Yes, it’s true – almost everyone loves cheese. A lot of people don’t go vegan just because they can’t give up the taste of cheese. However, you don’t need the real cheese to taste the cheese. Sounds a bit weird? Yes, I know but stay with me here. There’s a secret vegan ingredient that’s a 100% copycat to the cheese flavor. In today’s recipe, you’ll learn how to make your own veganized version of the famous Mac and Cheese. It has the creamiest and most satisfying vegan cheese sauce ever.
The secret ingredient that gives any vegan food the cheese flavor is nutritional yeast (also know as nooch). I know, it sounds like a very bizarre and exotic ingredient, but trust me – it’s a must have in every vegan kitchen. I was pretty skeptical before I tried it. But when I did, I was totally blown away. Vegans don’t have to sacrifice the taste of cheese after all!
But what is nutritional yeast, anyway? Turns out it’s made from a single-celled organism which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed and dried with heat to “deactivate” it. Because it’s inactive, it doesn’t froth or grow like baking yeast does so it has no leavening ability. And, nope, no animals are harmed in this process because yeasts are members of the fungi family, like mushrooms, not animals.
Also, nutritional yeast offers some kick-ass benefits too. This type of yeast is often fortified with vitamin B12 which frequently is a deficiency in a vegan diet. This vitamin is essential for building up and keeping your nerves healthy.
Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, meaning that among the 18 amino acids it contains, nine are essential ones that your body cannot produce. It’s also a source of other B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, and niacin. These vitamins help you extract the energy from food and produce red blood cells.
So as you can see, nutritional yeast isn’t that weird after all. It’s quite indispensable when it comes to vegan cooking, and it has dozens of ways how to use it.
But now, let’s dive into the delicious vegan mac and cheese recipe.
To make 2 to 4 servings of vegan mac and cheese, you’ll need:
- 400 g of pasta
- 3 middle-sized potatoes
- 1 carrot
- 1 big onion
- 1/2 cup of cashews
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
- a pinch of pepper
- First, roughly chop the potatoes, carrot, and onion. Put them in a pot with water and bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until soft (when you can easily cut through the fork) for around 15 minutes. Take the vegetables out, but save the water!
- Put the veggies in a food processor. Add 1 1/2 glass of the boiled water, cashews and all spices. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. When it’s ready, empty the entire pot of pasta into a strainer so it’s dry. Pour the cheesy sauce over the pasta, stir well so everything is covered.