Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegan Mac and Cheese with pan roasted Brussels sprouts

In late 2006, I was diagnosed with two food allergies: dairy and egg whites.  For about three years, I ate exactly what I was supposed to - no cheating at all.  But really, eating dairy and egg free can be a challenge for two reasons.  One is that living in rural areas, it can be hard to find ingredients to cook without dairy and eggs.  The other is that as a priest, I am often not in charge of my own food.  Potlucks, visits to people in their homes, and other church events, often leave me eating what others have cooked.  It just feels ungrateful to turn things down, or to start asking probing questions about what's in everything.

So, in 2010, I started taking medication that would allow me to eat whatever I want.  Frankly, the results have been mixed, and I was recently forced to admit that I don't feel as well as I did when I was not eating what my body did not want me to be eating.  So, I am back to eating more like a vegan.

My first experiment with vegan "Mac and Cheese" was really grim.  It was gloppy and tasted horrible.  This new recipe is truly amazing.  It has much of the consistency of Mac and Cheese, but doesn't leave you with a greasy feeling in your mouth like regular Mac and Cheese.  I did some adapting of the original recipe, based on what I had on hand - and we loved it.

Macaroni and "Cheese" [adapted from V Cuisine by Angeline Linardis, Whitecap Books, 2010].
3 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 T flour
1/4 c cooked carrot (I used a whole carrot, which was probably closer to a cup)
2 heaping T nutritional yeast
1 T chopped parsley (didn't have any, so I used about a T of dried tarragon, since I love it)
about 1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
1/2 t tumeric
1 t paprika (plus some for the top)
2 c cooked pasta (I had closer to 4 c on hand, so just used that, and the dish had a thinner sauce)

1. Cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil until softened.  Use the flour to make a roux, and then stir in the soy milk, stirring as you go.
2. Combine the onion-garlic-soy mixture with all of the other ingredients in a blender until smooth.  You may have to add more soy milk (I'm guessing I did because I used more carrot than the recipe called for).  Stop blending when you like the consistency that you get.
3. Mix the sauce with the cooked pasta.
4. Put it into large pie plate (I have a deep dish one) or 9x9 baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and paprika.
5. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  The sauce should be bubbling and the topping golden brown.

We ate this with a side of pan roasted Brussels sprouts.  This recipe's a keeper!

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