DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat McDonald’s Special sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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These came out UNBELIEVABLY well!  I was a lifetime Big Mac whore & no other fast food ever appealed to me.  My Big Mac pizza was pretty successful but this burger puts that to shame.

Above, beneath my Big Bam pizza, is a real Bic Mac – followed by my copycat & then a side by side.  Doesn’t the vegan one look BETTER?  This really is the closest I think you can come to the real thing.  Click the image below to watch the video.


DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat Special sauce

Makes 2 Big Macs

INGREDIENTS

1 package Beyond Burgers (or 4 vegan burger patties)

3 sesame seed buns (or just two – if you are not interested in the center piece of bread)

4 slices vegan cheese

Iceberg lettuce – chopped

Onion – minced

Pickles – sliced

Copycat Special Sauce

1/4 cup vegan mayo

1 TBS vegan French dressing

1 TBS sweet relish

1 TBS minced onion

1 TBS yellow mustard

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powdet

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

DIRECTIONS

Whisk the sauce together.  et aside.

If using Beyond Burgers – make each patty into two thinner patties.

Cook the burgers & top with cheese & melt.

Assemble the Big Mac: smear two bottom buns with sauce & top with onions, pickles & lettuce.  Put a cheeseburger on each & stack them.  Top with the bun.

Devour!

Easy Vegan Cauliflower, Broccoli and Turmeric Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I took those two outdoor images this weekend on my Hollywood sign hikes.  Living in LA does NOT suck.  Don’t believe the hype.

You know what else doesn’t suck?  Pretty much any variety of mac & cheese.  But being a big fat ass does suck – so I added a huge head of cauliflower & two small heads of broccoli to this so it is about 50% veggies & 50% pasta.  Easy & delicious.  I skipped the whole roux business so this is a very quick dish to put together.

I used turmeric because it adds that vibrant yellow color but I also added it because it is really good for you.  Google “turmeric benefits” or look HERE & see some of the amazing good it can do for you.

Click the image below to watch the video.


 

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Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli and Turmeric Mac and Cheese

Feeds 6

INGREDIENTS

12 oz dry pasta

1/2 large head cauliflower – cut into bite-size florets

2 medium heads broccoli – cut into bit-sized florets

12 oz unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 cup vegan sour cream or cream cheese or a mix

1 or more cups vegan cheese of your choice

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

1 TBS turmeric

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp salt

1 TBS ground pepper

A few squirts of hot sauce – I used Crystal (optional)

1-2 cups panko or other bread crumbs

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 & grease a large casserole pan.

Cook pasta according to directions.  Cook as long as the package says – but add the cauliflower & broccoli in the final three minutes.  Drain.

Heat the milk & stir in all the other ingredients.  Add the pasta & veggies & combine.  Put in your greased casserole dish.  Top with breadcrumbs.  A spritz of cooking spray will aid the breadcrumbs browning.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly & the breadcrumbs are beginning to brown.

Devour.

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DDD Ep. #22 – 10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I am reposting this recipe because there is now a DDD video to accompany it.  Please click through & subscribe to my channel.

Honest to God – this might be the most fucking delicious vegan meal I have ever made!  Seriously!  And to think it only came together because I had a fridge full of random leftovers & ingredients that I needed to be done with.  I had a package of Tofutti American cheese, several slices of their mozzarella cheese (both of which I totally shit-talked in my vegan cheese review) & some leftover pasta.  Oh – and two Chinese eggplants.

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I actually had this selection of vegan cheeses – seen above.  I opted to use the individual slices first because 1) they were getting old and 2) I thought this dish would make better use of (read: mask) their less than fabulous flavor.  Ultimately – I did use some of the other two cheeses, as well.  The result is AMAZING!  You can use whatever vegan cheeses you prefer but you are going to need about a pound of various cheeses – before all is said & done.

I used Chinese eggplant & I recommend them because they are less bitter & carry less moisture than regular eggplant.

I used nutritional yeast but a vegan Parmesan would also work.  Or use neither.

This takes a few steps but all are simple & the result is a decadent feast that nobody would ever guess was vegan – at least with this particular combination of cheeses.  I find some vegan cheeses taste more fake than others – so – the brands you use will matter – but I am certain lots of other brands would be just as yummy – especially the Field Roast Chao cheeses – my favorite of the vegan cheeses I have tried.

Whatever you do – get it together to make this – at least once.  It really is killer!

