I promise I didn't intentionally pick a recipe that appears complicated to start of the year. However, this Vegan mac n' cheese, made with a cashew cream sauce, is worth any trouble you may think it may cause. I promise, as long as you have the ingredients and a good food processor, its actually pretty easy! Since I am dairy-free along with being gluten-free, vegan recipes are something I have enjoyed learning how to work with. My older sister [who eats only 5 different foods (actually foods not food groups) like chips, hot dogs, ketchup, bread and ham] loved this recipe so much she requested it for her birthday. My younger sister had no idea there was no actually cheese in it until I told her it was vegan. Then she was really confused that didn't stop her from eating a second helping.
The original recipe that inspired me from Vegangela.com called for miso paste (which is a soy derivative) but I am allergic to soy so I omitted it and I don't think it really affected the recipe at all. It also called for truffle oil but since I forgot to buy it (and my sisters would probably hate the flavor anyway) I omitted it as well. So here is my humble version:
Vegan Mac & Cheese
Directions:1) Place cashews in the food processor and finely grind (just don’t let the cashews turn to a paste). Set aside. **I recommend raw chases because the will grind better. If they are roasted already with an oil the sauce may turn out to be a bit grittier**
I then add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in the processor and pulse another time or two until well combined.
2) In a heavy saucepan, combine milk and oil. Bring to a simmer over high heat and then add the cornstarch slowly while stirring. (The original recipe added the cornstarch before heating and it clumped on me the first time so I added it after heating the second time and it thickened perfectly.) After the mix simmers, decrease heat to low heat, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until cornstarch dissolves.
3) Once the cornstarch and milk/oil mixture is heated, add to the food processor (the Ninja has a little opening so you can blend and add at the same time) and pulse or blend to combine well. This is when I add the lemon juice.
Alternately, you can add the dry cashew mix to the saucepan with the wet mix and whisk well. Just don"t forger to add the lemon juice.
I added the Perdue gluten-free chicken tenders (which are my product of the month for January) for my sister's birthday meal (because she loves childhood meals like this). I also added a side of steamed broccoli so I could feel a little healthy about it. Neither of my sisters ate any broccoli but my mom and husband appreciated it. Hope you enjoy yours!