Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Mac and "Cheese"



Once upon a time, I figured out a phenomenal vegan mac and cheese recipe.  I was waiting and waiting and waiting to start my blog and to work my way up to it one week.  Also, I knew I had to wait it out to make this recipe again, because it’s so good that I eat triple servings at every sitting.

Fast forward about a year.  I’ve been reading recipes left and right for pumpkin mac and cheese, and I have to say, I’ve been super intrigued (also, I’m totally obsessed with pumpkin).  Then, I came home one day to this delicious smell filling the apartment as my roommate baked some pumpkin mac and cheese in our oven.  Next, I spent the week of Thanksgiving at home and who did my mom invite over for Shabbat lunch while I was there?  Our vegan neighbors.



Obviously the stars had aligned and some cosmic force was telling me that I simply had to make my own pumpkin mac and cheese.   So I pulled out the vegan recipe that I had so lovingly created, slapped a can of pumpkin puree in the ingredient list, and got to work balancing out the flavors.

It was so worth it.  This amazing recipe features pumpkin (duh), and all its pumpkin-enhancing spices.  It also uses what I have to say is the best vegan cheese I’ve found thus far; Daiya vegan cheese style shreds.  No, it doesn’t taste like cheese, but it does mimic a lot of the flavor notes of cheese.  It’s also one of the few brands that actually melts, which is important when you’re making a cheesy sauce, like you do for baked mac and cheese.

If you’re not vegan, and you want to use real cheese here, go for it.  I would subtract the soy sauce (real cheese doesn't need the extra umami like soy cheese), but otherwise keep the recipe as is.  This creamy, pumpkiny dish is super satisfying and really just screams fall.  Pair it with something green and you’ve got yourself a great vegan meal. 



Pumpkin Mac and “Cheese”
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 box elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
2 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Daiya Mozzarella style cheese shreds
I cup Daiya Cheddar style cheese shreds
1 can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like heat)
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:
Caramelized onions.  I used 3 yellow onions for this dish.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F

1.   Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.   

2.  In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat and sprinkle in the flour.  Whisk for about 2 minutes to create a smooth roux.  The mixture should darken slightly during this time.




3.  Still whisking, add the hot almond milk slowly and cook for a minute or two more, until the mixture has thickened.   A good way to check is to dip a spoon into the mixture, then run your finger over the back of the spoon.  If the mixture does not run into the streak made by your finger, it’s thick and good to go.

4.  Add in the pumpkin puree and stir until smooth.  Keep it on the heat for just a minute or two, until the puree is warmed through.

5.  Take the almond milk mixture off the heat and stir in the vegan cheese, soy sauce, and spices.  Partially cover and let the mixture sit as the cheese melts.

6.  While waiting for the cheese to melt, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your macaroni.  Cook it just shy of al dente (subtract a minute or two from the al dente cooking time on the box).  Drain the noodles when they’re done.



7.  Once the cheese has fully melted (it will take a little longer with this stuff than with real cheese), taste and adjust any of the spices, as well as salt and pepper, to your liking.  The whole mixture should now have a nice, velvety texture to it.  Add the cooked macaroni (and the onions if you’re adding them) and stir well. Pour the whole mixture into a 9x13 baking dish, or a deeper casserole dish.

8.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the pasta. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned on the top.

Enjoy!

Now you see it...


Now you don't!

32 comments:

  1. Mmmm - looks delicious. I have one solitary pumpkin left - and he's becoming mac and cheese!

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  2. This looks absolutely delicious and perfectly creamy :) I am very curious to try pumpkin in my mac and cheese, thanks for posting this!

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  3. I avoid mac and cheese of just about any variety because I love it so and eat way too much!
    This looks delish. I need to try it and the holidays provides so many excuses.

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  4. Good for you! I would never have thought you could make mac and cheese totally vegan!

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  5. Hearty and creamy, what a great twist on a vegan comfort food!

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  6. This is such an unique recipe. I love pumpkin and this seems to be a nice spin on the classic mac and cheese!

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  7. This looks amazing! I am in love with Daiya - it is by far the best "cheese", can't wait to try this recipe out ( i can pretty much eat an entire pan of Mac n'Cheese by myself too!)

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  8. I'm lactose and have been craving 'cheese' I think its time to go for the fake stuff. This looks way too darn good.

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  9. I was so intrigued by this one! I would have never thought to add soy sauce but it seems like it would add a nice flavor. It looks soooo good. I would have never guessed that this pasta wasn't covered in actual cheese! Great recipe!

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  10. Looks great! Especially that crisp topping on top.

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  11. WOW! This looks just AMAZING! SO creative.

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  12. Made this with my bf last night and we both loved it. The vegan cheese and pumpkin come together nicely. Well done and thanks for a great recipe!

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  13. I LOVE PUMPKIN! I made this tonight along with pumpkin/black bean enchiladas.... AMAZING!!! Best mac n cheese I have had in a LONG time!! This will definitely be a frequent recipe in my house!

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    1. I'm so glad you like it! Pumpkin enchiladas sounds delish....I think I'll have to try that one soon...

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  14. I made this tonight and it is in the oven right now. I couldn't wait to taste it so i had a small bowl before I put it in. My two favorites Mac and cheese and Pumpkin!!! So far, it is delish!!! Can't wait for the timer to go off!!! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!!

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  15. My daughter is allergic to gluten and soy. I was thinking of making this recipe substituting the pasta with brown rice pasta, flour with GF flour and using GF bread crumbs. I just don't know what to use instead of soy sauce. Any suggestions? Has anyone else tried this replacing all of this stuff?? Thanks!

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    1. You could probably just leave it out. I added the soy sauce for a little more depth of flavor. If you're using real cheese, you can leave it out without missing anything. Even with a cheese substitute I think it will be just fine.

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  16. I am SO excited to make this dish for Thanksgiving! It looks amazing! To save on time, do you think it is possible to prepare this the night before and throw it in the oven the next day or is it best to prepare and cook it all at once? Thanks!

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    1. You could definitely prepare it the night before. I would leave the breadcrumbs off until you're ready to bake it, just to keep them from getting soggy.

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  17. Ew, like no offense but this did not taste good! It certainly looks good in you pics, but it takes awful! And I unfortunately have to take this to school for a project! Sounds like a good idea but didn't end up tasting good!

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that it didn't turn out well for you. I'd love to work with you to figure out why. Did you make substitutions for anything?

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  18. What is the measurement for the box of macaroni? Is it 16oz?

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  19. This looks amazing! If I were to prepare this the night before and bake it the next morning, do you think it would make the noodles soggy or even hard? Do you think its possible to make it in a slow cooker? Thank you for any suggestions. :)

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    1. I have no idea about the slow cooker, but I see no reason why you couldn't prep the dish the night before. Let me know how that turns out if you try it!

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  20. This is seriously the BEST THING EVER. I made it for all of my "Friendsgiving" celebrations where I would otherwise have nothing else to eat and it was the hit of the party! I gave you a shout out and reposted on my blog (post up tomorrow). Thanks so much for this!

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