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10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

Feeds 4-6 depending on appetites

INGREDIENTS

4+ cups or so of cooked pasta

2 Chinese eggplant (or other variety) – sliced 1/2″ thick

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan)

1 TBS dry parsley

8 oz (or 12 individual slices) vegan American or cheddar cheese (or a mix) – PLUS SOME  EXTRA – just in case

4 oz (or 6 individual slices) vegan mozzarella – PLUS SOME  EXTRA – just in case

(Extra grated vegan cheese to top the casserole – one that melts would be prettiest)

2 – 3 cups unsweetened vegan milk

1 1/2 – 2 cups pasta sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Basil or parsley (or both) – chopped for garnish

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast & dry parsley in a bowl.  Put about 1/2 cup milk in another bowl.  Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.  Dunk the eggplant rounds in the milk & then through the breadcrumbs and drop into the hot oil.  They should brown pretty quickly.  Flip & brown the other side.  Put on a cooking sheet & into the oven while you repeat the process until all the eggplant is cooked.  You will likely need to wipe out the burnt breadcrumbs & add more oil with each batch.

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In a stock pot, melt the American and/or cheddar cheese.   Add vegan milk in small increments until it becomes creamy.   Stir in the pasta.  At this point – I decided it needed more cheese so I added two slices of this cheese (below) and a bit more milk & cooked it until it looked wet & yummy & creamy.   I am not giving exact directions as to the cheese-milk-pasta ratio because different cheeses might have more or less moisture – and everyone has a different idea of how wet mac & cheese should be.    I would suggest going a little wet – as the pasta & eggplant will absorb it & you won’t have a dry dish.

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Look at that up there!!!!  Doesn’t that look just ridiculous?!  It was all I could do not to just start shoving it in my face.  But I used considerable will power & continued with the recipe.

So – when you get your pasta-cheese-milk ratio to where it looks creamy but still a bit wet (so it won’t dry out in cooking) – take it off the flame.

Grease a casserole pan & layer half the eggplant on the bottom.

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Add another layer of eggplant with the rest of the slices & top with pasta sauce.

In the same pan you melted the cheese in – melt the mozzarella & pour it over your casserole & pop the pan into the oven.

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At this point – I took my dogs for a walk – COMPLETELY forgetting I had this in the oven.  I think it needed 30-45 minutes in the 375 oven – but it got way more than that.  Don’t burn yours.  I kinda did.   Look – not so pretty.

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So – in an effort to make it pretty again – I grated some of that cheese above onto it & popped it back into the oven for about ten minutes.  As you can see – it did little to make it prettier (that cheese did not want to melt) – but when I scooped it onto plates – it looked & SMELLED amazing!

So – maybe do not burn yours & it will be prettier but nobody needs to see it before it hits the plate, anyway.

So – scoop some onto plates & garnish with parsley and/or basil.  I swear – this will fool people out of suspecting it is vegan.  So yummy & comforting!

Waste no time & devour it!

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DDD Ep. #15 – Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat Special Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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DDD Ep. #15 is up! It is my Vegan Big Mac Pizza! Plus, some pop art & pop culture references for you! And the boobs in this episode are not mine.

Click the link for the video (or watch it here) & please subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvKWQ4FPKQg&feature=youtu.be

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Ever since I was a child – I have been obsessed – addicted even – to McDonald’s.  McDonald’s – specifically.  No other fast food tempted me in the least.  Not Burger King or Taco Bell or any of the other burger chains.  Sure – I would sometimes eat a Fatburger – which inevitably – made me agonizingly ill and an occasional burger from the Tommy’s on Beverly at Rampart – mainly because that Tommy’s was so old school & cool.  But if there had been a McDonald’s next door – I probably would have gone there.  I have always been to insanely addicted to Big Macs that as a kid – I could eat 2.  And McDonald’s fries are the best on Earth.

Then I gave up meat, in the late eighties.  Fuck.  That meant Filet-O-Fish sandwiches for me – which I put up with for a while until I was struck my supreme inspiration.  I bought a Big Mac AND a Filet-O-Fish.  I took the patties out of the Big Mac & fed them to the dogs & put the fish patty in there, instead.  I dipped fries in the tartar sauce on the Filet-O-Fish bun & shoved that fishy Big Mac into my pie hole like I hadn’t eaten for days.  I began doing this regularly.  So many times – I would go spinning & then go the the McD’s drive-thru – still actively sweating from class & get this combo & pull over to a random curb & make my custom sandwich – like a junky cooking dope.  I even included this process in my novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.  Here is the excerpt:

