A Double Recipe Feature of Robin Robertson’s Vegan Mac & Cheese

Ever since I went vegan, I have collected vegan cookbooks. And in nearly every one of these cookbooks, there is an author’s tried and true mac n’ cheese recipe that will please your dairy loving friends and family. I will admit, many of them were more like pasta in a cream sauce than “cheese-like” but what I can swear by is that Robin Robertson has been one of my top favorite vegan cookbook authors since day one. I have always liked her play on spices and even textures to bring back a typically nonvegan dish and make it into something really, really, really special. Also, her recipes have NEVER failed me so there is also that important benefit of purchasing her cookbooks too! With that being said, Robin Robertson has done something that I would file under “Why hasn’t this been done before?” and she totally did it…AN ENTIRE COOKBOOK DEDICATED TO VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE!!! This isn’t just 50 ways to make the same dish…nope!!! Robin Robertson takes you on a global adventure as well, along with making your own instant mac n’ cheese that will have you leaving those overpriced vegan box mixes for good!!! But today, I am one of the stops on Robin Robertson’s Vegan Mac & Cheese blog tour and I am giving my readers what I call a “Double Feature” and posting two recipes from this newly released cookbook. If you make any of the recipes, please let me know…I’d love to hear what you think about it!

Mac and Thai

Mac and Thai

There’s a lot to love about this culinary fusion-fest featuring gemelli pasta cloaked in a creamy sauce made with cashews, coconut milk, and Thai red curry paste.

Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (30 g) Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (480 ml) water, divided
  • 3/4 cup (105 g) unsalted raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained
  • 1 (13-ounce, or 368 g) can unsweetened coconut milk 

Pasta

  • 16 ounces (454 g) gemelli, or other small pasta

Garnish

  • Chopped roasted peanuts, for garnishing
  • Fresh Thai basil, or chopped fresh cilantro, for garnishing
  • Red pepper flakes, for garnishing (optional)
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. To make the sauce: In a skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil.
  2. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the curry paste, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in 1 cup (240 ml) of water and remove the skillet from the heat.
  5. In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews and remaining 1 cup (240 ml) of water. Blend until completely smooth. Add the curry mixture and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  6. 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. Drain well and return it to pot.
  7. To finish: Stir in the curry sauce and coconut milk. Place the pot over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes to heat through and thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Transfer to a large serving dish and serve hot, sprinkled with peanuts, basil, and red pepper flakes (if using), with lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Mom’s Baked Mac & Cheese

Mom’s Baked Mac & Cheese

My mother used to make a delicious baked macaroni and cheese topped with (accidentally vegan) Ritz cracker crumbs and paprika. The sauce began with a roux to make a rich béchamel and was baked to perfection. Note: The texture of this baked casserole is meant to be firm, not saucy. The optional shredded vegan cheese makes the sauce richer, but it’s delicious without it.

Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Pasta

  • 16 ounces (454 g) elbow macaroni
  • Olive oil or vegan butter, for preparing the baking dish

Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups (1.2 L) plain unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (112 g) shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Topping

  • 1 cup (72 g) finely crushed Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) melted vegan butter
  1. 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. Reserve 1 cup (240 ml) of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9 × 13-inch (23 × 33 cm) baking dish with olive oil or vegan butter. Set aside.
  3. To make the sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  4. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Add the salt. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, onion powder, and pepper and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until thick. Reduce the heat to low. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add as much of the 1 cup (240 ml) of reserved cooking water, as desired.
  6. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir to combine.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, paprika, and melted butter to combine.
  8. To finish: Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish, top with the cracker crumb mixture, and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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