The first time I tasted Daiya vegan cheese, I thought its rich and creamy flavor would be perfect for making mac and cheese. I had half a package in my freezer left over from making enchiladas, so I gave it a try. I used the classic recipe from my old chocolate and gravy-stained Fannie Farmer Cookbook as a guide, a recipe that I’ve taken to family dinners and potlucks many times. The recipe starts with a white sauce in which you melt a rich cheese. The dish is then topped with bread crumbs and baked. It’s the ultimate comfort food.
The macaroni and cheese was delicious, but I served it with a nut loaf. This was my first nut loaf and I didn’t realize how filling they were. As a result, we ended up eating just a couple of bites of the mac and cheese each. We were looking forward to some leftovers, but then Tyler came home from work and ate the entire dish. No leftovers for you, parents!I’m sending this to Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this month by the creator of the event herself, Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.
Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
7 ounce package elbow macaroni
1 slice bread (about 1 ounce)
3 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne (optional)
1/2 a package (4 ounces) Daiya vegan cheese, any flavor
Salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain, rinse (to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself) and set aside. Grind up bread in the blender to make crumbs and set aside. Oil a 2-quart casserole dish.
Melt margarine in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute. Take pan off heat, add milk, and whisk into the margarine and flour until there are no lumps. Put pan back on the heat and turn up to medium or medium high. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Add paprika, cayenne and Daiya cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce and transfer to the casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, until hot in the center, about 15 minutes. (You can make this earlier in the day and refrigerate until ready to cook. Straight from the refrigerator, this will take about 45 minutes.)
Serves 4 as a side or 1 hungry teenager.