Ever since going dairy free almost 3 years ago, I have been craving a good macaroni and cheese. There is a great freezer section dairy free mac ‘n’ cheese by Amy’s that is amazing and fabulous, but the sodium is really high and the cost is not budget friendly for such a small portion.
I had finally given up when I ran across this recipe over at Veg News. With a bit of tweaking and modification, I had on my hands the best imitation macaroni and cheese recipe EVER. This would never fool a dairy die hard, but it has quickly become my favorite comfort food meal that is guilt free! I’m thinking the sauce would freeze well, which would make it a fast dinner for those days where nothing is going well and the idea of cooking makes me want to cry.
Homemade Macaroni and “Cheese”
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews**
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt**
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread, 2 tablespoons margarine and paprika to a medium-fine texture. Quickly toast bread crumb mixture in a hot dry pan. Set aside.
3. In a saucepan, add potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Pour into serving dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
6. Hide in your pantry and eat the whole pan before the family notices.
** I’ve used raw cashews and more easily accessible roasted cashews, depending on what I could find within our budget. While raw cashews do not impart an odor like the roasted nuts do, the final product is similar enough to fool my picky husband. He didn’t notice and “snarffed it down” (as Ella would say).