When I was a child, my dad made a macaroni and cheese casserole that was my absolute favorite dish. Whenever my parents were having something for dinner that didn’t suit my eight-year-old picky-picky tastes, my dad would indulge me with macaroni and cheese. At the peak of my unadventurous eating, I was probably having it three or four times a week. (No wonder I turned into a plump vegan.)
I was walking past the vegan cheese section at Whole Foods the other day, and I had an idea. Could I recreate the thoroughly non-vegan dish from my childhood as a vegan macaroni and cheese casserole?
I was delighted with the results.
I couldn’t resist digging in before we got a photo.
Here’s the recipe. It requires about 25 minutes of preperation and about 35 minutes of baking time.
- 2 1/2 cups dry macaroni
- 8 oz. (1 package) of Daiya Vegan Cheese (I used the cheddar flavor, but I’m sure the mozzarella would be good also. I do strongly recommend the Daiya brand due to its meltiness.)
- 14 oz. vegan sausages (I used one package of Tofurky Kielbasa flavor sausages. This was perfect for me, but feel free to experiment.)
- 1 1/2 cup soy milk
- 2 Tbsp. Earth Balance margarine
- 2 Tbsp. flour (white or whole wheat should work)
1. Boil water for the macaroni. Cook them for about 9 minutes or until al dente.
2. While the macaroni is boiling—In a small sauce pan melt the margarine on medium heat. Add the flour. Stir continuously with a fork or wire whisk over medium heat until it starts to turn brown and/or you catch a little whiff that smells a bit burnt. Don’t worry, that’s ok! Immediately add the soy milk and continue to stir over medium heat until just before the soy milk begins to boil. Don’t let it boil. Turn the heat off just before it does. Set aside.
3. When the macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water until all the macaroni is cool to the touch.
4. Grease a 2 quart (or larger) casserole dish and pour in the macaroni.
5. Dice the vegan sausage into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the macaroni.
6. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the shredded Daiya Vegan Cheese. Add the rest to the macaroni.
7. Stir the soy milk sauce (it may have formed a little skin on top which is ok) and then add it to the macaroni.
8. Mix everything together in the casserole dish until roughly uniform.
At this point it’s ready to bake. You can store it (covered) in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours to bake later, or you can bake immediately.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bake casserole uncovered for 25 minutes.
3. Increase temperature to 450 degrees and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Daiya on top. The extra Daiya on top will form a crispy crust at the higher temperature.
4. Bake for 10 additional minutes at 450 (plus perhaps another few minutes while the oven heats up to 450).
5. Remove from oven, let cool for a minute or two, and dig in. Serves 6-8. Or just one hungry and nostalgic plump vegan.