As a kid, I would always love and treasure the nights when my mom made my grandmother’s (we call her Nanny) Mac and Cheese. This mac and cheese was loved by all and has been made for three generations, my nanny learning it from my great mother, my mother and aunt from nanny, and myself from my mom. It’s one of our favorite family meals, we all mostly knew it by heart, add the flour, cooked noodles cheese, so on and so forth. The memorization came in handy of course when my now husband Emanuel had a taste for some mac and cheese. Though more importantly, this family meal made it one of the things I wanted to share with you all for my vegan Black History inspired meals, because this meal is uniquely apart of my families black history. I can't explain how many Thanksgivings, Christmas', and family meals it has shown up in. It is one of the meals that brought us all together as a family and continues to. We also see mac and cheese show up at so many other black events, much like but not limited to church events, family reunions, parties, the list goes on. Although since I have become a vegan I have learned to make dairy free alternatives of my favorites that I wanted to share with you.
Now this recipe has been a clear crowd pleaser. I have served this for Thanksgiving with meat eaters and they have enjoyed it which was great to hear, they knew it was vegan and didn’t really see the difference (always a great sign). Although the true test came when I served this for Christmas dinner with my family. My younger brother is a mac and cheese fanatic and when he missed out on mac and cheese for Thanksgiving I was a little hesitant to bring my version, but my mom insisted. Well he had one bite of it, (not knowing it was vegan) and he was sold. It was truly a gratifying moment, to know our original mac and cheese recipe truly has so many great memories behind it. So to try something new that our family has loved has made me wanted to share it along with you.
There are many ways to mix and match this meal, I have tried to up the veggie count by adding broccoli or peas into the mix. These will give your mac and cheese a new life. They are also a great way to add to the vegetables you need each day. This is a complete meal because it has protein from the cashews, starches from the potatoes, and of course all those yummy added veggies. Additionally you can get grains by using a whole grain pasta noodle. If you do desire, to add anything else with your meal we loved having cooked green beans with our mac and cheese or you can simply add a salad. I’ll show you my variation on the Mac and Broccoli, below. Enjoy!
Not My Nanny’s Mac And Vegan Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 Minutes
2 potatoes Peeled and halved
1 carrot large Peeled and halved
1 white onion Halved
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Nutritional Yeast
½ cup Raw Cashews
1 lb of Macaroni Noodles
1 cup reserve of Vegetable water
In a pot of boiling water, put cut potatoes, carrot and onions in to the pot and let those cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.
Once your vegetables are done, in a blender add cashews, potatoes, carrots, onions, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to your blender. Slowly add a little bit of your reserve vegetable water used to cook the carrots, potatoes and onions and blend this mixture. You want the texture to be creamy, so you may not use all the reserve water but the water helps blend the cashews and rest of the mixture. Once done with mixing set aside.
Cook your macaroni. My box directions tell me it will take about 9-11 minutes. Additionally, I like to use the pot of reserve water from the vegetables to cook the macaroni, because it gives it a nice full flavor.
Once cooked, drain the pasta, add your sauce to your macaroni and enjoy!
Any leftover sauce can be saved in a tupperware container for about a week in the fridge, I use mine for mix it up macaroni dinner nights all the time. Here is the variation of this mac and cheese recipe with steamed broccoli. I simply steamed frozen broccoli, cooked and drained macaroni and warmed the rest of the sauce on my stovetop.