As many of you know I have been a plant based/half vegan/pescatarian since July. LOL I know that description is a lot but let me explain. So, I have completely eliminated all meat and dairy from my diet with the exception of the occasional piece of fish. My reasoning for making this change was not the popular, “What the Health” documentary, although that pretty much solidified my choice. It all started on a sunny day in Jamaica on vacation with friends. I was OD’ing off of Jerk Chicken as usual in Jamaica. And then it came a time where I felt like I heard within my spirit, “enough is enough, stop eating chicken.” Now it may sound spooky to some but after that moment, I put the chicken down and was simply done with it. I had no more desire to eat chicken or turkey, and I had not eaten beef or pork in about 4-5 years. It was at that moment I began to make the transition to a plant based lifestyle. Dairy was not too hard to eliminate since I am lactose intolerant anyway. However, one of the foods I missed the most was my famous baked mac and cheese. I use three different types of cheeses, and everyone always request it over the holidays. In fact, I made a pan during Thanksgiving and backslid and had some! LOL Of course my body felt terrible afterwards, but hey, I had to taste test what I made for everyone else. Nonetheless, I had been working on perfecting a Vegan Mac that I could make when I missed that comfort food of my famous Mac and Cheese. After making this on Christmas Day, and watching my mom and husband go for seconds, thirds, and fourths LOL I decided this would be the first “vegan” #tylerdinner recipe that I share!
Disclaimer: These measurements are estimates. I freestyle a lot when I cook and just like my daddy taught me, you gotta cook and taste throughout to make sure its how you like it!
1.5 cups of plain unsalted cashews
1 box of macaroni (preferably gluten free for me, but you can use regular pasta)
Unsweetened almond milk
A Half of Yellow Onion
A Half of a Red or Yellow Pepper
1 clove of garlic
Soak cashews in cold water for a couple of hours. (For this time I soaked them for about 1 hour)
Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the box, strain, rinse off that extra starch and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 (because doesn’t everything cook at that temperature? LOL)
Afterwards place inside of your blender or food processor. (don’t blend just yet, you have other things to add) I currently use a Nutribullet and it works for me!
Dice up that onion and red or yellow pepper into really small pieces, and add that to the blender.
Take the garlic clove and put in a garlic press. If you aren’t that fancy sis, just buy some minced garlic and put about a half of teaspoon in there.
Add a teaspoon of sea salt and a teaspoon of black pepper to what is in the blender.
Add 1 cup of Nutritional Yeast Flakes.
Add 1 cup of the almond milk
Add a tablespoon of Liquid Smoke (I love this stuff. To me, it gives it that smoked gouda flavor…well almost! Remember this is not going to taste like cheese, but its pretty good stuff)
NOW blend until smooth and creamy. This is when you can get creative. If the vegan “cheese” sauce is too thick then add a little more almond milk, and blend again until the sauce is nice and smooth. If you did it correct, its going to look like a white cheddar sauce. Not too yellow, not too white, but just right! LOL
Get your casserole or baking dish and simply begin to add your macaroni and your sauce in the dish together. You probably won’t use the entire box of macaroni but make sure its a good amount to balance out your sauce. When you are done, sprinkle a little bit of smoked paprika and pepper on top.
It should look something like this!
Now you are ready to bake this vegan goodness for about 30 minutes. And Voila! You have an amazing nut based vegan mac that will have your family raving! That’s if they have good taste like mine. 🙂
If you decide to make it, please tag me in your posts IG: @mrslucytyler or Jennifer Lucy Tyler on Facebook and let me know what you think!
BTW, I paired this dish with my fried cauliflower (my fried chicken in my head) and kale, beet, avocado salad topped with shitake bacon. Can I just tell you that shitake bacon has changed my life too?! LOL I’ll share that recipe later. <3
Happy Cooking! <3
Jennifer Lucy Tyler