This recipe is inspired by my father, Sterling Chapman who made THE BEST baked macaroni and cheese and was always experimenting with each batch, taking the latest one to the NEXT LEVEL!
From adding bacon bits, tomatoes, yogurt, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, garlic, sausage, onions and loads of creativity. With his influence and creativity under my belt, I’m experimenting with the last recipe I perfected from him which was made from a base of greek yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise and egg with every single shredded cheese mixed in (provolone, sharp cheddar, meunster and occassional feta for tang). I’d mix in the noodles that were seasoned with paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and Lawry’s season salt and butter! Then I’d mix those noodles with the creamy cheese base and then layer it with MORE shredded cheese! Top with dusing of paprika and bake.
Buuuuuuuut now that my body is NOT with the dairy, I have to recreate the fantasticness of this dish with more body friendly ingredients. So with the Spirit of Sterling Chapman at the helm of this recipe, here goes . . . .
Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Individual Portion Size Close up
Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
Boil noodles al dente, drain and season.
Prepare seasoning for your pasta noodles. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Once oil is heated, add smoked paprika and the second it becomes fragrant, add your onions! Sautee them and make sure that every single dice is covered in the fragrant oil. This is the core of your seasoning! Once onions are softened, remove from heat and add to pasta.
In addition to onions, add all of the oil from the pan to the pasta. Mix in well. The pasta should have a slickness to it, so that the pasta doesn’t stick to one another and easily slides past one another. Once mixed in, taste. Get a feel for how flavorful it is. Once you know your palate’s desire, add garlic powder and nutritional yeast. Taste again. Now add salt to amplify the flavor and bring everything out. At this point your noodles should taste like God approved it on it’s own, with or WITHOUT the cheese sauce! Set noodles aside and
Prepare the cheese sauce.
Measure out 1 cup of cashews and soak in spring water for minimum of 4 hours or overnight
To a blender add soaked cashews, garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, turmeric, nutritional yeast, cashew cultured milk, plain cashew yogurt and Tree Line Scallion flavored cashew cheese, butternut squash and salt.
Once properly mixed and creamy, taste it.
Does it need the flavors to be lifted? Add salt. Does it need more pungency? Add more apple cider vinegar. Does it need a more cheesey flavor? Add more nutritional yeast or Tree Line scallion cashew cheese. Is it too thick? Add a bit more cashew cultured milk or cashew yogurt plain. Is it too light in color? Add more turmeric. Is it perfect as it is? Congratulations.
Now pour this creamy, cheesey, cashew goodness into your noodles, a bit at a time.
Don’t pour all of it at once. Perhaps start with half of the cheese mixture into your noodles and begin folding it into the noodles. The goal is to have your spiral noodles hug into the sauce. Meaning you want the sauce to coat every bit of the surface area so that you have maximum flavor in every bite! Once the noodles are coated fully, then add a little bit more cheese sauce so that it’s saucy. During the baking process, some of this sauce will “dry”, so before baking, make sure that your mixture is more on the “wet” side. Be generous with your sauce, so that the outcome is creamy.
Pour your sauced noodles into a well oiled baking dish or cast iron skillet (top with optional toppings) and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
You don’t need to bake long because you are not baking eggs or anything raw. You are simply heating so that all things marry and gel and fuse.