One of my biggest gripes with switching to a plant-based life was not being able to eat cheese. Saying I love cheese is an understatement- Whether it was fancy cheese, stringy cheese sticks, mozzarella sticks, or perhaps most importantly, mac and cheese, I was obsessed. But when I made the switch to plant-based I began to notice how much dairy, and particularly processed diary (*cough* cheese), had really been affecting my skin.
The first thing I saw was that my acne, something I have spent the last 10 years battling, began to clear up. I finally felt comfortable not wearing a full face of make-up out of the house. This is coming from someone who used to wear two separate full coverage foundations at a time plus concealer to cover up my embarrassing acne. Honestly, I really was at a point where I had given up and accepted the fact that I would have to live with blotchy red skin and acne forever.
I generally am not a huge fan of vegan cheese (so far tofutti cream cheese has been the exception, I could eat this all day every day). I often find that it tastes very fake and very processed, probably because it often is. But this “cheese” sauce blew my mind.
This recipe is
Creamy- the almond milk functions perfectly as a “cream”
Salty- bring on the nutritional yeast my friends
So close to the real thing- seriously, all of my non plant-based friends love this recipe
Optionally spicy- I seriously love some cheese with a kick to it. This plant-based mac and cheese is still amazing if you choose not to go that route.
It is so delicious, salty, creamy and as close to mac and cheese as I have experienced. I am so excited to bring to you all the variations of this sauce I have made and plan on making. It is such a basic, easy sauce to make and so easy to add your favorite ingredients to switch it up.
- head plus 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 lb of Black Bean Pasta (I love trader joe’s, but you can use any pasta that you prefer for this recipe)
- 4 Tbsp of olive oil (or vegan butter, or grapeseed oil)
- 4 Tbsp of arrowroot starch (or corn starch, but arrowroot is best for sticky cheesy-ness)
- 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, plus more if needed
- ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Pinch of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes if you like spicy flavors
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the top of the garlic head, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Wrap the garlic in tin foil and place on the top of the oven rack. bake for 45 minutes to an hour. This is done when you can smell the garlic warning, this might be the best your house has ever smelled.
- Cook the pasta according to box instructions. If using black bean pasta I suggest keeping a close eye on it. I like to check on the consistency after 5 minutes and every minute after that.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and minced fresh garlic. Stir for about 2 minutes or until lightly brown. Next whisk in cornstarch for about 1 minute.
- Slowly begin adding the almond milk and continue to whisk. Cook for two minutes and continue to whisk. The sauce will become clumpy but don't worry, we shall be blending it!
- Add the sauce to a blender along with the roasted garlic (push the cloves from the base directly into the blender, kind of like toothpaste?), nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper. Red pepper flakes and garlic powder.
- Now blend that delicious sauce until creamy. Once it looks blended, try a bit to see if it is seasoned to your liking. If not add some extra seasoning.
- Once you are happy with the taste, add the sauce back into the pan and add pasta. Stir until pasta is fully coated with “cheese”.
- I think this dish on its own is absolutely amazing but some more options include:
- Broiling: Heat oven to high broil and cook pasta for 5 minutes.
- Add some vegan parm cheese