Chili Mac’n’Cheese

If you’re new to vegan comfort food, you probably have a burning question about the title of this blog post: How can mac’n’cheese be vegan?! What is this blasphemy? I refuse to acknowledge the possibility. (Can you tell I’ve gotten reactions like this before? hehe)

Calm down, take a breath and stay with me, my friend.  The possibilities are endless and wonderful. This Pinterest board lists tons of ways to make vegan mac’n’cheese, including pumpkin, cashews, tofu and even cauliflower. It’s an adventure!

chilimac

During the recent ice storm, my sister and I cleaned out the fridge and came up with this recipe for vegan chili mac and cheese. The addition of quinoa was inspired by this vegetarian quinoa chili recipe from Damn Delicious. It was the perfect comfort food to enjoy during a crazy winter storm. The ingredients below are what we had in our fridge during the storm–feel free to make modifications, depending on what you have on hand.

chilis!

Vegan Chili (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 medium bell peppers, diced (we used red, yellow and orange)
  • Bocca meatless crumbles (one 12 oz bag, thawed)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (optional)
  • 32 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced green chiles (4.5 oz)
  • 10 pickled jalapeño slices (more or less–do this gradually, to your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (plus more, to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons cumin (plus more, to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (plus more, to taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander (plus more, to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz)
  • 1 can pinto beans (15 oz)
  • 16 oz frozen corn (thawed)
  • a large handful of chopped cilantro (to be added before serving)
  • 1 lime, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the garlic, red onion and spring onions in a large pan over medium-high heat until fragrant.
  2. Once the onions are translucent, stir in the veggies, Bocca crumbles, quinoa, tomato sauce and all the spices. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  3. Make sure the ingredients are well-covered with the tomato sauce. Add some water if necessary. We added about 1 1/2 cups of water. Taste and re-season to your preference.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer and thicken for half an hour.
  5. Add the beans (including the liquid), corn and cilantro and let them become heated with the mixture for a few minutes. Taste and re-season, if desired.
  6. Squeeze some lime juice on the chili, and serve with tortilla chips or mac’n’cheese (recipe below).

When cooking at home, I tend to use Daiya and other processed vegan cheeses as an optional garnish, not as a base for vegan mac’n’cheese. Usually I like to use cashews or tofu for my base. However, since we had a bag of Daiya that we wanted to use up, we ran with it. Feel free to use whatever vegan mac’n’cheese method you’d like!

Vegan Mac’n’Cheese (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb whole wheat macaroni, boiled and drained (or gluten-free macaroni, if you are gluten intolerant)
  • 1 1/2 cup almond or soy milk (plain, unsweetened)
  • 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 bag Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1/2 a block of firm tofu (about 7 oz.)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan (like one of these), heat up the almond milk on high heat until it starts to bubble.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add the bouillon cube, nutritional yeast, spices and flour. Whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add the Daiya shreds and crumble the tofu in, as well. Whisk as well as possible. Season to taste and remove from heat.
  4. Blend the mixture in a blender until totally smooth. Add more almond milk or water if it’s too thick, and add more flour if it’s too thin. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and re-season if necessary.
  5. Fold the whole grain macaroni into the cheesy sauce, and mix until well incorporated.
  6. Serve with a couple dollops of hearty vegan chili.

chilimac1My sister and my friend and I have long since devoured the chili mac’n’cheese, but we made a batch of colorful tofu scramble (with red bell peppers) and cheesy baked potato soup to enjoy instead…

If you would like to see me do a recipe post for tofu scramble or cheesy baked potato soup, please comment below or leave me a comment on my Facebook! Stay warm, and if you try the recipe, please let me know your thoughts.

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