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
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.