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I decided to make a trip to McDonald’s to take the edge off my panic and maybe finally end my waning hangover. There is nothing like McD’s. It is the only fast food chain I patronize. I’ve been a fish-eating vegetarian for over twenty years but McDonald’s remains my own personal crack. I have to pretend I do not know that there is beef tallow in the French fries and block out the fact that McD’s are a great supporter of the factory farming that spurred my vegetarianism to begin with, but when I am hung over, McDonald’s is my best friend.
I ordered a #1 Big Mac value meal with fries, a diet Coke (gotta save calories somewhere) and a Filet-O-Fish. Once out of the drive thru, I pulled over on a side street like a drug addict jonesing for a fix. I took several big gulps of the best fucking diet Coke I had ever tasted while throwing furtive glances around to make sure I was not being watched. I opened the fish sandwich and scooped all that tartar sauce up on the top bun. This would serve as a bowl and dip for the fries. I grabbed the golden goodness of the square fish stick looking back at me and threw the bottom bun of the fish sandwich in the bag. I took the top off of the Big Mac and threw it in the bag. I removed the burgers and put them aside for my dogs. I placed the fish patty on the middle bun piece and flipped it over onto the bottom bun and its remaining ingredients. Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a filet of fish on what was once a sesame seed bun. I rammed it into my mouth and nearly fainted with pleasure. Every cell in my body reacted negatively to the toxicity and I felt zits popping out on my face as I chewed. I didn’t give a fuck. I dipped a handful of fries in the fatty tartar sauce and forced them into my mouth before I swallowed my first bite of sandwich. I was disgusting. I felt the shame of a tweeker turning her first trick for drugs. My eyes flashed a scan of the horizon searching for the PETA police. My pants felt a size tighter. I finished that food in less than two minutes, literally drinking the last bit of fries from the cardboard container. It was glorious.
Slouched in the car, high from whatever it is in McDonald’s food that made Morgan Spurlock’s liver begin to shut down in Supersize Me, the plan to dine with The Albino seemed like it might actually be a fun adventure.

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So – maybe now you understand the extent of my problem.  That problem got even worse when I gave up eating fish, too, a couple of years ago.  Now – there is no excuse to go into a McDonald’s – because the fries really do have beef tallow in them – so there is literally nothing in there for me to eat – especially as I am inching my way to veganism.

Still – my Big Mac addiction festers without relief.   The smell of McDonald’s still makes my hands want to turn into those drive-thrus – but I can’t.  I won’t.  I shan’t!  And – yeah – I guess I could make a faux Big Mac with a veggie burger (Beyond Meat makes GREAT ones) – but the shitty bun is part of the charm & the special sauce isn’t just Thousand Island – no matter what detractors try to tell you.  It is more magical than that.  My fake Big Mac would be off just enough to leave me feeling cheated.

And then it came to me!  Big Mac PIZZA!  That way – the differences would be more forgivable – because it wasn’t a lame Big Mac – it was a glorious Big Mac pizza!!!!!  And so – I did it.  I did it last night.  After taking two heated spinning classes in 14 hours – I undid all that good – all that blood, sweat & those tears.  Undid it and gave zero fucks.  This fucking pizza is the best Goddamn thing on Earth.  It will be difficult not to eat these every night this week – after all – I have like an infinity of my copycat special sauce.  I can’t wash that gold down the drain – when my gullet is right here craving it – wanting to drink it – inhale it.  So – sure – I have a birthday coming up & it might be nice to NOT be at my absolute FATTEST on that day – but shit happens.  Sometimes things are out of your hands.  Sometimes life presents tough choices.  But – enough about that.  Let me present – my Big Mac pizza!

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Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce

INGREDIENTS

for the special sauce

3/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS sweet relish

2 TBS yellow mustard

2 TBS French dressing

1 tsp (or more) each: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika

Water

for the Big Mac Pizza

Pizza dough (I used this HERE)

Vegan ground beef (I used Beyond Meat beefy crumbles)

Shredded lettuce

Vegan cheese (I used some Parmela Creamery sharp cheddar, Chao original & some of my own homemade mozzarella)

Sandwich pickle slices

Onion – diced

Sesame seeds

Jalapeno – sliced (not in a real Big Mac but fuck it)

Semolina flour (optional) for rolling out the dough

Parchment paper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

for the special sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & add a bit of water to thin it.  Taste it & adjust at will.  I added 2 more tsp of onion powder to mine.

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for the Big Mac Pizza

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Roll out the dough (I do this in semolina flour because I find it adds to the crispiness of the crust – but regular flour is fine).  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet (I just use parchment paper – and I recommend it highly).

