Call me crazy, but who else used to cut up hot-dogs into little pieces to add to their mac and cheese when they were little?! I used to LOVE doing this as a kid!
Whenever me and my sister were left to our own devices, we would whip up all kinds of weird things in the kitchen! Grilled cheese with bacon and ketchup, Italian “S-Cookies” dipped in Nutella… you know, the healthier kinds of foods that kids need 😉
As an adult, hot-dogs seemed to lose their appeal to me. And the more I learned about the ingredients that went into them… the more I was like no thank you. But mac and cheese?! How could I ever give up mac and cheese?!
As a self-proclaimed comfort-food aficionado – I was never going to give up my beloved mac and cheese!
Growing up Italian, eating the “Americanized” mac and cheese was practically a sin! My nonna would actually make her own with freshly shaved Parmesan and/or some of the other cheeses hanging from the ceiling in our cantina! (Don’t judge me please!)
Pasta was pretty much a staple growing up in my house. I think it would be safe to say that we ate it 3-4 times a week, if not more! One of the brands that my mom, and my mom’s mom would use was Italpasta. With so many different Italian dishes calling for at least one type of pasta, I really did grow up with this brand.
Looking back now, I really do see how the other kids at school used to think my lunches were a little… “out there”, except when I brought mac n’ cheese! Because as a kid, how could you not love mac n’ cheese?!
PS – Be sure to follow my instagram account and stay tuned on how you can win a pasta care package of your own from Italpasta!
As I grew older though, I was curious to try new recipes, particularly vegan ones that called for no hot-dogs and no cheese.
With the holidays on the horizon, I’ve actually been searching for a good vegan mac and cheese recipe for a while now. I found a couple good ones from:
I was excited to try them! So this vegan mac and cheese recipe is actually a combination of both Angela’s & Jeanine’s.
Oh, and it goes out to all of my fellow vegan(ish) friends who are just as in need of comfort food around the holidays as anyone! Try it out at home and let me know what you think of it!
- 2 packages of macaroni (just the noodles) from Italpasta’s Macaroni and Cheese product line
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- ¼ cup of chickpea flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- The juice of one small lemon, plus more to taste
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 ½ tablespoons Maille’s classic dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/3 cup of leftover pasta water
- Salt & pepper
Lightly butter your casserole or individual dishes while your oven preheats at 375F.
In a saucepan on your stove-top, heat your vegan butter over medium heat, and lightly sauté your garlic, onion for a few minutes before adding in your flour and a dash of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally.
After 3-4 minutes on the stove top, add your freshly squeezed lemon juice and continue to stir.
Now add your nutritional yeast, paprika, turmeric, Dijon mustard, tomato paste and almond milk. I personally like my food spicy, so if you’re like me, feel free to add some chili flakes or pepper to taste!
You really want to make sure that your ingredients mix nicely together in this almost cheesy reduction, so be sure to let it sit for 12-15 minutes and stir often. While your cheesy mix is simmering on the stove-top, you can begin to boil your water for the pasta.
Add a dash of salt to your water just before it boils, and cook your pasta to your liking. Once cooked, you can mix your pasta noodles with your cheese and continue to stir on your stove-top at low heat for just a few minutes. Now add in your 1/3 cup of leftover pasta water, and stir it in nicely with your pasta.
Once all your ingredients are mixed well together, you can add them to your casserole dish or individual dishes, and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Note: For those who like a crust to top their mac and cheese, feel free to add a light layer of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs before placing it in the oven to bake!