I absolutely adore mac and cheese! It is my comfort food and reminds me of my mom and being home 🙂 For years after meeting my vegan husband, I didn’t eat mac and cheese because it was too much effort to make for just me! But then we discovered that cheese can be made from cashew nuts, and is then vegan and dairy free. Ever since then, he’s been begging me to make a vegan mac and cheese.
For our first wedding anniversary, my parents bought us a food processor and it has revolutionised our cooking! Now we can purée and grate and pulverise and shred in seconds!
And best of all, it can blend nuts into a beautiful creamy paste…
Here is our recipe for creamy, caramelised mac and cheese:
For the creamy cheesy sauce:
- 150g raw cashews
- 3 tablespoons oil (I use organic rapeseed oil)
- 1 white onion, grated
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon marmite (or nutritional yeast if you have)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 250ml soya or almond milk
- 2 cooked carrots (or 1 tin of carrots in water)
- Soak the cashews in hot water. The longer they soak, they softer they become, the easier they are the blend. After at least 2 hours, drain the cashews. Place in the blender. Leave them aside for now.
- In the mean time, fry the grated onion in the oil, together with the garlic. After a few minutes, add the balsamic vinegar and fry for a further few minutes to caramelise the onion and garlic.
- Once the caramelised onion mixture has cooled, put them in the blender with the cashews. Also put in the tumeric, paprika, marmite, mustard, milk and drained cooked carrots.
- Blend on high for a good few minutes until smooth.
For the mac and cheese bake:
- 250g Conchiglie shell pasta
- 300g frozen peas
- Boil the pasta as per the instructions on the pack and then drain.
- Tip the pasta into a bowl, together with the frozen peas and the cheese sauce and mix well to get the sauce right into the pasta shells.
- Put the entire creamy, cheesy, pasta gooey goodness into an oven proof dish. Top with a little paprika or breadcrumbs for some crunch.
- Cook in the oven , gas mark 6 / 180 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, or until golden brown topping forms
I serve ours with a generous helping of raw baby spinach which wilts under the heat from the mac and cheese. This recipes makes 4 servings and if you’re interested, each portion, with cheese sauce, pasta, peas and spinach comes to about 580 calories. And it makes great leftovers the next day as well 🙂
Cashews have loads of health and fertility benefits – they are packed with soluble dietary fibre, B vitamins, and minerals including manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium; they are rich in heart-friendly monounsaturated-fatty acids too. The fertility benefits of spinach are another great reason to load up on this meal!