If you’re dairy-free and miss mac and cheese, then I have a cookbook for you. Vegan Mac and Cheese by Robin Robertson has just been released, and it’s filled with 50 recipes for America’s favorite comfort food. To tempt your taste buds, I have a sample recipe from Robin’s collection for “Mom’s” Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese!
Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese Just Like Mom Used to Make
Like all of the recipes in Vegan Mac and Cheese, this home-style dish is formulated for maximum satisfaction. The cheesy sauce is made from simple ingredients with the option for subtle or intense richness, and it’s topped with those beloved buttery crumbs before baking.
You might be wondering how much you can really do with mac and cheese. I mean, 50 recipes is a lot! But Robin gets creative with chapters for basic, global, veggie, meaty, and “fun” vegan mac and cheese varieties. Here are a few sample recipe titles that jumped out at me:
- Better-than-Boxed Mac UnCheese
- One-Pot Cheesy Mac
- Blushing Baked Ziti
- Creamy Curry Mac
- Spinach-Artichoke Mac and Cheese
- Smoky Mac and Peas with Mushroom Bacon
- Asparagus Mac and Hollandaise
- Crabby Mac UnCheese
- Philly Cheesesteak Mac
- Mac and Cheese Balls
- Sweet Noodle Kugel
And of course I couldn’t resist the comforting appeal of Mom’s Baked Mac & Cheese. The recipe below is from the “Basic” recipe chapter in Vegan Mac and Cheese.
Special Diet Notes: Mom’s Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
If you opt to use dairy-free cheese alternative, make sure to select a brand that suits your dietary needs. Most brands tend to melt well into sauces.
- 16 ounces (454 g) elbow macaroni
- Olive oil or vegan butter, for preparing the baking dish
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) dairy-free buttery spread or sticks
- ¼ cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
- 5 cups (1.2 L) plain unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (20 g) nutritional yeast, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup (112 g) shredded dairy-free cheese alternative (optional)
- 1 cup (72 g) finely crushed Ritz crackers
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) melted dairy-free buttery spread or sticks
- To make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente.
- Reserve 1 cup (240 ml) of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9 × 13-inch (23 × 33 cm) baking dish.
- To make the sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the dairy-free butter.
- Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk beverage. Add the salt. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 5 minutes.
- Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, onion powder, and pepper and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until thick. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the dairy-free cheese (if using) until melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add as much of the 1 cup (240 ml) of reserved cooking water, as desired.
- Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, paprika, and melted butter to combine.
- To finish: Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish, top with the cracker crumb mixture, and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top.