vegan mac + cheese

11:55 AM

I have been loving all the recipes I've discovered through the Love & Lemons blog. Considering what they attempt to do (replicate the taste of dairy) the recipes are quite simple and easy to execute. I made this mac and cheese for us this weekend and it was a huge hit!!

▪1 big head of cauliflower (4 loose cups, chopped, plus extra small florets to leave whole)
▪12 oz brown rice elbow pasta
▪1 tbsp dijon mustard
▪1 shallot, minced
▪3 cloves of garlic
▪1/2 tsp smoked paprika
▪1 c cashew cream (see recipe below) or sharp cheddar
▪1 tbsp sherry vinegar
▪salt & pepper
▪pasta water, as needed to thin

▪1/4 c panko bread crumbs
▪vegan cheese
▪1/4 c chopped chives

cashew cream: (this makes extra & can be made ahead)
▪1 c cashews, soaked for a few hours (strain soaking water before using)
▪1/4 - 1/2 c water
▪1 small garlic clove
▪1/4 c minced shallot
▪2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
▪salt, to taste


Start by making your cashew cream. (Strain the soaking water from the cashews). Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Scoop the cream out of the blender and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until tender but not mushy, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to drain and scoop the cauliflower into a blender. When the cauliflower is out, bring your water back up to a boil and add the pasta.
In the blender - add the dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, to the cauliflower, and puree well. Add about ¾ cups of cashew cream, sherry vinegar, and blend again. Add starchy pasta water, as needed, to thin the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Add more cashew cream if you want).
When your pasta is al dente, set aside a cup or so of pasta water, then fully drain your pasta and the water out of the large pot. Return the cooked pasta to the pot and stir in the sauce. Add more reserved pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.
Pour your pasta into a large baking dish (or a few individual sized dishes). Place the remainder of the cauliflower floretes on top. Top with a sprinkling of panko, cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Bake until the top is golden and crispy - about 12-25 minutes depending on the size of your dish.
Remove from oven and top with chives.

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