Friday, September 9, 2016

Comfort Food Classic: Mac & Cashew Cheese

Mac & cashew cheese with peppers & peas, dusted with sweet paprika & dried parsley.

For the past five years, I have always referred to the same recipe as the end-all-be-all of vegan macaroni and cheese. I have tried out many other recipes that seemed promising but ultimately fell flat. This macaroni & cashew cheese is what made me fall in love with using cashews for richness and creaminess. This recipe is what made me realize, 'Oh! Vegan cheese can be seriously f*cking delicious!', and I never looked back.

The first time I made this I nearly ate the entire batch by myself and I can tell you with confidence that the leftovers are still enjoyable even when they're cold straight out of the refrigerator. Discovering this recipe was one of those pivotal moments for me that made transitioning to veganism that much more accessible. Finding methods of cooking and recipes that may even surpass prior techniques prepared with animal products is what causes the choice to adhere to a vegan diet to become a lifelong adoption. The appeal to my tastebuds along with the knowledge that both my heart (no cholesterol!) and the animals are happier for my plant-based choices keeps me motivated and inspired. I can tell you with complete honesty that I have never craved any dairy-ladden mac and cheese since I've found this golden nugget of a recipe.

I came upon the original of this recipe in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table, who actually adapted it from The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry. Patrick-Goudreau notes in her book that she only modified the recipe slightly, and I have only modified her version slightly as well. My modifications make the recipe more streamlined (in my opinion) but they don't compromise taste one bit. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use any type of pasta and add any delicious mix-ins you have on hand. You can also certainly bake this mac as a casserole with seasoned breadcrumbs or grated vegan cheese on top, but I find it tastes better straight off of the stovetop. This makes enough for 4 servings or more if you're serving it as a side dish. You can also easily double the recipe for the holidays or any larger social gatherings.

Homemade mac & cheese with roasted brussels & smokey spicy tempeh.

Mac & Cashew Cheese
Yield :: 4-6 servings 
Adapted from the 'Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese' recipe in The Vegan Table.

Continue for the recipe!