My kids cut their teeth, so to speak, on mac and cheese. And tofu. First, as vegetarian kids, then as vegan teens. Whenever friends came over, the meal most often served was mac and cheese, even after the shift to a vegan diet. Would that there had been a book like Vegan Mac & Cheese: More than 50 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food by Robin Robertson as the gang was growing up! I would have taken a lot more chances with those preteen palates.
It took a long time for it to occur to me that plant-based cheesy sauces could be made with all kinds of vegetables — sometimes without a speck of actual vegan cheese (not that I have any objection to the latter; it’s just nice to switch things up). That’s a great feature of this lovely book, which offers 50 ways to make this beloved comfort food.
These creative recipes incorporate sauces made from plant-based milks, nuts, vegetables, and yes, sometimes vegan cheese, to create creamy, luscious mac and cheese variations. Robin takes the concept of mac and cheese tastefully global and wildly creative with recipes like:
- Indian Curry Mac
- Salsa Mac and Queso
- Buffalo Cauliflower Mac
- Greek Spinach Orzo Bake
- Italian Macaroni Pie
- Noodle Kugel
- Philly Cheesesteak Mac
- Brat & Kraut Mac and Cheese
… and lots more. Robin is a longtime colleague, and as someone who has enjoyed her recipes for years, I can vouch for them as among the tastiest, easiest to accomplish, and reliable in the biz. The recipes in Vegan Mac & Cheese are no exception! Mac and cheese remains a staple in our home, and still a favorite of my “aging” offspring. I look forward to lots of inspiration from this book.
And now, here’s Robin and her Cheesy Primavera Mac:
I like to use tricolor rotini in this lovely springtime casserole to mirror the gorgeous colors of the vegetables in the dish. Recipe from Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Photo: Jack Adams photography. Reprinted by permission.
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pasta and Vegetables
- 16 ounces tricolor rotini, or other small pasta
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 3 scallions, white and green parts, minced
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach, arugula, or watercress
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/4 cup roasted hulled sunflower seeds, optional garnish
- Handful small basil leaves, optional garnish
- To make the sauce: In a saucepan, combine the potato, carrot, garlic, and cashews with enough water to cover. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water.
- Drain and transfer the cooked vegetables and cashews to a high-speed blender, along with the reserved cooking water.
- Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, paprika, miso, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Set aside.
- 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. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli to the pot. Drain the pasta and broccoli and return them to the pot.
- Place the pot over low heat and add the scallions, spinach, and cherry tomatoes and toss to combine.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine and heat through. Transfer to a large serving dish and serve hot, garnished with sunflower seeds and basil leaves, if using.
Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson is available on Amazon
and wherever books are sold
- Here are more recipe for pastas & noodles
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