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Top with cheeses & ground beef.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until your crust is done.  I added grated mozzarella at this point & cooked it another minute but only because the pizza looked a bit barren.  You can just dump the meat & cheese on there – cheese under & over the beef.

Once the crust is done – top with the remaining toppings & get your fucking eat on!

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DDD Ep. #13 – Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – kiddies! DDD #13 is UP!

Like boobs? Like mac & cheese? Who doesn’t? I am really proud of this episode (and my cans – it seems) as it makes the best of a disaster & really showcases (boobs) how mac & cheese can be delightfully vegan (boobs). But – if (boobs) mac & cheese is not your bag – my rack is very prominently on display here & really tries hard to distract viewers from the recipe in progress so – feel free to just focus on that. Watch my blunders, my fun bags or learn a great recipe – I don’t care. Just watch! I even have a post-credits blooper! Oh – and I think I say “fuck” about 20x in this. So – enjoy!!! Please share & please SUBSCRIBE!! Did I mention boobs? BOOBS!

Click the link for my Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower recipe & please subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFiPBGYVT0s

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So – I wanted to make a healthier mac & cheese – less cheese (even less vegan cheese) and less pasta.  I looked in the fridge & my pantry & found these potential ingredients.

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As it turned out – I used all but the vegan cream cheese & the Daiya cheddar shreds.    So – the only actual cheese (vegan cheese) in this recipe is the Field Roast Chao Tomato-Cayenne slices.  If you can’t find these or do not like them (I think the 3 Chao cheeses are the best grocery store vegan cheeses on the market so far) – then use Daiya or any other kind of vegan cheese – or even real cheese (if you are not vegan).

This is a very easy dish to make – though it does have a few steps.  The only special tool you need is a blender (or a food processor).  No need to soak cashews overnight.  And – most importantly – it is VERY convincing!  None of the over-powering flavor of nutritional yeast yet all the wet, creaminess of real mac & cheese.  I swear – non-vegans will not identify this as vegan.  It has the additional benefit of using two full heads of cauliflower – but they blend in and become virtually undetectable – so your veggie hating kiddies will likely eat this with little argument (though you might want to reduce the spiciness for tender palates).

My primary excitement about this recipe is the green enchilada roux.  Traditional roux is made with butter, flour & milk.  I definitely wanted to use the green enchilada sauce but I did not want the dish to be swimming in liquid – as I feared it might be if I made a roux with milk and also added the enchilada sauce.  Happy news!  The enchilada sauce blended & thickened with the butter & flour as easily as milk would have but added SO much more flavor.

Again – while there are a few steps (mainly, boiling & draining to heads of cauliflower & the pasta) – none are difficult & the resulting dish is supremely gratifying!   I hope you try it!

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Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

Serves at least 6

INGREDIENTS

2 heads cauliflower (I used one white & one yellow)

for the roux

4 TBS vegan butter

4 TBS flour

16 oz green enchilada sauce

7 oz vegan cheddar (sliced up or grated)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (SUPER optional – I just had a little left over that I wanted to use up)

for the mac & cheese

1-2 jalapenos – one seeded & diced and one seeded & sliced (optional – depending on your taste for spice)

1 4oz can diced green chilies (I used hot but you could use mild)

2 ears corn – kernels cut from the cob (or about one 14 oz can of corn or 1 cup frozen corn)

1 lb pasta (shape of your choice)

1-2 cups breadcrumbs (I used panko)

Cooking spray

GARNISH: cilantro, avocado, diced tomato, hot sauces, additional fresh jalapeno or canned chilies

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Treat a 9×13 casserole pan with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to directions (maybe 1 minute less than suggested) – drain & set aside.

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If you are using 2 different colors of cauliflower – you might want to cut each into florets & then boil & drain them each separately.  Or not.  It doesn’t matter much but the yellow cauliflower purees & looks like a cheesier sauce than white cauliflower will.  Still – some cheddar cheeses are white – so – don’t sweat it, whatever you decide.  If you are just using 2 heads of the same color – boil until just tender (5-7 minutes) – drain & set aside.

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If you used one head of yellow cauliflower – put it (with about 1 cup of hot water) into a blender & puree until very smooth.  Only add just as much water as you need to accomplish this – which could be more or less than a cup of water – depending on the size of the head you used.

If you used to heads of the same color – just puree one head worth as described above.  Set aside.

