coming ingredient and it is a great tool in the vegan or vegetarian pantry. It has a nutty and cheesy flavor, perfect for recreating cheesy dishes. You should be able to find it in health food stores or in the baking aisle as more grocery stores start to carry it. Here are some of the ways it could be packaged so you know what to look for, or simply save yourself the time and order it online.
Make sure you get a high quality pasta to make this dish really stand out. Double check that it’s vegan though as some pastas contain eggs as we discuss over on Is That Food where we answer the question “Is Pasta Vegan?”
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get some cashews and nutritional yeast and start cooking!Print
For the pasta:
- 8 cups water
- 8 oz. shell pasta
- 1 Tbsp. salt
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup peeled and diced potato, about 1/2 a large potato
- 1 cup peeled and diced onion, about 1/2 an onion
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Chives, diced, to top
- In a large pot, bring water and 1 tablespoon of the salt to boil.
- Add elbow macaroni and cook for 9 minutes, until al dente. Use a slotted spoon and remove noodles to a colander.
- While pasta is cooking, add raw cashews to a small bowl with enough water to cover. Set aside.
- Add diced potato and onion to pasta water and let boil for 10 minutes until tender. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the water.
- Drain water and add potato and onion to a blender.
- Add soaked and drained cashews, 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper to the blender.
- Use a low speed to start to blend and don’t place lid on entirely or use a kitchen towel as the mixture is hot and could make a mess. Blend until creamy. Add more water if you’d like a thinner consistency.
- In a large serving bowl, add in pasta and sauce and mix together until coated entirely.
- Top with chives and serve warm.