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Winter is trying very hard to become a reality here in Colorado. A few warm days muscle it out of the way but then the temperature drops and I haul the flannel pants and fuzzy socks out of the drawer and wrap up. I am consuming a great deal of tea-maudling my insides to quote Georgette Heyer-and am looking for meals that warm and comfort me. In my opinion, there are few foods more comforting than Mac’n’Cheese and I’ve worked over the years to make a perfect, veganized version. I think I’m getting close.

I enjoy spicy food and, as I’m the only one eating my veggie mac, I can make it as spicy as I choose. I get help from Daiya’s Jalapeño Garlic Havarti and a shaker of red pepper flakes. I don’t measure anything; I just toss it in the pot and eat the result. Fortunately, the result is usually wonderful.

For this recipe, I started with arrowroot and unsweetened almond milk. I put close to 2 TBSP of arrowroot in the pan and added some milk. I did not add enough milk and ended up with lumps which fortunately disappeared as I added more almond milk and vigorously applied a whisk. I then added some spicy mustard and the grated Havarti I mentioned before along with a few slices of Daiya cheddar. I have three secret ingredients I use in my veggie mac which I am going to share with you. One: white pepper. This adds a smoky pepper flavor to the cheese sauce that is impossible to get with black pepper. Two: cumin. This adds a different layer of smoky flavor and a little bit of spice as well. Three: white miso. I first added this to my veggie mac by accident because I had no Tofutti sour cream. I now use it all the time. I think it makes my cheese sauce creamy and, with the miso, I add less salt.

While the cheese melts, I cook my pasta. For this veggie mac, I used DeBoles gluten free multi grain penne made with brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth. It wasn’t bad but I didn’t cook it long enough and it was a little too al dente. Once the pasta is done I drain it, return it to the pan, and pour the cheese sauce on top. Give that a stir, pour it into a bowl, and I’ve got a tasty lunch it took me fifteen minutes to make.

I’ll sometimes fry up a few slices of veggie bacon but I didn’t have any for this recipe. I didn’t miss it. This veggie mac was hot enough to make my tongue tingle, filling, and the perfect creamy comfort food on a cold day. Yum.

Now that I’m thinking about it…it’s almost lunch time and I still have some Daiya Havarti in the refrigerator. Happy eating!

This  tastes better than it looks.  I'm trying to get a place in my house set up with better lighting.

Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Yummy!