I’m so excited to be taking part today in the Everyday Vegan Eats Blog Tour! Today I will be sharing a recipe for Baked Macaroni and Cheese from the book.
In Zsu’s debut cookbook, she highlights her family’s favorite recipes with large, colorful photos and recipes for things like Tex-Mex Migas, Deli Reubens, and Spinach & Artichoke Dip. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy deciding what to make first.
After much deliberation, I started with one of the recipe basics – Savory Broth Mix. Several of the recipes in the book call for a spoonful of the mix, made with nutritional yeast flakes and spices, to add extra dimension and flavor.
I usually use vegan vegetable bouillon cubes for that purpose, but Zsu’s broth mix is even more inexpensive and is full of spices I always have on hand.
Next I made Greek Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce.
The gyros can be made with Soy Curls, seitan, or marinated tofu. I opted for the tofu, which was seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, and herbs for a bright pop of flavor.
It was stuffed into pita bread with tomato slices, green leaf lettuce, and onions and then slathered with homemade tzatziki sauce.
This cool, cucumber-rich tzatziki sauce is made with non-dairy yogurt and is the perfect compliment to the garlicky gyros. This would be a refreshing warm weather dish, as it is packed with crisp and vibrant produce.
Next I made Arroz non Pollo, a play on the Latin American dish Arroz con Pollo (i.e. rice with chicken). This recipe also offers the choice of using Soy Curls, tofu, or seitan cutlets for the dish, but I opted to use my remaining marinated tofu.
Filled with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic and spices, this is a savory one-dish meal that would be great for a potluck or dinner party when you want a dish with hearty layers of flavor that can bake while you get drinks and appetizers ready.
Finally I made a batch of Sautéed Collard Ribbons to go with Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
The Baked Macaroni & Cheese gets its creaminess from vegan cream cheese. (I made my own cashew cream cheese, using my favorite recipe from Artisan Vegan Cheese.)
The mac and cheese has a sweetness from roasted red peppers and a lovely bite because of apple cider vinegar.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni do not use gluten-free pasta
- 2 1/2 cups plain unsweetened vegan milk divided
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
- 3 Tablespoons diced jarred pimientos or roasted red peppers
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
- 5 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain and transfer to a 2-quart, wide baking dish and set aside.
- Blend 1 cup of milk, cream cheese, pimientos, yeast, salt, onion, and paprika in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour smells nutty, about 3 minutes. This is a very thick roux; use a wooden spoon to stir it well.
- Transfer the roux to the blender with the milk mixture; make sure there is enough room in the blender jar for the added roux. Blend until smooth and return to the pan. Stir in the rest of the milk and whisk to combine.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir in the vinegar. Simmer for 2 minutes to thicken and cook out the flour taste.
- Add about 2 cups of the sauce to the pasta. Mix well.
- Spread the pasta evenly in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta and smooth the surface. There will seem to be too much sauce for the amount of pasta, but it will all come out fine in the end.
- Bake until the sauce is bubbling and a crust has developed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving.