This is the vegan version of baked mac and cheese you’ve been craving. For a variation, stir in 1 cup of broccoli florets into the pasta cooking water 2 to 3 minutes before draining it or 3 cups of fresh baby spinach into the pasta before baking the casserole.
- 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.
From Everyday Vegan Eats by Zsu Dever. ©2014 Zsu Dever. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.