Southern-Inspired

I wanted something a bit comforting and filling for a nice Sunday meal after a day of chores.  Few things are more comfort-foody to me than a big Southern-inspired plate with some mac and cheese casserole, garlicky greens, rolls and watermelon.  Now, I really liked mac and cheese before I went vegan, but I love it now.  Honestly, the vegan versions are so much better than the dairy-based ones, in my opinion.  My favourite of all the ones I’ve tried is the recipe below.  The kale was given the usual treatment – deveined (removing the thick central stem) and cut into smallish pieces.  A few cloves (3-4) of garlic thinly sliced and sautéed in a bit of oil, then add the greens and sautée until cooked down and bright green.  Add salt to taste.

Mac and Cheese 
from Veg News

4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika

  1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.
Note:  I almost never add the shallots, and it doesn’t make a difference.  Use them if you have them, but otherwise just leave it out.
– Crystal