vegan mac & cheese

I've been wanting to try this recipe from my cooking bible, Vegan Comfort Food, for ages but only finally got around to making it last weekend. The original recipe called for baking the macaroni and sauce with bread crumbs sprinkled on top, but I had another plan. I used to LOVE Kraft macaroni & cheese when I was a kid, especially the ones that came in characters (they tasted better than the spirals & elbows, I swear!) so I tried to mimic that instead. I bought a box of Kraft, discarded the cheese powder packet, and cooked it according to the directions. While that was on the stove, I made the sauce. This recipe made WAY too much sauce, so I recommend cutting it in 1/2, if not more, unless you're feeding an army..

You'll need:
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 medium carrot, peeled & diced
1 medium onion, diced
2/3 c. cashews
2 tsp salt
2.5 c. water
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 c. oil (I used olive oil, canola is probably better)

Combine the potatoes, carrot, onion and water in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until the water boils. Then turn the heat down to simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Then mix the veggies, the water they were cooked in, cashews, salt, mustard, garlic and oil in a blender and process until creamy!

For a real Kraft look you could add some food coloring or tumeric to give it more of an intense orangey-yellow color. Mine was more of a light yellow, which come to think of it, is probably better if you're going the classy mac & cheese route, not the 99 cent boxed mac and cheese route.

Now, I haven't tasted real cheese in almost 10 years, but I think it tasted exactly like the real thing! For some reason, even when I used to eat dairy cheese (albeit only on pizza & in the Kraft mac & cheese) it always kind of grossed me out. So this was really nice to have the same flavor and consistency, but know that it was only veggies & nuts! That's one of the things that I love about cooking from scratch. When you see all of the ingredients that go into a meal, you're more at ease eating the food. If I know exactly what's in the food I'm eating, I'm less hesitant to take the first bite of something new! :)

ps. don't forget to enter my $50 modcloth giveaway! :)