I have a few friends who own a macaroni and cheese restaurant in Oakland, CA called Homeroom. Now that I live in Seattle, I miss it dearly. While everything is delicious there, what stays with me is the memory of how creamy and delicious their vegan mac and cheese was. I couldn't believe it was dairy-free! I've been looking to duplicate the recipe at home and started searching online for some tips and tricks on achieving a creamy, cheesy dish without ... the cream. Or cheese. Many folks drawn to making vegan dishes might already know some of the tricks as they're certainly far from secret. When I was telling my boyfriend Sam about what I'd discovered, his response was: "You clearly never lived in a co-op." This is true. For the record, Sam has.
But for these tips, I turned to Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews of the beautiful blog Love and Lemons. Recently they put up a post on vegan Mac and Cheese and discussed the method they use to get a dish that seems extra creamy, cheesy and tasty without the dairy. Here's what I learned:
3 Tips for Great Vegan Mac and Cheese
1. Nutritional Yeast is Key: Sam was appalled I didn't already know this, but nutritional yeast is key in a vegan mac and cheese because it's what gives it that cheesy flavor. A lot of different vegan dishes rely on it. Jeanine and Matt spoon in a little Dijon as well to boost the flavor even more.
2. Coconut Milk: If you're not using milk, you've got to get liquid and a creamy texture in there somehow. I've heard of a lot of folks using almond milk but I love the idea of using coconut milk for more of a decadent, silky bite.
3. Turmeric Adds Color: If you've ever made a tofu scramble or an Indian recipe, you already know that turmeric brings on the yellow color and many folks add it to their vegan mac and cheese to emulate cheese's bright hues.
Find the Recipe: Vegan Mac and Cheese with Peas | Love and Lemons
Related: Hold the Cheese, Please! 8 Indulgent Vegan Pasta Dishes
(Image: Love and Lemons)