I think I finally did it! I made the perfect vegan mac & cheese that even your omnivorous, cheese loving friends and family will become obsessed with. In fact, I wouldn't even tell them this is vegan. Plus, you can easily make it gluten free by using brown rice pasta and gluten free bread crumbs.
ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):
3 C uncooked macaroni noodles
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 C raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours min. or overnight)
1 1/2 C almond milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 C sunflower oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp miso paste
1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 tsp arrowroot flour (can sub tapioca flour)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 pkg vegan cheddar shreds (optional)
1/4 C bread crumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp vegan parmesan (optional)
In a large pot, bring pasta water to a boil with 1/4 tsp of sea salt and cook the pasta to al dente. Meanwhile make your sauce.
Place all the sauce ingredients in a vitamix or high powered blender and blend until smooth.
Don't cook your pasta all the way. It should be cooked just before al dente - still firm as it will still cook in the oven. Drain the water and pour the pasta into a 9 x 9 baking dish. Then add the sauce and vegan cheddar shreds (if using) and stir to coat all the noodles. It will seem a bit liquidy but the arrowroot flour will thicken everything in the oven.
tip: you could stir in chopped kale, broccoli florets, sundried tomatoes, or vegan ground beef to the mac & cheese as well. It's delicious.
Cover your dish with tin foil and bake for 20 mins at 325 F.
Mix the bread crumbs with the dried herbs and parmesan in a bowl and set aside.
When the mac & cheese has baked for 20 mins then remove it from the oven. Uncover it and add the bread crumb mixture evenly on top and bake uncovered for another 10 mins until the inside is bubbling and the top is brown.
Bake time may vary based on your oven. We used to do this in an old oven that got very hot, so we had to reduce the bake time and add the bread crumbs immediately upon the first bake to prevent over baking. So watch that it doesn't get too crispy around the edges before you've added the topping.