VEGAN MAC' AND CHEEZE
I scream, you scream, we all scream for MAC' N CHEEZE!
Especially those of us with food allergies, dietary preferences, or just a healthy appreciation for health.
It can be hard to find meals as satisfying as the ones you used to remember eating. You know, like when you were six and ate tacos for breakfast and waffles for dinner. (Okay, I'm exaggerating: I'm almost 23 and I still do that.)
But seriously- I MISS MAC' N CHEESE. Like, the super gross kind you could heat up in the plastic cups in the microwave (cancer, anyone?). But since I can't justify that awful snack, I decided to create a slightly spicy, flavorful, much healthier recreation of the old favorite.
Loaded with secret ingredient goodies like nutritional yeast, tahini, and turmeric, its worth more than you'd expect, too. The cheezy sauce is chock full of B vitamins and anti-inflammatory power just waiting to be gobbled up!
This dish makes me forget why I ever ate cheese in the first place. With alternatives this good, what was I waiting for?
The cheeze sauce is a little tangy, with just enough spice added to give you a few extra layers of flavor. Whenever I make this dish, we finish the whole pot in a day. Never any leftovers, here.
And sometimes-maybe its the B vitamins, or maybe its that cheesy flavor- I just crave a spoonful of nutritional yeast. And though I certainly don't mind just going for it, it can be a little dry.
This is a way better alternative.
Did I mention this was a two step recipe? Blend, stir. Enjoy.
Seriously though, you're gonna love me for this. You're only fifteen minutes from a big, warm bowl of childhood memories...ready, GO!
12 ounces gluten-free pasta elbows
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened milk substitute of choice (we've used hemp, almond, and walnut-all delicious!)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tahini
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Gluten-free pasta, especially when brown rice based, tends to absorb more water than normal, so be sure to add extra water to the pot before boiling; it usually takes a few extra minutes for GF pasta to reach the al dente stage, too. And be sure to add a little salt to the water before boiling- it flavors the pasta.
As pasta cooks, combine the raw cashews and nut milk in a blender or food processor. I never soak mine before hand- I prefer the slightly thicker sauce that results from not soaking them in this recipe.
Once combined, add the rest of the ingredients. Yup, all of 'em.
(Told you this recipe was easy!)
Blend until combined. Set aside.
Once pasta is al dente (literally meaning "to the bite"; leave a little texture in that pasta! Don't boil it into mushy submission.), strain, rinse, and put it back into the pot. Pour in the cheeze sauce, using a wooden spoon to gently toss and coat the pasta.
Turn the burner back onto low and continue to cook the pasta and cheeze sauce together about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens to the noodles.
Serve with a garnish of fresh basil or cilantro, avocado, or a little hot sauce for the best grown-up vegan mac' n cheeze you can imagine.
To reheat, simply warm the pasta in a pan with a little non-dairy milk, stirring 'til creamy.
Saves well in a refrigerated space for about a week.
Its been hard finding restaurants in Maine that cater to a vegan lifestyle. There are some, especially in the big city of Portland, but thats almost an hour from us and frankly, I'd rather eat close to home when I can. We've been doing a lot of cooking for ourselves, which I love, but it would be nice to occasionally order out and not have any dishes to wash.
Last week we finally found a restaurant that we love...and its close to home! Located in Damariscotta, Savory Maine
offers a little bit of everything. They are familiar with the vegan lifestyle and willing to accomodate to it. Gluten-free? Vegetarian? They've got your backs, too.
My first trip in I ordered their Tempeh-based Reuben with homemade vegan potato salad and I've been craving it ever since. Though I wish I could eat there every night, I just can't afford it. I needed to quell the craving...so I came up with my very own recipe!
It starts with a good, flavorful bread like rye or pumpernickel. I found lots of options at the market but settled on an organic loaf made on a farm right here in Maine. Rich in caraway and with a touch of espresso grounds in the batter, this bread adds so, so much flavor to the sandwich.
Topped with fried tempeh, spicy vegan cheese, and local sauerkraut and you've got yourself a meal even Savory Maine would be proud of.
