The only “dish” I knew how to cook until I was about 15 was Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. No Joke. It was the go-to meal in my family when mom and dad were both working and 4 girls were coming home from after school sports looking for food. So how about a vegan version? I was grocery shopping the other day and saw a vegan mac n’ cheese in a box. That inspired to make my own, and bake it!
This recipe calls for 1 or 2 cups of greens. I opted for broccoli and kale as they are two my favorites. Feel free to not use any greens at all, but it does make this meal more filling.
Adding the greens before the pasta allows them to cook just a little so they decrease in size and mix better with the pasta.
Honestly, I could’ve easily not baked this and ate it right after I mixed the pasta. But baking is fun and crispy mac n’ cheese is delicious.
In a large pot, boil water and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set the pasta aside in a separate bowl.
Using the large pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the nutritional yeast and half of the milk. Whisk together. Add the rest of the milk and all the spices (cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper and garlic powder). Whisk again. Now add the vegan cheese. Constantly stir this until all the cheese has melted. There may be a few shreds that have not melted, which is OK because it will upon baking. Add the greens and mix well. When the greens seem to have decreased in size a bit, add the pasta and mix altogether.
Pour mixture into the pyrex and (optional) sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. Bake for 20 minutes and serve warm.
Switching to a vegan lifestyle is the not easiest, I will admit that. However, once you have done enough research and get into the groove of it, it is actually too easy. The most important part is to always have your kitchen ready for you when you need to make something of substance. Having a stocked pantry with healthy items will keep you fit and lean by helping you stay away from buying unhealthy food when you are heading home. I have compiled a list of items I always have in my pantry and constantly buy if I start to run out. (This list does not include items I buy once in awhile for specific recipes).
Unsweetened Almond/Cashew Milk
Vegan soy-free Cheese (Daiya cheese is my usual choice)
Vegan Butter (Earth Balance)
Nutritional Yeast (Briggs)
Quinoa Pasta (I am a frequent buyer of Ancient Harvest)
Quinoa (red or black)
FRUIT and FRUIT and FRUIT – whatever is in season, have it in your house at all times. This will cure any sugar cravings you have and keep the extra pounds off
Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, romaine or arugula
Natural Nut Butter – Buy nut butter that has only two ingredients or less!
Peppermint or Ginger Tea – Drink these every night after dinner
Organic inner leaf Aloe vera liquid (George’s is the best!)
I’ll make this post short and sweet because that is exactly what it’s like making these gooey, dreamy truffles.
2 cups oat flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ripe banana (VERY RIPE, mashed)
1 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance!)
1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips
A dash of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, banana, and vegan butter. Once mixture is smooth, fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the batter into bite sized balls and lay each on the pan. Be sure they are not touching. Throw a dash of sea salt over the balls before cooking
Bake for 12 minutes. Let them cool before biting into them, the melted chocolate chips will be hot!
Who doesn’t love a warm plate of spaghetti & meatballs? Growing up in my household, this was a staple meal. Dad’s meatballs were the BEST! Then I went vegan, so I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite meals, but not for long! It didn’t take me ages to find a vegan recipe for meatballs; it only took me ages to post about it.
The only other catch is finding the right pasta. You know, the kind that doesn’t make you feel guilty for even looking at it. I am a huge fan of Ancient Harvest and all of their quinoa products. They make a great quinoa spaghetti that I recommend to all.
2 cups of green lentils (cooked, about 3/4 cup dry)
2 zucchini, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp of italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp rosemary
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax seed + 6 tbsp of water)
1 cup of oat flour
(optional) 1 cup of gluten free bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a baking sheet pan with vegan butter, or oil, or anything you usually use when greasing your pans.
In a skillet, saute coconut oil, onions and garlic. Add the zucchini and cook until light browning forms. You don’t want to cook these too much since they will cook in the oven. Throw the mixture into a food processor and add the cooked lentils, italian seasoning and rosemary. Blend until the mixture has a few chunks, but the majority of it is smooth.
Move to a separate bowl and add the 2 flax eggs. Mix well. Slowly add in the oat flour (you might need all of it) and fold the mixture together. If the mixture is too wet to form into balls, then add more oat flour.
Using your hands, take a small handful of the batter and form it into balls.
(Optional) pour the bread crumbs onto a plate and roll each ball around in the crumbs until covered.
Lay the balls on the baking pan so they are not touching. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the balls around so each side can be fully cooked . Bake for another 15 minutes. Let these cool by getting your spaghetti and sauce ready.
Blend or mash the strawberries so there are still some chunk bits left. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Put in a covered jar and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before spreading on anything and everything!