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Melt the butter in a sauce pan & whisk in the flour.  It should thicken & brown a bit very quickly – maybe a minute.  Add the enchilada sauce incrementally – letting it thicken before adding more – until it is all incorporated & rater thick.

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Add the cheese & stir until it melts.

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Add the pureed cauliflower & nutritional yeast (if using), salt & pepper to taste, and then one diced jalapeno, canned chilies & the corn.

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Combine & adjust S&P – if necessary.

Put the sauce in a large bowl & then add the pasta and the remaining cauliflower florets.  Combine.

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Pour the mac & cheese into the casserole dish & top with breadcrumbs & maybe some sliced jalapeno.  Spray with cooking spray – as this helps the breadcrumbs brown (because vegan cheese does not have the animal fat of real cheese – which is what browns in traditional mac & cheese).

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Bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned a bit & the cheese sauce is bubbly.

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Let rest for about ten minutes & then serve.  Garnish with avocado, cilantro, diced tomatoes and/or anything else you like.

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10-Minute Vegan Creamy and Spicy Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have posted several vegan mac & cheese recipes but I think this one comes closest to a Kraft experience.  The color is nearly right & it really is creamy & delicious.  I also think – of the pure vegan mac & cheeses (meaning – not the eggplant Parmesan kinda ones – seen below) –

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– this one is most likely to trick a cheese-eater.  The sauce only takes as long to make as it takes to boil pasta – just like Kraft.  Plus – it has a little kick to overpowers any flavor from the nutritional yeast that sensitive palates might object to.  Add some Crystal hot sauce & you have a vegan, cheesy pasta orgy!

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10-Minute Vegan Creamy and Spicy Mac & Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

8 oz dry pasta

1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond (or soy) milk

1/4 cup potato flour

1-3 tsp Dijon mustard (depending on your taste for the tang of mustard  – I went with 3)

1-3 tsp sriracha (I went with 1 tsp but added much Crystal hot sauce when I served it)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS white miso paste

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

Salt to taste

Garnish – Crystal (or other) hot sauce

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients over high heat.  Once it begins to bubble – reduce heat to low & stir until it thickens.  If it gets too thick – add water.

Drain the pasta & toss with the cheese sauce.

Serve with extra hot sauce.

See?  EASY!

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Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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vromans back

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So – I wanted to make a healthier mac & cheese – less cheese (even less vegan cheese) and less pasta.  I looked in the fridge & my pantry & found these potential ingredients.

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As it turned out – I used all but the vegan cream cheese & the Daiya cheddar shreds.    So – the only actual cheese (vegan cheese) in this recipe is the Field Roast Chao Tomato-Cayenne slices.  If you can’t find these or do not like them (I think the 3 Chao cheeses are the best grocery store vegan cheeses on the market so far) – then use Daiya or any other kind of vegan cheese – or even real cheese (if you are not vegan).

This is a very easy dish to make – though it does have a few steps.  The only special tool you need is a blender (or a food processor).  No need to soak cashews overnight.  And – most importantly – it is VERY convincing!  None of the over-powering flavor of nutritional yeast yet all the wet, creaminess of real mac & cheese.  I swear – non-vegans will not identify this as vegan.  It has the additional benefit of using two full heads of cauliflower – but they blend in and become virtually undetectable – so your veggie hating kiddies will likely eat this with little argument (though you might want to reduce the spiciness for tender palates).

My primary excitement about this recipe is the green enchilada roux.  Traditional roux is made with butter, flour & milk.  I definitely wanted to use the green enchilada sauce but I did not want the dish to be swimming in liquid – as I feared it might be if I made a roux with milk and also added the enchilada sauce.  Happy news!  The enchilada sauce blended & thickened with the butter & flour as easily as milk would have but added SO much more flavor.

Again – while there are a few steps (mainly, boiling & draining to heads of cauliflower & the pasta) – none are difficult & the resulting dish is supremely gratifying!   I hope you try it!

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Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

Serves at least 6

INGREDIENTS

2 heads cauliflower (I used one white & one yellow)

for the roux

4 TBS vegan butter

4 TBS flour

16 oz green enchilada sauce

7 oz vegan cheddar (sliced up or grated)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (SUPER optional – I just had a little left over that I wanted to use up)

for the mac & cheese

1-2 jalapenos – one seeded & diced and one seeded & sliced (optional – depending on your taste for spice)

1 4oz can diced green chilies (I used hot but you could use mild)

2 ears corn – kernels cut from the cob (or about one 14 oz can of corn or 1 cup frozen corn)

1 lb pasta (shape of your choice)

1-2 cups breadcrumbs (I used panko)

Cooking spray

GARNISH: cilantro, avocado, diced tomato, hot sauces, additional fresh jalapeno or canned chilies

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Treat a 9×13 casserole pan with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to directions (maybe 1 minute less than suggested) – drain & set aside.

