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Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I love the sound of mac ‘n’ cheese. There’s nothing like the sweet sound of suctioning noodles as you mix them with the cheesy sauce. Of course, the taste is even better. It brings me back to my childhood when mac ‘n’ cheese gooey goodness was a way of life. The consistency of this sauce is enhanced by a roux, a mixture of fat and flour that is cooked over low heat until it is bubbling and the raw starchy taste has cooked out. Roux is used to thicken soups, stews and sauces. If you want to make this ahead of serving it, unbaked macaroni and cheese can be refrigerated up to two days in advance until ready to bake.

Ingredients

1 lb. elbow macaroni
¼ c. vegan margarine
1/3 c. all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
3 c. soy, almond or rice milk
½ c. nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. agave
2 Tbs. seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-x-13-inch pan. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, make a roux or paste by whisking the margarine and flour over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add nondairy milk, yeast, tomato paste, salt and garlic powder to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste and stir in lemon juice and agave. Toss noodles with the sauce and transfer to the prepared pan. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and crisp. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Yield

Serves 6