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The Betty Crocker Project: Vegan Carrot & Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

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I know. I know! Where the frakk have I been?

We moved to a new really lovely apartment that came with a new oven to learn how to use. One of my favorite Bens came to visit, so we had to explore the restaurants and bars near us. There have been new grocery stores to explore and ingredients to acquisition. There was also a wedding, doctor appointments, personal dramas, sick cats and Xboxs to play. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – This is not a time for sad songs. It’s September which means we’ve all flipped our calendars to a new page. Now it’s time for baking bread and making soup. Time to unpack your over-sized sweaters and for us to launch lots and lots of give-aways! Yes that is my way of saying we’re doing a lot of contests this month because when we were moving I found like this whole stash of stuff I’ve been collecting like a squirrel* in September to send to a few lucky readers! Yesterday I started writing a Wheel-of-Fortune-Showcase-style post listing all the prizes and what days the contests to win what prizes would be posted but it was just confusing (like this sentence). Instead let’s see where the month takes us while enjoying this childhood favorite revamped with vegetables via Betty.

victory garden heroesMaking ‘cream sauces’ to serve over pasta and meat has been a trick people have been using since WWI. I’d bet it’s even older than that but that’s the first time it was recorded as a recipe. I’m always really impressed by the creativity and ingenuity homemakers during economic depressions, revolutions or just straight up wars use to keep their families not just fed but retaining any sense of normalcy. They say that you can show your love through food and whenever I see those propaganda photos of the dolled-up ladies in their Victory Gardens and read through the tips on how to get more from your rations… that takes on a new meaning for me. I admit we borrowed a bit from our Smokey Vegan Bacon & Spinach Mac with Butternut Squash Cheese from 2012 to update this war-time classic. It just needed a little more flavor than what was available to our grandmothers and less salt. I’m one of those folks that thinks salt should be used to bring out flavors not be a flavor but there is a “salt to taste” portion of the recipe for those who feel otherwise. We also ya know took out the evaporated milk and the bacon fat because that’s how we do it.

So fire up your ovens! Let’s roast some vegetables!

Vegan Carrot & Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

1/2 pound Carrots, sliced small or baby carrots, cut in quarters
1/2 pound Cauliflower, this is about 1/2 a head, cut into small peices
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
1 package medium sized shaped Pasta, like per say a macaroni – we used cavatappi
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 large Shallots or 1 Red Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast , you’re going to be adding this by the tablespoon so it might be easier to remember it as 5 tablespoons
2 cups Almond Milk
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
2 dashes of Liquid Smoke
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, you might want more to sprinkle over the top
Sea Salt and Lemon Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. Spray a heavy coating of Olive Oil Cooking Spray over a shallow baking dish. Spread your carrots and cauliflower out in an even layer in the dish and spray another coating of Cooking Spray over the top. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon Sea Salt and 1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper over the top and put in the oven. Roast your vegetables until they tender while going back and tossing them every 8-10 minutes with a wooden spoon to make sure they’re cooking evenly. It took us around 20 minutes for our vegetables to roast but yours might take longer or less time depending on how small you cut your vegetables.

While your vegetables are in the oven, make your Pasta per instructions on the package. Drain your Pasta but don’t return it to the warm pot yet.

In that pot, heat your Olive Oil, Shallots and Garlic over a medium heat. Once your Onion is tender, mix in your Flour using a wooden spoon. Your Vegetables in the oven should be tender by now. Toss them in the pot with the Onions and add 3 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast and your Almond Milk. Heat to a boil while stirring. Then reduce heat to a simmer.

Use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to puree your sauce. If you’re using a food processor or blender, you may have to do this in batches. Once your sauce is smooth is creamy, whisk in 2 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Liquid Smoke, Braggs, Turmeric and Paprika. Remove from heat and give it a taste test. Add any necessary Salt and Lemon Pepper.

Then gradually mix in your Pasta using a wooden spoon until it’s completely coated.

Serve hot with some Smoked Paprika over the top for a but of color.

*That MIGHT be a hint at what we’re giving away tomorrow. OK it is. It’s a hint.

**Summer 2013 – we are not friends. You know what you did.

11 thoughts on “The Betty Crocker Project: Vegan Carrot & Cauliflower Mac & Cheese”

  • Yum! This looks really good.

    Do you think there is a viable nutritional yeast substitute? I have no food allergies except to nutritional yeast. 🙁

    Thanks for sharing!

  • That last comment of yours was the best ever! Thank you for saying what I’ve been feeling. I look forward to summer relentlessly until it arrives, but I can’t wait to see the last of Summer 2013. Having a tree (first just a large limb, and then part of the whole tree) come down twice on my power lines in June, followed by the devastating loss of my Baby Girl cat Lily in July, just destroyed me. I still am not OK. Hope we have a nice, uneventful autumn; we deserve it!

    • Sorry it took me awhile to answer this. It’s a tough question – the nutritional yeast adds flavor while also thickening up the sauce. So I would add a little more flour until you like the thickness and then increase the amount of Braggs and onion powder to replace the flavor. It won’t be exactly the same but I think it will work. If you try it – let me know what you think!

      • That’s a great suggestion. I’ve made the vegan zombie mac and cheese and he starts with a rue and adds daiya later on so I see how the flour could act as a good replacement for the nutritional yeast.


  • I made this for dinner last night, and it was one of the best vegan mac & cheeses that I’ve made–love the smokiness. I’m more of a baked mac kind of person, so for lunch today I took the leftovers and added some bread crumbs to the top and warmed in the oven. It was even better. It reminded me of my non-vegan days of eating mac & cheese (not something that can be said with any other vegan mac & cheese I’ve made so far). Thank you!

  • This is lovely! Even the daughter that isn’t fond of cooked carrots and neither cauliflower liked this one 😀
    I have substituted “Bragg’s Aminos” with simple Tamari, since this ingredient is very unknown in Switzerland (I still only have a slight clue what it could be after reading your cookbook), I’m not sure if you’d recommend it, but as far as I can tell, this dish was delicious!

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