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If you are using 2 different colors of cauliflower – you might want to cut each into florets & then boil & drain them each separately.  Or not.  It doesn’t matter much but the yellow cauliflower purees & looks like a cheesier sauce than white cauliflower will.  Still – some cheddar cheeses are white – so – don’t sweat it, whatever you decide.  If you are just using 2 heads of the same color – boil until just tender (5-7 minutes) – drain & set aside.

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If you used one head of yellow cauliflower – put it (with about 1 cup of hot water) into a blender & puree until very smooth.  Only add just as much water as you need to accomplish this – which could be more or less than a cup of water – depending on the size of the head you used.

If you used to heads of the same color – just puree one head worth as described above.  Set aside.

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Melt the butter in a sauce pan & whisk in the flour.  It should thicken & brown a bit very quickly – maybe a minute.  Add the enchilada sauce incrementally – letting it thicken before adding more – until it is all incorporated & rater thick.

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Add the cheese & stir until it melts.

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Add the pureed cauliflower & nutritional yeast (if using), salt & pepper to taste, and then one diced jalapeno, canned chilies & the corn.

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Combine & adjust S&P – if necessary.

Put the sauce in a large bowl & then add the pasta and the remaining cauliflower florets.  Combine.

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Pour the mac & cheese into the casserole dish & top with breadcrumbs & maybe some sliced jalapeno.  Spray with cooking spray – as this helps the breadcrumbs brown (because vegan cheese does not have the animal fat of real cheese – which is what browns in traditional mac & cheese).

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Bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned a bit & the cheese sauce is bubbly.

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Let rest for about ten minutes & then serve.  Garnish with avocado, cilantro, diced tomatoes and/or anything else you like.

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10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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vromans back

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Honest to God – this might be the most fucking delicious vegan meal I have ever made!  Seriously!  And to think it only came together because I had a fridge full of random leftovers & ingredients that I needed to be done with.  I had a package of Tofutti American cheese, several slices of their mozzarella cheese (both of which I totally shit-talked in my vegan cheese review) & some leftover pasta.  Oh – and two Chinese eggplants.

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I actually had this selection of vegan cheeses – seen above.  I opted to use the individual slices first because 1) they were getting old and 2) I thought this dish would make better use of (read: mask) their less than fabulous flavor.  Ultimately – I did use some of the other two cheeses, as well.  The result is AMAZING!  You can use whatever vegan cheeses you prefer but you are going to need about a pound of various cheeses – before all is said & done.

I used Chinese eggplant & I recommend them because they are less bitter & carry less moisture than regular eggplant.

I used nutritional yeast but a vegan Parmesan would also work.  Or use neither.

This takes a few steps but all are simple & the result is a decadent feast that nobody would ever guess was vegan – at least with this particular combination of cheeses.  I find some vegan cheeses taste more fake than others – so – the brands you use will matter – but I am certain lots of other brands would be just as yummy – especially the Field Roast Chao cheeses – my favorite of the vegan cheeses I have tried.

Whatever you do – get it together to make this – at least once.  It really is killer!

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10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

Feeds 4-6 depending on appetites

INGREDIENTS

4+ cups or so of cooked pasta

2 Chinese eggplant (or other variety) – sliced 1/2″ thick

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan)

1 TBS dry parsley

8 oz (or 12 individual slices) vegan American or cheddar cheese (or a mix) – PLUS SOME  EXTRA – just in case

4 oz (or 6 individual slices) vegan mozzarella – PLUS SOME  EXTRA – just in case

(Extra grated vegan cheese to top the casserole – one that melts would be prettiest)

2 – 3 cups unsweetened vegan milk

1 1/2 – 2 cups pasta sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Basil or parsley (or both) – chopped for garnish

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast & dry parsley in a bowl.  Put about 1/2 cup milk in another bowl.  Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.  Dunk the eggplant rounds in the milk & then through the breadcrumbs and drop into the hot oil.  They should brown pretty quickly.  Flip & brown the other side.  Put on a cooking sheet & into the oven while you repeat the process until all the eggplant is cooked.  You will likely need to wipe out the burnt breadcrumbs & add more oil with each batch.

