Tonight’s dinner from Erin’s kitchen was good old mac n’ cheese. Well, far from your usual mac n’ cheese, considering it’s dairy free, but for my stomach, that really doesn’t handle dairy very well anymore, that’s a good thing.
Don’t come to this dish expecting your childhood mac n’ cheese though. The flavors and textures are vastly different from your pre-vegan experience with it.
Erin has yet to find us a vegan mac n’ cheese that nails my dairy indulgent memories of this classic dish. The Kraft boxed mac n’ cheese was a staple in my life through young adulthood, sometimes twice a week or more during high school and college. Delicious, easy to make, and cheap. The hat trick for a young male.
Erin found this one at the Game Changers movie website, which is a great resource for pretty much everything plant-based. But she did her obligatory upgrade to the recipe by adding our family favorite Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage. This stuff is so damn good. One of the only processed meats my body tolerates. If I have to be limited to just one, I’m not at all sorry it’s these sausages. So. Damn. Good. Erin puts it in many of her dishes to bring in a savory factor, and they just go straight to the moon every time.
On the side was sauteed broccoli, spiced with salt, pepper, onion salt and garlic salt, cooked al dente in a cast iron skillet.
Unfortunately, the mac recipe was a swing and a miss when compared to all the plant based macs that I’ve had in my 5 years as a vegan on this planet. The texture was fairly creamy, but the flavors were just off in the opinion of everyone at the table. Only Erin’s 76 year old mom finished what she put on her plate. The rest of us passed after a few bites.
If you do make it, I recommend eating it asap. I received a small bowl as a taste tester right at completion (one of the big perks of being married to a vegan chef), and it was appreciably better than it was just 10 minutes later. Not at all an uncommon experience with non-dairy mac though, so hard to hold that against the recipe.
The upside was a relatively low processed food factor, by mac n’ cheese standards anyway. Way lower than the boxed versions, for sure. Keeping the “processed factor” to a minimum is always a goal of my increasingly nit-picky intestinal tract. The more whole, the better.
The best news though is that Erin declared she’s going to come up with her own non-dairy mac n’ cheese, likely based on Field Roast’s Chao Cheese. We’re big fans of their non-dairy cheese slices. They also make our 14 year old’s favorite boxed mac, Creamy Mac ‘N Chao, which is my recommended source for mac until Erin’s is perfected.
Stay tuned! I predict a crowd pleaser!