Vegan “Mac ‘n Cheese”

I have come to love this vegan version of macaroni and cheese more so than its rich and calorific cousin. It is tasty comfort food that doesn’t feel like a brick in your stomach after dinner. Keep in mind that it doesn’t taste like your typical macaroni and cheese since it doesn’t actually have cheese- but the sauce is creamy, savory, and delicious. We love having this for dinner about every other week.

Adapted from Chloe Coscarelli’s recipe
serves 4-6

1 pound pasta (recommended: macaroni, penne, or orecchiette)
¼ cup soy-free Earth Balance (sometimes I just cheat and use real butter)
1/3 cup flour
3 cups plain soy milk

1 cup nutritional yeast flakes*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed until al dente

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, start the sauce and steam the broccoli.

In a medium saucepan, make a roux* by whisking the butter and flour over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, salt, and garlic powder to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer until it thickens. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Toss in noodles and steamed broccoli. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired.

*Nutritional yeast is made from a deactivated form of yeast grown on a molasses medium. It has a nutty and cheese-like flavor, so it’s often used to season dairy-free meals. It’s also a delicious and convenient source of amino acids, important minerals, folic acid, and vitamin B12. It is available in flakes or a fine powder, often in the bulk section. The flakes are preferable, because they have more flavor. Try it sprinkled on homemade popped corn!

* A roux (roo) is a mixture of fat and flour that, after being slowly cooked over low heat, is used to thicken mixtures such as soups and sauces. In this case it should be cooked until it turns a pale golden color, you want to cook it for a few minutes so the taste of the raw flour will disappear.

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