The Noochy Noodle

a world beyond the blue box

Tag Archives: nutritional yeast

Cheezy Mac From Vegan Diner

Last night was a typical Tuesday dinner. I was exhausted and sluggish from work and had most of what was necessary on hand for a weeknight-style meal of Gardein Beefless Burgers, mac & cheese along with a heaping side of steamed broccoli. I had been planning on choosing the usual recipe in my mac n’ cheese in my repertoire; something from Vegan Table or Appetite for Reduction, but as I turned the pasta water onto boil inspiration struck! I pulled Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner off the bookshelf and flipped to the Cheezy Mac recipe. I had tried a few recipes from the book and enjoyed them, so I figured it couldn’t go too terribly wrong.

The recipe is straightforward enough. Noodles + cashews + nooch + flour+ cornstarch + spices = mac n’ cheese! I expected the recipe to be good, but about on par with every other vegan mac n’ cheese recipe out there these days.

Well, I was wrong because this recipe is straight amazing. A new all time favorite! My mac n’ cheese hating boyfriend even went back for seconds! It actually reminded me quite a bit of a combination of The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook recipe and the Vegan Table recipe, and since those are two of my favorites magic was bound to happen. The smoked paprika adds a vital and delicious flavoring component without being overwhelming, and that extra tablespoon of nooch added towards the end rounds out this perfectly cheesy dish.

One thing that must be commented on is the incredible creaminess! I’ve never tried a mac n’ cheese that was so smooth and thick before. It’s one of those things I didn’t realize was missing from my life until I discovered it.  If other recipes just don’t quite cut it for you in the texture department, then you absolutely must try this one! Apparently combining  flour and cornstarch is the way to go if you want an over the top decadent dish.

As an aside, the buns I used for my burger are from Ozery, a company that makes all sorts of bread-y type products that have been popping up at my local Whole Foods. The buns are thin pita-style sandwich rounds that don’t fall apart when handled. Personally, I like enjoying my burger and all the veggies I load on, not a mouthful of bread, so I think these are fantastic. Careful though, because only one of the 3 types of buns offered are vegan.

Mac and Cheeze Forever!

Let me tell you a little bit about me and macaroni and cheese. I’ve loved mac and cheese my entire life. Well, almost. I remember as a 3 year old hating the velveeta shells and cheese served at family dinners, but I soon learned to embrace the neon yellow sauce and noodles. In middle school I moved on to eating the iconic Kraft Dinner multiple times a week and by high school I was keeping the freezer perpetually stocked with Stoeffer’s frozen macaroni and cheese. Did I ever have excellent metabolism back then.

When I went vegan not much changed, except now I had to make my mac and cheese from scratch. One of the first recipes I made when teaching myself to cook was the New Farm Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Most people don’t immediately take to nutritional yeast (a vital component of most vegan mac and cheeze) the first time they try it, but I was hooked. That became my default mac and cheeze recipe for the next few years. Later I began trying out new methods of cheezy sauce making, using everything from cashews, tofu, or potatoes and carrots for the sauce and I quickly became overwhelmed with all the choices available. So I did what any good vegan would do and decided to start a blog about it.

For my first post I was hoping to make a decadent, time consuming mac and cheeze that would blow your collective minds. However, I have travel induced hypochondria; I’m flying to Portland tomorrow, so naturally I think I’m getting sick. I’m tired, my lymph nodes hurt, and from what I can discern from WebMD I might have a rare tropical disease only found on select islands in Indonesia. So I opted for something simple and went with the Easy Macaroni and “Cheese” from the Fat Free Vegan blog because it has the word “easy” in the name. Whatever.

Easy Mac and "Cheese"

So here’s how this is going to work, I’ll talk about the taste, texture, time and my overall opinion, plus the opinion of my macaroni and cheeze hating boyfriend (it’s a travesty, I know).

Flavor: The sauce has a pretty good flavor, but it’s very mellow, probably because it was created specifically for the author’s kid in mind. That’s fine! I think people who hate nutritional yeast heavy sauces would really like it.

Texture: I am all about the sauce on this one, it’s very creamy. Not gritty, not lumpy, not too thick or too thin. Awesome! Former Kraft lovers take note, I thought the textures were very similar.

Time: I’m not going to spell it out for you. The name says “easy”. It’s easy.

What does the mac and cheeze hating significant other think? “It’s okay, it’s just kind of flavorless.”

Overall: I quite liked it! I’m all about quick meals side dishes eaten in moderation, and recipes that don’t require an entire tub of Earth Balance. I would probably take the nooch up (from here on out I’m calling nutritional yeast “nooch” whenever I feel like it) because I love nooch. That’s just how I am.

First recipe success! I plan on hunting down some mac and cheeze to devour while I’m in Portland this week, so stay tuned!