Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mixxie’s Vegan Mac and Cheese



There are lots of vegan mac and cheese recipes online. This is my version and I think it is very good and hits the spot when you have the craving. I added frozen peas to give it that "boxed macaroni and cheese with peas” taste that is what I crave. You can omit them, or add broccoli, spinach, shredded carrots or whatever else suits your fancy.

  • 1 pkg vacuum-packed silken tofu. I used Mori-Nu Silken Soft which I bought at a nearby Asian market.
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs prepared Dijon or brown mustard (or 1 tsp dry mustard)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Frank’s)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbs vegan margarine (I’ve done taste tests and Earth Balance is my favorite)
  • 1 lb small pasta shape of your choice
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Place ingredients in food processor bowl or blender and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a medium sized sauce pan and heat gently over medium heat, stirring constantly. You just want to get it hot. If it starts to thicken too much you can add a bit of non-dairy milk of your choice. Set aside until pasta is cooked.


In the meantime, boil enough water for the small macaroni of your choice. When I make mac and cheese with frozen peas, I have the peas waiting in the colander for when I drain the macaroni. This thaws them sufficiently to be blended with the sauce.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, stir well to combine and taste for seasoning. You may need to add a bit of salt at this point. You can also pour into a casserole dish, cover with buttered bread crumbs and bake for about 25 minutes in a medium-hot oven (375-400).

*Note---the second time I made this I used Hodgson Mill whole wheat pasta shells. If you are feeling virtuous, by all means use whole wheat (or other whole grain pasta) but if you are craving the comfort food mac and cheese experience I suggest going with traditional elbow macaroni or shells. I found the Hodgson Mill product to have a bit too much tooth to be satisfying as mac and cheese.

Monday, November 7, 2011

BBQ Tempeh and Root Vegetable Hash w/Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

This was a totally off-the-cuff recipe. I had to do something because my friend was giving me not-so-subtle hints to get off my butt and write another blog entry. This recipe utilized a very lovely convenience package of butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. It was a 2 lb bag of very nicely diced squash for $4.99. I have already made about 4 dishes with this bag of squash and I still have a little left. I also used the microwave to fast bake a sweet potato (pretty much the best use of a microwave I have come across). So, take one small red onion and dice—add to that one half of green or red bell pepper diced, and a couple of large cloves of garlic roughly chopped. Sautee in 2 tbs olive oil ‘till translucent and add 1 baked sweet potato peeled and diced, and 1 cup of cubed, steamed butternut squash. Let rest for a couple of minutes to brown and then move around with a flat spatula to get the other sides of the potatoes and squash brown.
My secret is this very inexpensive wok pan I bought at Stop and Shop on clearance. This thing fries things with very little oil, to a very nice golden color. I don’t even use a spatula to flip, rather, I just give the pan a few tosses. This is my and my daughter’s favorite new cooking tool.
While your veg are getting golden, take a package of tempeh, cut in half, and poach for 6 minutes. Then, cut into large dice. Add this to the veg mixture and toss or stir to brown the tempeh. Toss in about 2 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds (aka 'pepitas') and stir continuously 'till seeds start to pop (alternatively, you can toast the pumpkin seeds in a separate skillet and then add to the hash at the end).  Next, add a tablespoon of smoked paprika, two teaspoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of molasses, and 1/2 cup of water and toss or stir, cooking until sauce is thickened.
Serve with tofu scramble or eggs, any style.