This vegan mac and cheese is creamy, rich, filling, and deep in flavor, but it also offers some nutritious elements. Raw cashew nuts, a star in the vegan pantry, give the sauce its silky texture, while potatoes add starch for a little sticky stretch and add color to carrots. Broccoli cooked with the noodles adds more nutrition.
Active time: 35 minutes; Total time: 1 hour
Go on: Assemble and refrigerate for up to 3 days before baking.
Storage information: Chill for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Tested size: 8-12 servings; makes 12 cups
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion (8 ounces), chopped
1 teaspoon fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
2 cloves of garlic, grated or pressed
1 medium rust red potato (9 ounces), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium-sized carrot (4 ounces), scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch coins
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) raw cashew nuts
2 cups of water, plus more as needed
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of white miso
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large broccoli head (1 1/2 pounds)
1 pound elbow macaroni
3/4 cup (2 ounce) panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place a grid in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
In a 12-inch cast iron or other ovenproof pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the potatoes, carrots, cashew nuts and water, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes and carrots are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. (Add hot water as needed to just barely cover the vegetables.) Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Carefully put the vegetables and liquid in a blender. Add nutritional yeast, miso, mustard, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix on the highest level until the sauce is very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating, cut the broccoli stem off the head and peel the hard outer layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler. Cut the stem lengthwise in half, then into 1/4-inch crescent moons. Cut the head into bite-sized florets.
As soon as the water boils, add the pasta and cook al dente for 2 minutes according to the instructions on the packet, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for the remaining 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is light green and the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta and broccoli and return to the saucepan. Pour in the sauce and stir until completely covered. Return the mixture to the cast iron pan and flatten it into an even layer.
In a small bowl, mix the panko with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Scatter mac and cheese on top. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the panko is lightly browned and the sauce begins to bubble. Serve hot.
Adapted from “Plant & Planet” by Goodful (Rodale Books, 2021).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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