Onion Lover's Vegan Mac 'N' Cheese
Earlier this year we found out that Ayla had developed a lactose intolerance. This has meant we have had to make a lot of changes to her diet. I firmly believe that no toddler should be deprived of their mac n cheese. It’s basically a right of passage to grow up eating this comforting, creamy bowl of goodness. I knew I had to find a way to make macaroni and cheese that Ayla could eat, but if I was going to make it from scratch, I wanted it to be a dinner option that would excite Justin and I as well. I looked up a ton of recipes and couldn’t find anything that I really loved so I decided to adapt a few and make my own. Enter, the onion lovers vegan mac n cheese!!
I don’t mean to brag but I was seriously amazed at how delicious this came out. I even forgot that I wasn’t actually eating cheese. The onion really adds another layer of taste to this traditional dish, giving it a more “grown up feel” that even a kid can appreciate. It really is the perfect family meal! One thing I will say, is that it's best served right away. We had a bit left over that I ate for lunch the following day. While it was still delicious, I noticed that it was a tiny bit dried out and just not the same as fresh out of the oven. What I do love about this meal though, is that you can prepare it all earlier in the day, skip the baking step and instead cover it with tinfoil until dinner. When dinner time rolls around, just stick it in the oven for 20 min and your ready for a fantastic dinner!
To make this as easy as possible I had a lot of these ingredients shipped directly to our house through iHerb.com (nutritional yeast is not always easy to find at every local grocery store so it may be easiest to order online if you don't have a health food store nearby).
Here is what you will need:
8 oz macaroni (We used organic whole wheat elbows)
1 ½ cups cashews (we used raw organic)
1 large onion
large drizzle of olive oil
¼ cup Nutritional Yeast (we used Bobs Red Mill)
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika (and more to sprinkle on top if you want)
¾ cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ panko bread crumbs
¼ french’s crispy fried onions (Optional. You can sub for additional bread crumbs)
¼ tbsp oil
Directions: 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice onion into thin rings and cook with a large drizzle of olive oil on medium high heat in an oven safe pan until caramelized (usually 10-15 min). Once caramelized, set aside half of the onions in a bowl and leave the remaining onions in the pan for later use.
2. Boil a pot of water and cook macaroni until al dente.
3. While pasta cooks, add cashews to a blender or food processor and process until it’s a fine powder (add a tiny bit of water if you need to).
4. Add the nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic powder, salt, water and lemon juice. Process until it is a smooth creamy sauce.
5. In a small pot add breadcrumbs, French’s onions and ¼ tbsp oil. Mix together and cook until slightly browned.
6. Add pasta and sauce to the pan with remaining onions and mix well.
7. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Cover the top with the remaining onions and the breadcrumb mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 min until heated through. Enjoy!