How to Get Healthy: Vegan Queso and Mac and Cheese

Okay so let’s just get one thing straight.

I’m not vegan.

Some days I wish I was.  When I eat mainly plants – as Michael Pollan suggests to live a longer,  healthier life – I feel like a million bucks.

But then Parmigiano Reggiano happens.

And double cream brie happens.

And lusciously velvety creme brulee happens.

I wish I didn’t love food so much.

But, even if I don’t make a complete transition to veganism (which I probably won’t because, you know…cheese), I’m not eating meat anymore.  I just can’t digest it.  So, I’ve been playing around with foods that “whet my palate”  – foods that excite my taste buds but don’t excite my tummy.

So what I thought I would start playing with was something that was creamy – to mimic the creaminess of whipping cream with the mild sweetness of the lactose – that makes things like soups “oh so decadently” creamy.

Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to the next creamy vegan superstar…the humble sweet potato…

When you make this simple sauce, the creaminess, colour and unusual umami flavour really makes you feel like you are eating cheese.  And thanks to the thickener (arrowroot powder), it almost gives you the feeling of a cheese pull without the pull…if you know what I mean.

A big dollop of this sauce onto hot pasta will have you thinking you have died and gone to KD heaven.

You can see in these pictures above and the pasta below, that the creaminess of the sweet potato really does look like nacho cheese.

But, the sauce I made the third time I tried (see the pictures below) was made with squash…exact same flavour but a bit less smooth.

No biggie if you ask me!

Either way, it’s a healthy alternative to an indulgent snack that is so versatile because it can be used in so many different ways.

Let me know what you think…I’m curious.  Any vegans out there willing to give me some advice??  I’m good with it…I have thick skin!!

5.0 from 1 reviews
How to Get Healthy: Vegan Queso and Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer/dinner
Cuisine: vegan/gluten free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups
 
If you thought that all you can eat on a vegan diet is lettuce, well think again! Once to whip up a batch of this, you'll be singing praises for all things vegan!
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 c mashed sweet potato*
  • 1 c nut milk (unflavoured)
  • ¼ c nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (can sub in cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pickled sliced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • *the easiest way to get good consistency is to roast 2 large sweet potatoes in the oven until fork tender and then peel off the skin; you can substitute pumpkin puree or squash for the potato without altering the final flavour, but the texture won't be as smooth
Instructions
  1. In a soup to, add oil and heat over medium heat
  2. Add onion and cook for a few minutes or until the onion begins to soften.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute over medium heat.
  4. Place the onion and garlic mixture into a high power blender (like a Vitamix) or a food processor and add rest of ingredients; blend on high until smooth
  5. Scrape all ingredients into pot and., over low heat, cook until thick and mixture begins to bubble (about 5 minute).
  6. Place in a serving container and serve with a crispy cracker or, if making mac and cheese, add amount of your choice to some cooked pasta and stir until combined to make a great bowl of mac and cheese.
  7. Store remainder in fridge for up to 5 days and reheat when needed.
 

2 Comments
  • Andria
    November 15, 2017

    I never would have guessed sweet potato! Was thinking cashews as I’ve seen with many vegan recipes. DEFINITELY giving this a try!!!

    • Suzie Durigon
      November 19, 2017

      Hey Andria!!
      Thanks so much for taking a peak! I actually did use cashews in my first attempt (and it was good…a lot of recipes for vegan bechamel start with raw cashews) but I wanted the orange colour that cheddar gives. I thought about carrots but then I thought sweet potatoes would be smoother…which they were!). The problem with using sweet potatoes is that you need to get that “umami” flavour back – basically to cut out the sweetness of the sweet potato – so that’s when I started playing with all the add-ins like mustard and nutritional yeast (in my first attempt, I added just a touch of tahini but it threw everything off!). I’m sure this may even evolve more as I make it again but we will see!!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Rate this recipe:  

Pin It