I know it’s supposed to be June, officially summertime and therefore the season of salads but even now it can just be damn cold in the UK, particularly in the evening. So what do you need when it’s a bit on the chilly side? Well some comfort food of course!
At times like this I turn to my recipe for vegan mac and cheese. Now, when I promised in my Ultimate Vegan Nacho Cheese post that you would have this recipe soon, it couldn’t just be a case of cook some pasta and stir in the cheese sauce (although that would be tasty AF). No, no, it needed amping up a bit with a few extra ingredients.
Those extra ingredients in this case are some lovely sweet peas to counterbalance the savoury saltiness of the cheese sauce, a handful of spinach because who doesn’t love this tasty green with anything cheesy? Finally I threw on some chunky and crunchy croutons to add some great texture to the dish when it’s baked in the oven.
Hungry yet? I know I am, so let’s do this.
Mac and cheese ingredients (serves 4-6):
- 1 recipe of Ultimate Vegan Nacho Cheese (I’ll often make double the recipe and use half for nachos and half for mac and cheese)
- 350-400g macaroni or other pasta shapes
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 big handful of baby spinach
- 1 small baguette, torn or chopped into small croutons
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
How to make it:
Preheat your oven to around 200°C and get a pan of water boiling to cook the pasta. Salt the water very well; there’s an old Italian saying that the water you cook your pasta in should be as salty as the sea. I don’t go quite that far, but I do like my pasta well seasoned.
Cook the pasta according to pack instructions and add in your frozen peas for the last 3-4 minutes. Whilst the pasta is cooking, melt the vegan butter, coat the baguette pieces in the melted butter and set aside.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving around a cup of cooking water (bear with me on this, it makes the finished sauce silky smooth and coat the pasta really well). Add the pasta back to the pan, with the heat off of course, throw in the baby spinach and pour over the cheese sauce, adding a splash of the pasta cooking water as needed, to make sure all the pasta is well coated.
Pour into a large baking dish, place on the croutons and put the dish in the oven. In my oven it takes about 10-15 minutes for the top of my mac and cheese and the croutons to get nice and golden brown; as soon as yours reaches that stage and the whole dish is piping hot, it’s ready to serve.
Depending on how fancy I’m feeling, I might serve my mac and cheese with a nice dressed salad, but often we just like it as is!
SHARON | THAT STARGAZY VEGAN