I made it clear to Hubby and Anzia, early yesterday morning that we needed to come up with something easy for dinner, because I had a busy day ahead of me and I didn’t really want to cook. Hubby mentioned that we had the makings for Mac N’ Cheese and Anzia jumped in, letting us know she was going to cook.
It is funny how each birthday is such a milestone for a child and when they know their next birthday is close, they seem to want to take on new responsibilities and prove to the world around them that they are growing up. Anzia turns 9 on Tuesday and she has been adamant about doing more on her own every day. It also has meant that each time I offer help, I get the instant eye-roll, the same exact one that I use to get in trouble for as a kid, but I swear I was much older. The reason I mention this is because when the conversation first came up, she was going to do it all on her own, and the mere idea of me helping was ludicrous. By the time she was ready to cook, I was politely asked if I would come into the kitchen, just in case she needed help.
This dinner was super easy and would be a great starter for those just learning to cook vegan. The only thing that she needed help with was pouring the balsamic vinegar, simply because it was a new bottle and too heavy for her, and draining the pasta with boiling water. She wanted to do it, but I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. She completed the meal in less than an hour (not counting the soaking time for the nuts) and was smart enough to know she could make the pea salad while the Mac N’ Cheese was baking.
I was excited over a super silly thing. She opted to make homemade cheesy sauce rather than use the Daiya that we had. I love that she didn’t take the easy route.
If you search Mac N’ Cheese on this site I have made a few different variations. For this one we added walnuts, which I loved. I still love a mashed potato added to the cheese sauce, which gives it a little more density as well as makes it creamier. You could also add a mashed sweet potato, which would make it slightly a sweeter, but a prettier color. https://dontfearthevegan.com/2011/10/18/vegan-mofo-m-is-for-mac-cheeeeese/
Anzia’s Mac N’ Cheese Ingredients:
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp yellow miso
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp paprika
2 1/2 tbsp tamari
1/3 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cups cashews (soaked for 2 hours)
1/4 cup walnuts (soaked for 2 hours)
1 lb elbow macaroni
Fried onion pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse cashews and walnuts. In a blender, blend cashews and walnuts with just enough water to cover the top, on high until creamy.
In a one cup liquid measuring cup mix ingredients from lemon juice to tamari. Add water to equal one cup. In a sauce pan melt butter over low heat. Slowly whisk in flour to create a roux. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in nutritional yeast mixture. Remove from heat. Add cashew/walnut cream. Cook macaroni according to directions.
Add cooked macaroni to nutritional yeast mixture then put in a casserole dish. Sprinkle fried onion pieces over it. Bake for 25 minutes or until brown on top. Serve and enjoy!
Mix ingredients from mayo to salt in a serving bowl until smooth. Gently stir in peas, and hearts of palm until well blended. Eat immediately or chill. Serve and enjoy.