I have a weird and rather disappointing history with mac & cheese. When I was young (oh the sting in those words), my mom used to make an enormous pan of the stuff on Sundays and it would be eaten for Sunday dinner, Monday dinner and multiple leftover lunches during the week. Eaten by the whole family…except me.
You see, I was an extremely fussy child, much like my present day extremely fussy adult (who is working so hard to overcome her weaknesses that she now even eats avo, booyah! You can teach this old dog a new trick or two). The mac and cheese my Mom made had a thick crust of crunchy yellow cheddar poured over the top. It is what I know now to be the holy grail of cheesy pasta – that crusty, smoky blanket of melted mouth orgasm that levels all of mankind to one big salivating herd of equality.
Except 7 year old me. 7 year old me decided she did not like melted cheese. 7 year old me turned up her 7 year old nose and declared the cheese to be congealed and gross – the ultimate 7 year old insult.
7 year old me turned into 15 year old me, who turned into 25 year old me, and together these me’s continued to eschew mac & cheese as a dish beneath their collective contemporary tastes. Until one day in my late 20s, a very good friend told me I was the most ridiculous me she had ever come across, made a massive pan of my greatest enemy and forced me to try it. Angels sang. Fairies were born. And a 28-years-too-late obsession with all things cheesy pasta began. Thanks, Rosey.
So now that I’m vegan, the idea of never again guzzling the gift that is creamy, cheesy pasta was almost a deal breaker. Until I figured out that vegan cheese sauce can be just as creamy, cheesy and sexily smoky as the real thing. Plus I can cuddle cows without haunted dreams.
Here’s my recipe for the ultimate vegan cheese sauce. In the pic I have liberally splashed it over a bowl of taglietelle topped with mushrooms cooked in soya sauce, balsamic vinegar, white wine and lime juice, but you can just add it straight up to any pasta for the same joy.
Ultimate vegan cheese sauce (nut free)
- 1 head sml cauli or 1/2 large one
- 5 baby carrots / 1 peeled large carrot
- 2 cups almond milk
- 250ml veg stock
- Dried herbs of choice
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp mock vegan parmesan / grated vegan cheese (can omit, but don’t!)
- 2 tsp onion powder
I chucked everything into a pressure cooker and blasted it for half an hour, but you could also boil it all up in a pot and simmer for half an hour or until the sauce is thick and full of flavour.