Veganuary Day 2: Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Whilst I’m not actively encouraging the children to join me in participating in Veganuary I will still be making inclusive family meals. I was impressed with Number One Daughter’s eagerness to join me in a vegan day yesterday but I feel that may fall by the wayside tonight as she has ‘Cheeseboard Meredith’ coming round for a sleepover. (So nicknamed after the girls’ fondness for devouring an entire cheese selection when they get together!)

This vegan macaroni cheese recipe I’m attempting tonight is one I’ve had my eye on for a while. I can’t claim ownership of it (see the original recipe here) although I have tweaked it slightly and I’m intrigued to see if it really is a vegan substitute for this American classic recipe that will work for the whole family. I’m hoping the blend of vegetables, cashews and nutritional yeast will provide the cheese flavour – and it really will be facing scrutiny from cheese experts Number One Daughter and Cheeseboard Meredith!

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 2 x potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Half a butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 2 x carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 x onion, roughly chopped
  • 150g cashews
  • 2 x tsp garlic granules
  • 4-5 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 kg macaroni, cooked 
  • A few handfuls of baby leaf spinach

Cover the chopped vegetables in water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until just tender. Drain and reserve a cupful of the cooking water.

Combine the cooked vegetables with the cashews, garlic granules, nutritional yeast and a good splash of the water in a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding water until it reaches the desired consistency.

Return to the pan, add the cooked macaroni and stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle with chilli flakes to serve.

It wasn’t quite cheesy enough for the kids so I was quite happy for them to add grated cheddar to theirs. I still love that the basis for this sauce is entirely healthy in a sort of ‘hidden vegetable pasta sauce‘ way so it still worked for everyone. I found it deliciously creamy yet way more virtuous than the genuine article.

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