This recipe is dedicated to my friend, Olivia, for a number of reasons. Firstly, she recently switched from vegetarian to vegan. A while back, she wanted to make this switch and asked me about cheese substitutes. I didn't really have an answer for her other than the obvious ones like Daiya, because most of the time, I just go without. Cheese was never a big deal for me. Secondly, Olivia told me I need to post more because she needs recipes now that she is officially vegan. (Do we have a membership pin I can give her?) So, here is a creamy, cheesy, delicious baked mac and 'yease' recipe for Olivia (and all of you.)
I know I just said cheese was never a big deal for me, but there was a short period of time prior to going vegan that I was making a lot of baked mac and cheese. Some had butternut squash, sweet potatoes and chipotle, some with a kick from goat cheese.. so, I got pretty good at making a béchamel. This sauce starts out like any cheese sauce, with a roux. To the roux, we'll add milk, nutritional yeast ('yease') where you would normally melt in cheese, and some seasonings. I then blend in a potato to help thicken it up. That's where this sauce becomes one of those 'weird vegan foods.' Ah, this cheese? Yes, it's made with potato.
You can actually completely skip the baking part of this recipe and simple toss the cheese in the sauce and eat it as is, regular old mac and cheese. I may have done that myself with a spoonful or three before baking the rest.. What? Quality control. For me, it's the bread crumb topping and scooping out a solid chunk of macaroni that really brings this dish home. It reminds me of my mom's baked mac and cheese, which was one of my absolute favorite things she cooked. Mostly, though, I just want to eat bread crumbs. What's a carb casserole without bread crumbs?
Baked Mac & Yease
Well, it has been a solid two months since you've heard from me. The holidays are a crazy time for bakers. More orders means longer days, combine that with having a second job and working a full seven days a week and you won't have much time to eat, let alone good a website-worthy meal at home. Now, it's finally January. The holiday craziness is over, it actually feels like winter outside, and I bring you some tummy-warming recipes.
Have you ever attempted to look up vegan chili recipes and just find that they are just packed with too many ingredients? In my mind, chili should be simple. Something you should be able to cook in a big batch and keep in the fridge, heating up small portions to quickly warm you from the cold of winter throughout the week. When a chili recipe calls for four different kinds of beans and way too many veggies, it kind of loses all of it's chili qualities for me. What are these qualities, you ask? Pretty standard.. Chili should have a lot of kidney beans, a thick red base of diced tomatoes and their juices, pepper and onion (and maybe some corn), a nice kick of heat, and a whole lot of flavor.
Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of delicious variations of chili. However, if you're going for a standard vegan chili, you should keep it.. pretty standard. Which is exactly what I have here for you! This chili has been made so many times over the past few years, but hasn't been physically written down as a recipe until this past week. When I used to live with my ex, I made chili all the time. It was his favorite meal. His only complaint was that it always tasted different. So, I made a giant batch of this chili and actually measured everything I put in it, tasting it, and recording all of my changes meticulously. I ended up making way too much, though, and packed some up for a couple friends and my roommates. All of which have thoroughly enjoyed it. Well, Bren, I finally figured it out!
Damn Good Vegan Chili (GF)
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.