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15 Minute Vegan Mac & Cheese


A simple trick that results in super creamy Vegan Mac in just 15 minutes!


I've made a lot of Vegan Mac n' Cheese in my day, and I even have a few recipes up on this here website. But the little trick I saw from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is a total game changer! All we are doing is starting our pasta off in just enough water to cover, bringing to a boil, and cooking al dente, and then adding in our vegan butter, milk and cheese and melting and that is literally it!


The beauty of this trick is the starchy pasta water gets reduced and used as an emulsifier and will make our sauce super smooth and creamy. I typically use Sodium Citrate, but this trick works just as well if not better! Also this is a 1 pot, 4 ingredient recipe (3 if you don't count the pasta).


We'll also be making a Cacio e Pepe version using Cashews (so I call it Cashew e Pepe!) if you don't want to use store-bought vegan cheese. I tried initially using THIS RECIPE by the New York Times, and it tasted good, but wasn't quite saucy enough for me, so I added more of the good stuff.


This goes without saying but season these to your taste! Not all vegan cheeses are the same so they'll add different flavors. Also your mileage may vary depending on the cheese you use, so add more plant milk to thin it out, or more cheese or even tapioca starch to thicken it.


This will make about 4 regular servings or 3 large servings. You can store it in the fridge for leftovers for a few days. You might need to add a little plant milk to loosen it up, but I only needed like 3 Tbsp worth!





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Classic American Style

Makes 4 Servings

  • 8 oz. Elbow Macaroni

  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter

  • 1 cup (unsweetened) plant-milk

  • 8 oz. vegan cheese shreds

Season to taste as you wish! I recommend Nutritional Yeast, Garlic or Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper, Hot Sauce, whatever you like!


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add dried pasta to a saucepan. Next cover the pasta in about 2 cups of water (use more or less as needed to just cover it). Throw in a good pinch of salt and then bring the water to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking.

  2. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and cook until al dente and most of the water has evaporated (about 6 minutes).

  3. Add in vegan butter and plant milk, stir until melted, and then add in the vegan cheese shreds and stir those until melted.

  4. Season to taste and serve immediately!


Cashew e Pepe Style

Makes 4 Servings

  • 8 oz. Elbow Macaroni

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 2 cups (unsweetened) plant-milk

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 Tbsp mushroom seasoning (or white miso paste)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/4 tsp lactic acid (or lemon juice to taste)

  • Lots of black pepper

  • Vegan parmesan for topping (optional)

As always, season to taste and add more of whatever you like!


Note: If you want this to go faster, bring the pasta to a boil while the cashews soak in the hot water.


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cover the cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes.

  2. Drain cashews and add them to a high speed blender with the plant milk and blend until smooth.

  3. Add dried pasta to a saucepan. Next cover the pasta in about 2 cups of water (use more or less as needed). Throw in a good pinch of salt and then bring the water to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking.

  4. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and cook until al dente and most of the water has evaporated.

  5. Add the cashew cream and all the other ingredients to the pasta and stir until combined.

  6. Season to taste, top with more black pepper and vegan parmesan if desired and serve immediately!

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