Recipe Roundup: Vegan Mac ‘n’ “Cheese”

Two recipes to share. Both vegan versions of mac ‘n’ cheese. Not being a vegan, I always find vegan mac and cheese knock-offs a little disappointing. But both of these are worth a try – they make for a satisfying meal, and, well, let’s just say they’re a lot better for you than actual mac ‘n’ cheese. Both require a food processor, so sorry to those of you without one.

The first, I haven’t made for awhile, so I’ll just mention it briefly: Extra Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese from  One Green Planet. The advantage of this one over the recipe below is that it’s a little easier and a little healthier. But both are worth a try.

The second, which I made for the first time last night:  Butternut Macaroni ‘n’ Tease from My New Roots.

Comments/additions/corrections re the recipe:

  • This recipe can easily be made ahead of time and warmed up for dinner. That’s what I did, anyways – all the prep work in the morning, and I had someone else warm it up for 20 minutes at 350 degrees just before dinner. Worked great.
  • When it comes to roasting the squash, skip the work of peeling and cubing squash. Just slice the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, shake on some salt and grind some pepper, smush in some garlic from the press, and drizzle on some oil. Put on a baking sheet (“flesh” side down) and bake at 400 degrees for … um, awhile? 45 minutes – 1 hour? until it’s soft, in other words – try poking it with a fork to tell. You can’t really overcook it, as far as I’m concerned. You can burn it though, so check it once in awhile. If things are getting crispy, throw 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water on the pan with the squash. Then, when you’re ready for the food processor, scoop out the squash with a spoon.
  • I cooked some navy beans the night before and substituted those for the butter beans. For help cooking your own beans [easy! and so cheap!], see these instructions.
  • I found that my food processor had some difficulty with the squash and beans, so I added a little milk to help things along. You may find that you need to do the same.
  • Re the sunflower seeds: I used roasted and salted seeds, which saved me the work of toasting/roasting the seeds. However, if you use roasted & salted sunflower seeds, reduce the salt in the topping. Try 1/4 tspn sea salt instead.
  • I made this for non-vegans, and since we didn’t have coconut oil around, I just used plain old butter for the crumble topping. Worked really well.
  • I noticed in the comments that most people had extra “squash sauce.” I decided to compensate by making extra pasta. I used about 5 cups of whole wheat pasta, and this seemed to fit well with the amount of sauce I had. However, we had TONS of casserole. Five of us ate only half of it. Yummy leftovers, though!
  • As Sarah @ My New Roots notes, it’s easy to make this gluten free — just use gluten free pasta.
  • I decided to add some green to this dish: I finely chopped and then sauteed some kale and stirred that in. You might decide to do this too, if you’re looking for some extra veggies, but it’s not a deal-breaker by any means.
  • The recipe calls for 2-3 cups of milk. I only used 1.5-2 cups of milk. Just a heads up.

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