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In a stock pot, melt the American and/or cheddar cheese.   Add vegan milk in small increments until it becomes creamy.   Stir in the pasta.  At this point – I decided it needed more cheese so I added two slices of this cheese (below) and a bit more milk & cooked it until it looked wet & yummy & creamy.   I am not giving exact directions as to the cheese-milk-pasta ratio because different cheeses might have more or less moisture – and everyone has a different idea of how wet mac & cheese should be.    I would suggest going a little wet – as the pasta & eggplant will absorb it & you won’t have a dry dish.

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Look at that up there!!!!  Doesn’t that look just ridiculous?!  It was all I could do not to just start shoving it in my face.  But I used considerable will power & continued with the recipe.

So – when you get your pasta-cheese-milk ratio to where it looks creamy but still a bit wet (so it won’t dry out in cooking) – take it off the flame.

Grease a casserole pan & layer half the eggplant on the bottom.

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Add another layer of eggplant with the rest of the slices & top with pasta sauce.

In the same pan you melted the cheese in – melt the mozzarella & pour it over your casserole & pop the pan into the oven.

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At this point – I took my dogs for a walk – COMPLETELY forgetting I had this in the oven.  I think it needed 30-45 minutes in the 375 oven – but it got way more than that.  Don’t burn yours.  I kinda did.   Look – not so pretty.

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So – in an effort to make it pretty again – I grated some of that cheese above onto it & popped it back into the oven for about ten minutes.  As you can see – it did little to make it prettier (that cheese did not want to melt) – but when I scooped it onto plates – it looked & SMELLED amazing!

So – maybe do not burn yours & it will be prettier but nobody needs to see it before it hits the plate, anyway.

So – scoop some onto plates & garnish with parsley and/or basil.  I swear – this will fool people out of suspecting it is vegan.  So yummy & comforting!

Waste no time & devour it!

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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Baked Spinach Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

So – digging around in my fridge, I found a huge bag of real cheese.  I have been tapering myself into a nearly vegan diet – especially when I am eating at home – and I don’t even remember buying this cheese but there it was.  Right there – on the day after I made a valiant attempt to drink all the Prosecco & red wine on Earth.  I watched the so-hilarious 90210 Lifetime movie with a friend and – between us – went through a shocking amount of alcohol.  Shocking – I tell you.  What was less shocking was how I felt yesterday.  I definitely earned every bit of how hideous I felt but I was very grateful 1) to be alive and 2) to find a huge bag in my fridge of what I could melt all over pasta.  Oh – I also made roasted potatoes – below.

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Carbohydrates & grease.  I desperately needed both.  So – I indulged in both.  The mac & cheese is pretty straightforward & does not really require baking – unless (like me) you want that crispy crust on top.  Look at that crust!  Mmmmm!  There is nothing more I can say about mac & cheese that you don’t already know.  So – make some of this shit & shove it in the hole in your heart – like I did.  It actually kinda helped.  For a few minutes, anyway.

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Baked Spinach Mac & Cheese

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

4 TBS butter (I used vegan butter)

4 TBS flour

2 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk)

1 lb grated cheese (I used real sharp cheddar)

1 LB fresh spinach

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS (or less) cayenne

1-2 cups panko or other bread crumbs

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta for about 1 minute less than the package suggests, drain & set aside.

Melt the butter over med-high heat.  Whisk in the flour & then add the milk in small increments – allowing it to thicken each time.  Add the Dijon & spices.  Whisk to incorporate & then add the cheese – reserving 1/2 cup or more to sprinkle on top later.

Fold in the pasta & spinach.

Grease a casserole pan & put the mac & cheese in there.  Top with remaining cheese & panko.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly & he bread crumbs are browning.

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Baked Vegan Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is the exact same recipe as yesterday’s Vegan Stove Top Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese – except I added panko & baked it.  I must say – it makes for a far prettier presentation – no?  That is the stove top version just above.  They taste the same – obviously, but the bread crumbs add a nice texture so – I recommend this baked one – enthusiastically – over the stove top.

Again – the flavor here is spicy-tart because of the chilies & jalapenos.  Add some hot sauce & boom!  Pretty awesome & genuinely spicy.

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Baked Vegan Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese

Serves 4+

INGREDIENTS

12-16 oz pasta – cooked & drained

1 cup potato – cubed

1/2 cup carrots – sliced

1 cup raw cashews – soaked 4-6 hours or overnight

1/2 small onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – sliced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

3 oz diced green chilies (from a can – spice level is your call) – plus extra as garnish

3 oz jalapenos  (from a can – spice level is your call)

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

2 TBS turmeric

S&P

1/4 cup vegan cheese shreds (I used Daiya) – TOTALLY optional

1-2 cups panko or other bread crumbs

Cilantro as garnish (optional)

Fresh jalapeno slices – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook & drain the pasta.  Set aside.

