Today’s big adventure was my first attempt at vegan mac and cheese. But before I get to that, let me tell you about class this morning. Class did not suck (as you read, you will see this is a theme). It was still not fantastic, but it did not suck. It was just medicore. But medicore makes me think things are on the up and up! Maybe I am coming up out of this slump.
This afternoon I took a hard core 90-minute nap. I’m blaming my vegan diet on this and the possibility that I am detoxing. I’m not upset about it. I just let myself have a happy little sleep. It was very nice.
So -this vegan mac and cheese thing, let me tell you about it. First, I love mac and cheese that has, you know, actual cheese in it. I really wanted to start figuring out if I could pull off a vegan version. There are a lot of recipes out there, but I had two requirements coming out of the gate: (a) nothing overly complicated and (b) nothing with a lot of soy. That took some searching, but Mark eventually found the recipe.
Getting the ingredients, which are not that unusual, turned out to be an adventure in and of itself. First, I needed macaroni. That’s easy enough, right? Well gees, at Whole Foods I managed to find one box of macaroni hidden away on a shelf. I honestly thought they didn’t have any. And then, the macaroni was a gluten/wheat free brown rice pasta. I was a bit iffy on it. I mean, I’m already pushing myself enough as it is. But I am also too lazy to go on a hunt for macaroni elsewhere. So I bought the rice pasta.
The rice pasta turned out to be an excellent purchase. The brand is Tinkyada. Tinkyada makes many bold claims includng that they deliver “rice smiles” and fill a void. Turns out, they really do all that and more! This pasta is perfect in every way and likely better than the last pasta you ate. You can get it at Whole Foods or through Amazon. I very well may just eat this brand from here on out.Once I realized I had nothing to worry about with the pasta, my concern then turned to my cheeze sauce. This was my first time making a vegan cheeze sauce. You can see from the recipe linked about that the ingredients are not that difficult.
There were two things on the list that were new to me: miso paste and plant-based milk. I went with almond milk, and I bought sweetened almond milk. I have no idea if that mattered or not in terms of taste (I don’t think it did). All I know is when I hit the alternative milk aisle I was faced with SO! MANY! CHOICES! It was a bit overwhelming, but I made a decision and moved on.
I knew Whole Foods had miso paste (I had seen it once), but it took about five people to locate it. Turns out, it lives with the butter. You can buy nutritional yeast in the bulk section at Whole Foods. This is nice because you can give it a whirl and see what you think without spending a lot of money. My take on nutritional yeast – whatever. It’s not horrible, but I am not yet in love with it.
So I got all my cheeze sauce ingredients assembled:
I tossed them in a pot, whisked them around, and let it heat up. It sorta looked like a cheeze sauce:
I tasted the sauce before I put it on the macaroni. I proclaimed, “It doesn’t suck.” This didn’t help make Mark super excited about dinner or even ramp up his curiousity. Who could blame him?
Eventually it all came together. The verdict on this? Well, it didn’t suck. We agreed that the pasta itself was fantastic, but the sauce didn’t taste very cheezy. It was just like sauce on macaroni. Kinda uneventful. However, Tinkyada was full of amazing awesomeness. I did experience some rice smiles.
Mark thinks we will have better luck with a baked version, but I am committed to making a good vegan stove top version. Any suggestions? I am open to more complicated versions now having pulled this one off ok. At the end of the day, Mark took the pasta that did not have sauce on it and froze it. We are going to toss some homemade pasta sauce on it Friday night and bake it. Should be good!