***** GIVEAWAY CLOSED *****
You guys…check this out! It’s an entire book of vegan mac and cheese recipes! I am excited that my blog is today’s stop on the blog tour for Robin Robertson’s new cookbook Vegan Mac & Cheese. You are going to want to read on…I’ve got all the details, two recipes to share and a giveaway!
To me, mac and cheese is the holy grail of vegan cooking and it has been worked on and perfected by writers, bloggers, home cooks and restaurant chefs since Jo Stepaniak released The Uncheese Cookbook in 1994. I bought that book 8 years ago as I started my vegan cooking project and it led to a lot of experimentation in my kitchen. I have my own recipe in my upcoming cookbook, Wait, That’s Vegan?! for a Lobster Mushroom Mac ‘n’ Cheese that’s made with an amazingly cheesy sauce and a couple of secret ingredients. You’ll have to buy my book to find out more. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back to Robin’s book.
Robin is a restaurant chef, cooking teacher, and amazing cookbook writer. I featured her last book on my site, Veganize It!, which if you don’t have already, you need to check out. In this new book, Robin has created more than 50 recipes for all kinds of variations on the mac and cheese theme that are easy, familiar and homey.
The introduction alone is worth the price of admission. In it, Robin gives us a history lesson on the origins of mac and cheese. Yes, it is true that President Jefferson served it at a state dinner at the White House! The rest of the book is broken up into 5 chapters – Basic Vegan Mac & Cheese, Global Cheesy Macs, Mac and Veggies, Meaty Macs, and Fun with Mac & Cheese. There are recipes for basic cheesy sauces, pantry style dry mix mac, macs that take inspiration from cuisines around the world like Italian Macaroni Pie and Pastitsio, veggie centric macs that include buffalo cauliflower, Brussels and bacon (2 homemade options), chili mac, and mac and stroganoff. In the last chapter, there are fun recipes like mac in a mug, mac balls, and mac muffins, which I will be making as soon as I finish typing this!
I picked two amazing recipes to feature here. Check them out and then enter the giveaway below to get your own copy!
Mom’s Baked Mac & Cheese (Makes 4 to 6 servings)
My mother used to make a delicious baked macaroni and cheese topped with (accidentally vegan) Ritz cracker crumbs and paprika. The sauce began with a roux to make a rich béchamel and was baked to perfection. Note: The texture of this baked casserole is meant to be firm, not saucy. The optional shredded vegan cheese makes the sauce richer, but it’s delicious without it.
16 ounces (454 g) elbow macaroni
Olive oil or vegan butter, for preparing the baking dish
4 tablespoons (56 g) vegan butter
1/4 cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
5 cups (1.2 L) plain unsweetened nondairy milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup (112 g) shredded vegan cheese (optional)
1 cup (72 g) finely crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon (15 ml) melted vegan butter
To make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup (240 ml) of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9 × 13-inch (23 × 33 cm) baking dish with olive oil or vegan butter. Set aside.
To make the sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Add the salt. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 5 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, onion powder, and pepper and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until thick. Reduce the heat to low. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add as much of the 1 cup (240 ml) of reserved cooking water, as desired.
Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, paprika, and melted butter to combine.
To finish: Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish, top with the cracker crumb mixture, and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top.
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup (70 g) unsalted raw cashews
1/3 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon (17 g) white miso paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper
Pasta and Vegetables:
16 ounces (454 g) tricolor rotini, or other small pasta
2 cups (142 g) small broccoli florets
3 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 cups (60 g) chopped fresh spinach, arugula, or watercress
1 cup (149 g) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 cup (36 g) roasted hulled sunflower seeds, optional garnish
Handful small basil leaves, optional garnish
To make the sauce: In a saucepan, combine the potato, carrot, garlic, and cashews with enough water to cover. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 2 cups (480 ml) of the cooking water. Drain and transfer the cooked vegetables and cashews to a high-speed blender, along with the reserved cooking water. Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, paprika, miso, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Set aside.
To make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli to the pot. Drain the pasta and broccoli and return them to the pot. Place the pot over low heat and add the scallions, spinach, and cherry tomatoes and toss to combine.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine and heat through. Transfer to a large serving dish and serve hot, garnished with sunflower seeds and basil leaves, if using.
Recipes reprinted with permission from Vegan Mac & Cheese by Robin Robertson © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.