In the same pot, boil the carrots & potatoes about ten minutes or until very soft.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the onions until soft then add the garlic & saute another minute.

In a blender – puree everything except the pasta.  Puree until VERY smooth.  You might need to add some water to thin it out so it blends well.  Season to taste.

In the pot you used to cook the pasta – toss the pasta with the cheese sauce.  Put into a casserole pan & cover with panko.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until the bread crumbs begin to brown.

Serve with extra chilies and/or jalapenos & a pinch of chili powder.  Cilantro might be nice, too.

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Vegan Stove Top Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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OK – this vegan mac & cheese thing is a work in progress.  My first effort was my Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese – seen immediately above – steaming away.  That one there relied heavily on nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor but nutritional yeast has a very specific flavor & is not a hit with everyone – so – I made up a new recipe using far less of it.  You could even eliminate it altogether.  This one relies more on the green chilies and jalapeno for flavor – the way movie theater nachos kinda do.  Again – this is not going to fool a cheese-eater into believing they are eating real cheese but for vegans & for those of us weaning our way there – this is pretty good stuff!   This is the stove-top version.  I will post a baked version tomorrow.

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Vegan Stove Top Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

12-16 oz pasta – cooked & drained

1 cup potato – cubed

1/2 cup carrots – sliced

1 cup raw cashews – soaked 4-6 hours or overnight

1/2 small onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – sliced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

3 oz diced green chilies (from a can – spice level is your call) – plus extra as garnish

3 oz jalapenos  (from a can – spice level is your call)

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

2 TBS turmeric

S&P

1/4 cup vegan cheese shreds (I used Daiya) – TOTALLY optional

Cilantro as garnish (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

First of all – this recipe makes more “cheese” than you will likely need for your pasta – so be prepared to use some as a nacho dip or something.  I made a lot so I could try baking it, too.  Those results soon.

Cook & drain the pasta.  Set aside.

In the same pot, boil the carrots & potatoes about ten minutes or until very soft.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the onions until soft then add the garlic & saute another minute.

In a blender – puree everything except the pasta.  Puree until VERY smooth.  You might need to add some water to thin it out so it blends well.  Season to taste.

In the pot you used to cook the pasta – toss the pasta with the cheese sauce.  Stir & heat through.

Serve with extra chilies and/or jalapenos & a pinch of chili powder.  Cilantro might be nice, too.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have never had a vegan mac & cheese that I liked.  In fairness, I think the only one I have tried was the mock Kraft at Doomie’s here in Hollywood.  Their vegan Big Mac (above) is a revelation but the mac & cheese is underwhelming to the extreme.

There are lots of ways to make vegan mac & cheese.  Some use raw cashews, soaked overnight & pureed.  Others use sweet potatoes.  This one uses carrots, potatoes & nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast has many health benefits and can be purchased in bulk at health food stores & places like Whole Foods.  It is a yellowy, flaky powder & has a nutty cheesy flavor and – it seems – is one of those things you either love or hate.  This mac & cheese tastes primarily of nutritional yeast so, if you are a hater, you won’t like this.  Lots of blogs recommend easing into using nutritional yeast slowly & developing a palate for it.  I liked it right away and so did my friend, Rose, so you might fall into that category, too.  You can dip your finger in some & taste it to see where it falls for you on the flavor appeal scale.

I could not find raw cashews so I used roasted ones & just boiled them along with the vegetables.  It worked fine.

This is a very creamy dish & seems pretty healthy – as mac & cheese goes.  I just need to impress upon vegan newbies that this does not taste like Kraft or cheddar.  It is a very reasonable substitute – like Diet Coke for Coke or Garden burgers for real burgers.  These things do not trick anyone into believing they are the real thing but they are great substitutes.  I will admit – I used a boatload of Crystal hot sauce on mine & it helped a lot.  That isn’t really a cheat because I use hot sauce on all mac & cheese.  So – if there are things you like on your regular mac & cheeses – use those things on this one, too.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite

INGREDIENTS

12 oz dry pasta

1 cup raw potato (I used fingerling but any white potato will do)

2 carrots

1/3 cup cashews (raw or roasted)

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

3 TBS coconut milk

Pepper to taste

Smoked paprika

Parsley – chopped

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