Vegan Mac & Cheese Bake
- 16 oz. package pasta of choice (I used rice penne pasta) (works with an 8oz package too)
- paprika, garnish
For the bread crumb topping
- two pieces of bread or 1 cup bread crumbs
- tablespoon olive oil
- twist or two of the salt grinder
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked for a 2 -3 hours (aides in digestion)
- 1 3/4 cups water or unsweetened almond milk, or combo like I did
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- juice of one large lemon or 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, to taste*
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- dash of cayenne powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook your noodles al dente and set aside.While waiting for the water to boil, start with your bread topping first. I toasted two pieces of bread we had on hand really well and processed them in the food processor until crumbly, a high speed blender will work too. Place the crumbs in a small bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a twist or two of the salt grinder, mix well and set aside. Quickly rinse the processor/blender bowl and move on to the cheese sauce.
For the cheese sauce: In food processor/blender, combine all of the cheese sauce ingredients except for about 1/2 of the water/milk and blend until creamy. Add remaining water/milk and blend again. Taste for flavor adding anything extra to suit your taste.
Once pasta is cooked and drained. Add pasta back to the pot it was cooked in, add the cheese sauce and combine well. It may seem like too much liquid but the pasta will take care of most of it.
In baking dish, pour mac & cheese and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, check after 15 minutes if crumbs are darkening too much for your liking, cover with foil.
When done, let cool about 10 minutes and serve. The sauce will thicken upon standing.
If you use a smaller baking dish or use ramekins, lessen the cooking time to 10 – 20 minutes depending on the size of dish you use.