Pair it with our balsamic potato salad
for a truly 'Maine' meal.
(for one sandwich):
2 slices Rye or Pumpernickel bread
Tempeh- about 4 1/4 in. slices
2 tablespoons vegan thousand island dressing
1-1/4 inch slice of Daiya havarti jalapeno & garlic block (or your favorite cheese alternative)
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan butter for frying
1/2 teaspoon Braggs aminos or soy sauce
Set aside your two delicious slices of rye or pumpernickel. Its good to use a darker bread here to get the caraway and espresso flavor of the bread-trust me, it adds a ton of flavor to the sandwich!
If your tempeh is in block form, slice four 1/4 inch slices. If pre-sliced, use about 3-4 slices. In a frying pan, melt a little oil or butter and add the soy sauce. Fry the tempeh strips until crispy and golden brown, about 2-4 minutes on each side.
Grab your bread slices and spread about a tablespoon of vegan thousand island on each side. Top with fried tempeh, and the slice of cheese. Put the sandwich together and using the same frying pan, grill sandwich until cheese melts, a few minutes on each side. Remove from pan, separate bread slices, top with sauerkraut, and reassemble into sandwich form. Now take a giant, gooey, cheesy bite...enjoy!
This is what happens when Amber falls asleep after a long day at work... I take over. Hi, I'm Alex, the boyfriend of the fantastic young woman who runs Fettle Vegan.
I grew up in Southern California where the In-N-Out burger chain reigns supreme. Even when I went away to college in Massachusetts, it became ritual to fly home, get off the plane and go to In-N-Out...it's that good. And I wasn't the only one, I had friends go to school all over the country and we all did the same thing. Everyone goes to In-N-Out, it's delicious. I've been practicing a vegan diet for a solid 6 months now and an In-N-Out burger is still one of those non-vegan items that I still get cravings for from time to time. In-N-Out is delicious, there's no way around it. Plus, it doesn't help that we have one about a mile away that is open til 1am most nights. But, I'm a vegan now, so when Amber fell asleep, I went to work creating my very own In-N-Out Double Double NO-Animal Style.
If you're "Not from these parts": The "Double Double" is a basic at this establishment. Basically it's a burger with two beef patties and two slices of cheese (absolutely not vegan). The "Animal Style" burger means you take any of their burgers and basically they put everything on it for you (we'll get to the specifics shortly).
To make your own In-n-Out Burger (animal style!), you'll need the following:
-1 large onion
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 Tbsp grape seed oil
-2 of your favorite veggie burger patties
(make sure you are able to cook them on a skillet or grill)
(American if you want it to be In-N-Out authentic, but we used Daiya's cheddar wedge & loved it)
-Vegan Thousand Island Dressing
(or as they call it "spread")
Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil. Finely chop onions and add to the pan along with salt. Stir regularly and keep an eye on them. This is honestly the most tedious part of the whole thing. When the onions start to look dry, add 1 Tbsp of water. Keep cooking and adding water when needed until the onions are caramelized to a nice brown color and smell delicious. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add 1 Tbsp oil to a griddle or saucepan and turn to medium heat. Once the grill is evenly heated, season burgers with salt and pepper and start cooking. This is where we start using true In-N-Out tricks. When you start cooking your burgers, we are looking to do about 3 minutes on each side. As the burgers are cooking, apply 1 Tbsp of mustard to the "raw" side of the burger that is still facing up. When the first side is good and done, give it a flip onto the mustard side down and immediately add a slice of cheese to the top, you can also add some of your grilled onions on top of the cheese at this point. This is a great trick especially for vegans trying to get their stingy cheese to melt. After 3 minutes on the mustard side, you're done!
Repeat with the second burger, since a true Double Double has two patties!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Also, get a new pan, griddle, grill or some kind of heating surface, add a small amount of oil, just so the surface is "shimmering" and start it up on medium heat. Whole buns go in the oven for 2 minutes, just to warm them. Take them straight out of the oven, split them and put them face side down on your heating surface of choice until golden brown, about 1 minute.
