When it comes to comfort food, I am developmentally stuck somewhere in childhood. My favorite things to eat when I feel bad (besides chocolate) are mac and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy and beets (don’t ask). I probably ought to note that mac and cheese is a favorite no matter how I feel and giving it up was the hardest part of giving up dairy.
Over the last year I have experimented various techniques and recipes for a vegan mac anc cheese. The first few were very elaborate, took a long time and tasted amazing. Like the homemade baked mac and cheese my mom used to make.
That is all wonderful, but most people, including me, want Mac and Cheese on a whim. Not an hour or 2 later! I am sure this is the reason that Kraft boxes and Stouffers Frozen are so popular. So after a lot of experimenting I came up with a quick and dirty version. Takes a little more time than a box of Kraft but way less than frozen. And not full of weird unpronounceable ingredients, MSG or dairy.
Mac and “Cheese”
- Boil 1 and 1/2 cup salted water
- While the water is boiling get out a small Dutch oven or sauce pan. Add a little olive oiland sauté
- 1/4 cup Mirepoix
- Garlic to taste
- Cook over medium heat for 1 minute
- Add 1/2 package (4 oz) macaroni or other pasta (I use Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli)
- Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes or until the pasta starts to get opaque
- Add in herbs and spices; stir to coat macaroni
- a pinch or two of hot stuff – black pepper, cayenne pepper or chili powder
- 1/2 thyme
- Add water from Step 1 to the pot and bring to a rolling boil
- When water is boiling turn heat to low and
- Add 1 teaspoon for your favorite prepared mustard
- Cover pan and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring every minute or so
- Add 1/2 cup cooked or frozen broccoli *
- Cook for another 2-4 minutes
- Remove from heat and stir in
- 1/2 c. cashew cheese
- 1/2 c. nut milk or miso
You can change up this basic recipe in all sorts of ways — change the herbs and spices or the type of pasta and even the veggies. Imagine – healthy comfort food that comes with a kid seal of approval.
*Feel free to use spinach, kale, mushrooms, peas, brussel sprouts or even left over chili