The Noochy Noodle

a world beyond the blue box

Tag Archives: recipe review

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 & Trees – Appetite for Reduction

You might not guess it from reading this blog, but I actually try and eat pretty healthy most of the time. I’m all about whole foods, high fiber, low fat, all that fun stuff, so I tend to make dinner from Appetite for Reduction, the latest book from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, multiple times a week. It’s without a doubt the cookbook in my extensive collection that gets the most use, so it’s not hard to imagine that I make the AFR  Mac and Trees more than any other mac & cheese recipe. Usually on the nights when I’m just so exhausted from school or work that I can’t even fathom cooking I’ll pop into the market near my house, buy a head of broccoli and some whole wheat macaroni so that I can have a delicious and comforting dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

Mac and Trees is also really versatile. Since I make it so often I like to get a little crazy and experiment, so sometimes instead of broccoli I’ll use peas and carrots, or I’ll dump a bottle of hot sauce or some sliced up veggie dogs on top. Anything goes!

This recipe really takes me back to my first few months of being vegan. As much as I love cashew based cheese sauce recipes, the nooch-y sauces I made so often as a baby vegan will always have a special place in my heart and I love revisiting them from time to time. Unfortunately, a lot of  the recipes are also really high in fat. But not this recipe! It’s all the cozy flavors of the 1970’s cheese sauce without half a cup of oil or margarine.

Have you tried Mac and Trees? What do you think?