Macaroni and cheese, a not so healthy North American classic. A dish that brings up childhood memories for many of us. I wasn’t really a Kraft Dinner kid like so many from my generation. I probably ate it at friends’ houses more than at home. I do have memories of visiting my grandmother in England, and enjoying her homemade macaroni and cheese. Delicious! This vegan macaroni and cheese recipe is from a book called Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
The recipe is titled Sunflower Mac in her awesome new book. Some of you may be familiar with her classic vegan cookbook Veganomicon. People seem to love this book, but to be honest I am not too familiar with it because every time I picked it up I never felt incredibly inspired. However, the recipes in her new book do look delicious and awesome. Great pictures and recipes, just what I like in a cookbook.
I discovered the book one Saturday afternoon while wandering the streets of the Mile End with my girlfriend. We stopped in at a book store called Drawn and Quarterly. I have been in this store before quite some time ago and remembered loving it. It has lots of character and great books, at a time when small local independent book stores are disappearing all over North America. If you live in Montreal stop by. It is right near Phonopolis record store, and the Cafe across the street called Le Depanneur was a lovely discovery. We were treated to live music, while we enjoyed our tea. We wouldn’t have discovered it if it weren’t for the fact that my girlfriend was looking for something to do while I delved into the records selection at Phonopolis. I was so happy she did, because it really was an awesome atmosphere. They have several live acts everyday. I will definitely be going back to discover more.
Another great discovery from our visit to Drawn and Quarterly was Pure Green Mag, an incredibly well put together quarterly lifestyle magazine with features on food, entertaining, gardening, DIY projects and much more. My girlfriend loved it so much, I ordered all the back issues for her for Christmas. Needless to say she was thrilled.
Enough about my amazing Saturday in the Mile End and more about the vegan macaroni and cheese. Although I was intrigued by the recipe when I read, it I was also skeptical. The skepticism continued as I proceeded to make the recipe. I wasn’t sure how it was going to all come together. Since I am sharing the recipe with you guys on my site today, you can guess that I liked the end result. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it came together at the end. While it isn’t my grandmother’s homemade macaroni and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting it to be, nor is it like Kraft Dinner, thank god, it is a creamy and delicious pasta dish without any cream or cheese.
Even if you do eat dairy, I would encourage you to give this recipe a try. It will be a learning experience, and the end result is quite tasty.
I used regular macaroni but now that I have tried the recipe, I think the sauce would stand up well with some whole wheat pasta. For those of you who eat a gluten-free diet, you will know where to find some gluten-free macaroni, likely made with rice.
Let me know in the comments below if you have another version of vegan macaroni and cheese you love, or if you give this one a try!
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 400 g macaroni or other small pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup thinly sliced carrots
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- sweet paprika for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to directions. Drain, return to pot and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the carrots, onions, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent, and the carrots have started to soften. Add the garli,c and sauté for another 30 seconds or so.
- Place the mixture in a blender. Add the broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt, and the sunflower seeds. Blend until very smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes depending on how powerful your blender is. Give your blender a break every minute or so, and check how smooth it is. You want it as smooth as possible.
- Transfer the sauce back to the saucepan on medium-low heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. Season with more salt if necessary, and some freshly ground pepper.
- Pour most of the sauce over the pasta, keeping some to serve over the individual potions. Serve in bowl and sprinkle with paprika.
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