Mac and (Not)Cheese

Okay, and it’s not actually macaroni, either, but I love the way radiatorre holds the sauce. The principle is still there, and it tastes damn fine. One of the first things I cooked for myself as a young’un was Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and it was one of those comfort foods that I really missed as a vegan. This stuff has the same feeling for me, but tastes so much better! And, though I often forget, it’s not even unhealthy. It might even be good for me.

This is adapted from an uncredited recipe that was posted in the VeganCooking LiveJournal Community, and I was unable to track down the original author. It was certainly similar to some recipes I’ve seen in books, so it could be anyone. If you’re out there, thank you!

The original called for a jar of pimentos but I have since discovered that  roasted red peppers work just as well and are much cheaper.  I buy them large jars then freeze into recipe-sizes portions.  This dish is so quick to make that even though the first thing I do is put the water on to boil, everything else is ready by the time the pasta is drained.  (Though that might not be true if I had an induction cooktop.)  It’s a great last-minute dinner that is always a guest pleaser as well.

 

Mac and (Not)Cheese with Broccoli and Peas

Mac and (Not)Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk of choice, I like almond (water will do in a pinch)
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 4 oz. jar pimentos (or 3-3.5 oz drained roasted red peppers)
  • 3 heaping Tbs yeast flakes (or just go for the scant 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch or flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A few shots of hot sauce (I like Melinda’s XXXtra Hot or Sriracha)
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (fusilli works great)
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped and steamed until crisp-tender
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas

Blend the first ten items (that’s everything but the pasta and greens) in a blender until smooth. Cook in a saucepan over medium heat until thickened, whisking or stirring frequently. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and broccoli.  You can steam the broccoli quickly in the microwave, or another option is to use all frozen veggies and throw them into the pasta pot just before draining.  On nights when I am feeling super lazy or overwhelmed, I’ll just use frozen peas and frozen spinach.  Carrots, corn, whatever.  But if the veggies are too much for you, you can leave them all out. There is no guilt with this stuff, so do what you like.

Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and mix well, then stir in the broccoli and peas. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika and eat. Then have seconds.

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