Quatro Vegan Formaggio ~ Vegan Shells & Cheese

I’ll tell you up front that I was so excited about how well, and by well I mean cheesy this dish came out, that I dug right in and finished it all before I remembered the small matter of taking photos. Oops.

Forgive me?

Since the Hubs and I still do the Midnight Tokyo Diner dinner choices, our meal choices are at the mercy of that on any given night, which means some nights we have more not-so-healthy meals than others.

This is one of those nights.

He requested cheesy mac & cheese and I may have gone a little overboard, but here we are.

The truth is that I like to experiment with different vegan foods when they hit the market and well, my most recent haul included several different types of vegan cheese and since my husband LOVES mac & cheese, I knew this request would come, sooner or later.

So when he made his request, I had my marching orders.

Let’s start with the ingredients list for this meal because prepping everything will make this vegan recipe less daunting, I swear. Gather your ingredients so it’s all on hand when you need it.

The first part of this recipe is pretty simple because it just requires you to sauté the shallots & garlic. I tend to go oil-free but if you need the extra fat, just make sure that you don’t go overboard or you’ll end up with an unfortunate coating of grease after you’ve baked your vegan mac & cheese.

For the pasta, you’ll just boil it in salted water according to the package instructions. I like whole wheat pasta best because it always has a nice bite to it, but choose whatever vegan pasta you like, just be careful to read the ingredients because companies love to sneak in milk powder or eggs into EVERYTHING.

Now…on to the cheese!

One of my latest vegan food purchases was just like Mozzarella Shreds from VIolife, so you know this was one of my quatro formaggio-s. The others include: tofu in water (which acted almost like a ricotta), vegan cream cheese and an almost vegan cheddar that was actually tomato & basil flavored.

The mozzarella shreds were already done but I had to do the hard work for the others and this is my prep plate.

This is the tofu in water (non-salted) after a few turns in the food processor with lemon juice, smoked paprika and nutritional yeast. If you need to get it softer, add a little plant milk (I like unsweetened almond but use what you like). Or if you’re lucky and have a wide range of tofu products at your local grocery, you could just use silken tofu and spin that around the food processor/blender for this creation. It won’t be as grainy, for sure, but this was thick and creamy which made a perfect blend for the vegan cheese sauce.

Add the 2 shredded cheeses (reserving some for the top) to the tofu mixture and place in a big pot, preferably the one used to boil the pasta. Set the heat on medium and add garlic & shallots and pasta. Stir until blended. Add the vegan cream cheese and stir well, until blended.

Easy vegan Mac & Cheese

Transfer to a casserole dish, but you’ll notice in the photos I used individual ramekins just to make sure we didn’t go overboard on portion sizes. Ramekins are a great way to indulge in the vegan recipes you love without breaking the scale!

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each ramekin and garnish with whatever you like, I chose diced jalapeno peppers and scallions.

You can always tell my serving from the EXTRA kick of spice!

Bake at 200c/400f for about 15 to 20 minutes, or however long it takes the vegan cheese on top to get nice & melty. If you don’t want to cook it too long, set the heat on high and put the baking dish close to the heat source.

Final step? Get your Nom-Nom on!

And if you’re looking for a nice cold drink to wash it down with, might I suggest a Cuba Libre, of sorts? Mix Jack with the sarsaparilla and the juice of one lime wedge.

This particular brand of Jack is vegan friendly and not made or processed with animal products so…give it a whirl!

Whatcha think?

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