Now, put it all together!
This is the fun part and I'm going to make it very simple.
Here's the order from the plate up:
1 large slice tomato
2 cheese and onion covered patties
...and that's it!
6-layer Taco Pie
It was all Alex's idea. For months he'd been wanting to re-create a random, rushed, thrown-together version of this Taco Pie we'd accidentally made before. The problem? I couldn't exactly remember how we'd made it...or what we'd thrown in it. As we went over what we thought we'd need to pick up from the grocery store, pieces of the puzzle started coming back to me. Tortillas, beans...or course there were beans! And cheese!
It all came together much more efficiently and inexpensively than I could ever have imagined. It was good and cheap.
And actually sort-of looked like a pie!
We had about 50 avocados on hand this weekend anyway, and what better way to use them up?
Our neighbors have huge avocado and peach trees, and we're lucky that they get so bombarded by fruits that they share them with us. We made enough guacamole to feed 12 people out of these avocados, and still had leftovers.
But I'm okay with that...more for me.
This went from being a meal I had no memory of to a meal-time staple in our house.
It's easy to throw together, takes only 30 minutes in the oven, and is even better topped with guacamole, salsa, and fresh tomatoes.
4 sprouted wheat tortillas (or your favorite kind!)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 15 ounce can of refried beans (Amy's brand is vegan)
1 15 ounce can black beans
1/4 cup Daiya shredded pepperjack cheese
I topped the finished Taco Pie with: guac, tomatoes, & green salsa. Add whatever strikes your fancy!
In a 9-inch springform pan, layer as follows: 2 tortillas, rice, refried beans, black beans, cheese, and the last two tortillas.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the pie is heated, the cheese is melty, and the tortillas are crispy.
Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before sliding it out of the springform pan and onto a flat surface for cutting.
Top with your favorite salsas, chiles, veggies, and guacamole, and enjoy!
Pie can be covered and refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
When I was in high school I worked as a waitress at a brew pub. It served delicious, fatty, animal filled foods, and I loved 'em (back then). They were famous for their spinach artichoke dip-by far the best thing on the menu in my opinion. It was gooey, cheesy, garlic-y and filled with hunks of artichoke and spinach. Served warm with tortilla chips? Just try and stop me.
I haven't found a great replacement since. Even before I went vegan, I had a really hard time finding a dip as thick and fresh and delicious as the pub's was. Today, I found a replacement.
We adapted the recipe from Oh She Glows
, and it is so, so good.
Thick chunks of artichoke and spinach fill the not-too-cheesy sauce and perfectly top tortilla or pita chips! Its the perfect dip for sharing...if it lasts that long!
1 piece whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 medium sized onion (about 2 cups), chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (we used Teese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine in a food processor 1 piece of whole wheat bread and 1 tsp vegan butter. Pulse until crumbs form. Set aside in a bowl.
In a food processor combine white beans, nutritional yeast, water, salt, basil, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, combine olive oil and onions; heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes. Once garlic and onions are cooked and smelling delicious, add chopped artichokes and spinach.
Stir and cook on medium heat until spinach wilts.
Shut off heat and add contents of food processor to skillet. Stir well.
Add 3/4 of the breadcrumbs and all the vegan mozzarella cheese to the mixture, stirring again.
At this point you'll have a thick, veggie filled, yellowish mixture that will smell cheesy and awesome. Try and resist! Its light years better after being cooked.
Spread the rest of the breacdrumbs on top of the mixture, then cover the cast iron pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until mixture is bubbly and melty and hot!
Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with tortilla or pita chips.
(More of a visual person? For more pictures of the process, read on!)
We took lots of picture of the process this time. Here are some visual directions:
Some of our ingredients...
Choppin' up all the veggies!
The cheeeeeeze sauce
Adding the artichoke hearts to the onions and garlic...
...and the spinach!
Giving everything a good stir and letting all the veggies cook down.
Adding in the vegan mozzarella and the cheeeezy white bean sauce!
