When VegNews editors accepted the invitation to the annual Factory Farm Awareness Coalition’s Vegan Mac Down competition, we knew we were up for some great vegan mac and cheese. But this super-cheesy, Brussels sprouts-loaded recipe—by Kyle and Ashley Knies of Northern California-based vegan catering company From the Garden—stole the show, the crown, and our hearts.
What you need:
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 large leek, sliced into thin rings
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut to same size as Brussels sprouts
16 ounces large pasta shells
1 tablespoon onion powder
⅓ cup glutinous rice flour (such as Mochiko)
½ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup pasta cooking water, divided
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
1 package Miyoko’s vegan mozzarella, cut in small pieces
3 tablespoons white miso
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon vegan lactic acid (optional)
What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into a large saucepan, melt remaining ½ cup butter over medium heat. Add leeks, salt, and pepper, and sauté over medium heat until softened. Set aside.
2. Heat a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, salt generously and add Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Allow water to return to boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove vegetables from pot with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and rinse with cold water to prevent from over-cooking. Set aside.
3. In the same pot, cook noodles in boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Set aside.
4. For the cheese sauce, into a large saucepan, melt remaining ½ cup butter over medium-low heat. Add onion powder and glutinous rice flour and whisk constantly for two minutes, allowing flour to bubble and get slightly toasty. Add nutritional yeast, turmeric and paprika. Whisk to combine (mixture will be dry). Add ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and coconut milk. Continue to whisk until smooth, and thickened, about 5 minutes. Add vegan mozzarella and stir to melt.
5. In a small bowl, dissolve miso in ¼ cup pasta water until smooth. Add mustard, hot sauce, and miso mixture into cheese sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid burning. If sauce seems too thick, add additional pasta cooking water to achieve desired consistency. Add lactic acid, and season with salt and pepper.
6. Into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, add noodles, leeks, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cheese sauce, and stir gently to combine. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.