The Betty Crocker Project: Vegan Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

We actually didn't plan on this post so this picture is of the reheated leftovers.

We actually didn’t plan on this post so this picture is of the reheated leftovers and not cute.

Our weekend was a blur of oldest and dearest out of town guests, writing, being pregnant* and a baby shower**.

After the crowd had left and the trays of Cinnamon Snail treats and sandwiches were empty there was time to catch up. To talk about old times, memories of friends who have followed different paths to becoming Facebook acquaintances, Peta demo tour anecdotes, our love lives and plans for the future over a big pot of this vegan buffalo chicken mac & cheese made with Beyond Meat grilled vegan chicken strips, an gala apple & toasted pecan salad***, a destroyed peanut butter cup pie and various chilled beverages (alcoholic and not)… don’t forget the celery stalks – this recipe can get a little hot.

I posted a picture of this recipe that night and the response on the social networking pages and the requests for the recipe came in with such a furious demand that the cookies we had on the docket for today will be bumped to Thursday and we’re posting this with a photo that I normally would never consider using these days. The people have spoken and they want to make their own caldrons of this spicy – smokey – cheezy – casserole! Who I am to keep them from their heart’s desire? What am I? A monster?

In the spirit of democracy – here it is!

Vegan Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

1 package elbow macaroni, prepared al dente using directions on the package
2 packages of your favorite vegan chicken, defrosted and cut into bite-sized pieces  (we recommend using Beyond Meat Grilled Vegan Chicken Strips -if you use Gardein or another brand we recommend using half the amount of Buffalo Sauce we used with the Beyond Meat. The other products might become too spicy – they aren’t as dense and will absorb the marinade faster.)
1 1/2 cups raw kale, chopped
1/2 – 2/3 cup your favorite vegan cheddar cheese, shredded (we recommend using Daiya – this is optional)
3-4 celery sticks per person having dinner

 

Buffalo Sauce Marinade

1/2 cup margarine
1/3 cup hot pepper sauce (we used Sriracha but Buffalo Sauce traditionalists demand you use Frank’s)
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (you can buy this or use this recipe)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

 

Vegan Cheese Sauce – You might remember this recipe from our post back in 2009 or from our BLT Mac & Cheez – this one has a few little tweeks

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed pink Himalayan salt
2 Tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of turmeric
1 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
A few dashes of liquid smoke
Smoked paprika & crushed black peppercorns, to taste

 

Preheat your oven to 400.

In a saucepan, make your Buffalo Sauce Marinade. Melt your margarine over a medium heat in a saucepan. Whisk in your remaining ingredients once your margarine has melted. Remove from heat once you have a thoroughly mixed sauce.

In a shallow baking dish, pour your Buffalo Sauce Marinade over your vegan chicken and toss with a large spoon until it’s completely coated. Put in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Taking it out to mix every 5-10 minutes to make sure it cooks evenly. Remember to use less marinade if you’re using another brand of vegan chicken besides Beyond Meat.

While you’re cooking your pasta, make your Vegan Cheese Sauce.

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms than whisk in your boiling water, salt, soy sauce, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, and turmeric and give it a taste test. your sauce won’t be cheezy yet but you want a light savory flavor – add a few pinches of black peppercorns and smoked paprika till you like the flavor and think it would compliment a cheezy flavor. Continue whisking until your sauce is creamy and bubbling. Then gradually add and whisk in the nutritional yeast flakes. Keep whisking until your sauce is smooth.

Once your vegan chicken has slightly crispy edges, it’s time to make your casserole. In your largest bowl, mix together your cooked pasta, vegan chicken with any leftover marinade, kale, vegan cheddar and vegan cheese sauce. You can then pour your mac and cheese into a large casserole dish and bake it for 15-20 minutes at 400 or just enjoy it the way it is.

Serve hot with some celery sticks and lots of your favorite stories from the road.

 

*We’ve hit that 8th month. The bittersweet time when somewhere inside you start to relax and the medical emergency nightmares become fewer and farther between but you’re woken up in the middle of the night with charlie horse leg cramps that make you walk with a limp for 3 days.

**It was a black jort and sundress affair. Post coming soon. Pictures going up on my Facebook this afternoon.

***That recipe coming soon.

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