Sprinkling with breadcrumbs!
The delicious, ooey-gooey finished product!
My Mommy is in town this week! Alex and I have been having way too much fun showing her all the awesomeness that is Southern California. Last night we spent two hours shopping Mother's Market and came home with way too many delicious groceries.
We were all craving pizza so we decided to veganize one of our old favorites, pesto pizza! The pesto pizzas we used to get had chicken (eww!) and real mozzarella cheese (blech!). To make this pizza, we used a vegan pesto, 'teese' brand mozzarella cheese, and fresh veggies on top of a home-made crust.
The pizza came out absolutely wonderfully. The crust was crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and super garlic-y!
1 sachet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl combine flour and salt.Once yeast and sugar mixture looks creamy, beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes then add dry ingredients and oil to yeast mixture.
Using a wooden spoon or whisk, stir all the ingredients together until just combined, about 2 minutes.
Then using either a bread hook attachment or your hands, knead and stretch dough until dough is elastic-y but softened, about 5-8 minutes.
Using your hands, stretch dough into the shape of the pan. Be careful doing this, pulling gently at the sides until the dough stretches out. Don't rush it, you don't want any massive holes for your toppings to fall through!
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, until crust edges JUST start to harden and golden.
Once the crust is made, top with (in this order):
Teese mozzarella 'cheese' (shredded with a cheese grater)
garlic (diced or pressed)
Spread toppings and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let pizza cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 8 slices and enjoy!
P.S. Sometimes we make it without cheese, cause we love the taste of just fresh veggies. Here's a photo:
with Tofu Ricotta
Last night, Alex and I treated the family to our homemade vegan lasagna-and it was a hit! We've only made the recipe a couple times, but each time it tastes even better than the last. We found the recipe here
. Vegan Lasagna:
1-12 oz. box of vegan lasagna noodles (we've had good luck with rice noodles)
12 oz. vegan hamburger crumbles
3 cups cooked vegetables (onions, peppers, zucchini, whatever you like)
40 ounces of spaghetti sauce (we used one with artichoke hearts in it and it was delicious)
6-8 ounces of vegan mozzarella cheese, shreddedTofu Ricotta Mix:
16 ounces of firm tofu (not silken), pressed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
6-8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we like to use Tofutti brand)
It's really pretty simple and the end product is delicious! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the noodles. While this is going on, saute your choice of vegetables until softened to you desired texture. Also, put your meatless crumbles into a pan and cook until browned. We like to do most of the cooking outside of the oven, and then put everything together to warm up and fuse in the oven. This cuts down on the cooking time and makes things much easier.
The vegan ricotta is super easy. Put the tofu into a food processor with all of the ingredients except for the cream cheese. Pulse a few times until the mixture is the consistency of ricotta cheese. You want it to be a bit lumpy and definitely not smooth. Once your desired texture is reached, put the cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds to soften it up, and then add it to the mixture. Pulse a few more times just to distribute everything evenly and then you're done!
Once all of the ingredients have been cooked/prepared, start layering in a baking dish. Start with noodles, then sauce, followed by ricotta mixture, fake meat, vegetables, a layer of raw spinach and then repeat. Top the dish with vegan mozzarella cheese and pop it in the oven. Let it cook for about 30 minutes or until it is hot all the way through and the cheese is beginning to brown.
Note: Some vegan cheese options are not the best when it comes to melting and browning, so don't be discouraged if it doesn't look like real cheese. We like to use "teese" which actually acts and tastes like real cheese and also melts and browns pretty easily as well.
This is a hardy meal that will have vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores telling you that they couldn't tell its not "real lasagna." Remember to keep it simple and improvise if you need to. If you don't have meatless crumbles, or just don't like to use fake meat, try to use black beans, or just leave that layer out all together. It will still be delicious and the recipe will evolve into your own specialty dish that you can share with friends and family for a long time!
Looking for more dishes in the Italian vein? Check out this Spaghetti Squash Pasta
recipe. Easiest, most delicious improvisation for noodles EVER.