After having the incredible vegan mac & cheese at Mono Cafe in Glasgow, I set out to make something just as good at home – a colossal challenge considering how good Mono’s recipe is.
I’ve tested quite a few on-line recipes which were, shall we say, less than great. There was one that called for tinned coconut milk which was particularly awful as it was entirely too sweet. Another promised to taste ‘just like the real thing’, but you can probably guess how that turned out (hint: nothing like the real thing). I make no like-for-like promises about this recipe, but I can assure you it’s creamy, comforting, and delicious.
I could write one of those really long blog posts that goes into detail about every single ingredient and why I’ve used it, but instead I’m going to ask you to trust me in exchange for not having to endlessly scroll for the recipe. I will give you a couple of tips, though.
You can use any plant milk you want, but I’d avoid coconut. If you’re trying to cut fat, oat milk works best. It doesn’t matter what vegan cheddar you use, but I’d recommend something that advertises itself as either ‘strong’ or ‘mature’. This is my favourite. It isn’t essential to the recipe, so you can leave it out altogether if you can’t find vegan cheese in your area.
The vegan cheese powder I’ve mentioned below can also be purchased from The Vegan Kind here. You can also find it on Amazon. It’s useful in many other dishes like plant-based queso dip, au gratin potatoes, and sauce for cauliflower-cheese (recipes to follow soonish).
Plant-Based Macaroni Cheese (makes four servings)
300g dried elbow pasta
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least six hours and then drained
375ml cashew milk
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon vegan cheese powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons plant-based butter or margarine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 vegetarian Oxo stock cube**
1 teaspoon lemon juice
50g grated vegan cheddar
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. While your pasta is boiling, place all ingredients except the grated cheese into a blender and pulse until smooth.*
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot, pour in the blended sauce mixture, and add the grated cheese. Over medium heat, stir continuously until the sauce has thickened. Serve it up! Or…
If you prefer baked mac & cheese, don’t add the cheese to the pasta and cheese sauce mixture. Instead, stir the pasta and sauce together over medium heat until it just begins to thicken. Transfer the pasta/sauce mixture into an over-safe dish, top with the grated cheese, and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes. If you want to go for full-on American church lady potluck, sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs or panko over the top before baking.
*This brilliant tip for making the sauce came from my lovely and talented Twitter pal @GlasWolf. He was so kind as to pass along the wonderful recipe for mac & cheese which inspired mine.
**If you find this brand controversial, please feel free to use another