Nippy Vegan Mac and Cheese Casserole

I love Daiya, I really do, but I also love good nippy flavours, and Daiya is a mellow, versatile cheese. Thankfully, because of it’s versatility, it’s easy to modify your Daiya recipes to be more or less nippy, depending on your preferences. In this case, the nip comes from miso, tahini, nutritional yeast, good dijon, and good dark tamari. It sounds like a lot, but this pulls together in about 20 mins, minus the baking time. You can, of course, enjoy it without the final baking step. I like it both ways.

Nippy Vegan Mac and Cheese Casserole
Serves 4 as a main course (please eat it with a salad… or something green :P)

2 cups macaroni or small pasta of your choice
1 package of Daiya Cheddar
2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
3 tbsp Earth Balance
9 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 tsp Spike seasoning
2 tbsp cashew cream or butter
2 tbsp light miso paste
2 tbsp really good quality white wine dijon
2 tsp tahini
2 tsp good quality dark tamari
a grind or two of pepper

Topping:

2 cups bread cubes
1/3 cup Daiya cheddar
spray oil
paprika
Spike seasoning

Put your pasta water on to boil, and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, melt Earth Balance over medium heat. Stir in nutritional yeast to form a thick paste. Slowly add two cups of the soy milk, mixing it well into the nutritional yeast/Earth Balance paste. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and immediately turn down the heat to low. Now, add the Daiya to the sauce slowly, stirring as you go. By now the water should be boiling, so add the pasta and give it a stir. Meanwhile, combine all the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1/2 cup of soy milk, but not including the broccoli, in your mini blender, or whatever you use for blending things in your house. Blend until smooth, and add it to the cheese sauce, mixing well. Check for seasoning and add more of things as you see fit. Remember, all the flavours will dilute a bit when combined with the pasta, so they should be extra flavourful now. When your pasta is almost but not quite done, add the broccoli florets to the pasta water. Let it come back to a boil, then drain extremely well- let it hang out in the colander for a while and give it a few good tosses. Put the pasta and broccoli back in the dry pot, and pour cheese sauce over. Use your discretion here, I prefer really saucy mac and cheese, but you might not. Prep a baking pan by spraying it well with oil. Pour pasta and sauce mixture in the pan, up to the brim. Top with bread cubes, give them a quick spray of oil, sprinkle Daiya, paprika, and a bit of Spike seasoning over top, and bake for about 20-30 minutes. If you don’t already, you may want to line the bottom of your stove with tinfoil, since this may bubble over.

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Lemon-Garlic Beefless Tips and Broccoli with Wild Rice and Daikon Sprouts

Have you had Gardein’s Beefless Tips? They are so. Very. Delicious. Tonight, the boy was craving broccoli and beefless tips, and I was too sick/tired to cook anything that I had planned, so he won. We had some wild rice blend kicking around, a mix of wild rice, red rice, and brown rice. I also decided that some peppery daikon sprouts would offset all that earthiness nicely, and it really worked well. These sprouts are gorgeous, perfect, tiny little leaves in purple and green. They taste just like daikon too. Which is awesome, by the way, if you haven’t had it. Just like a radish.

Lemon-Garlic Beefless Tips and Broccoli with Wild Rice and Daikon Sprouts
Serves 4

1 package Gardein Beefless Tips, or any fake beef
1 1/3 cups wild rice mix
1 head broccoli, florets and young stems, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 small red onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup daikon sprouts

Get the rice going in your cooker, or according to directions on the stove. About five minutes before the rice is set to be done and you have everything mise en place, add the vegan butter, lemon pepper, tamari, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and broccoli. Stir, add a splash of water if it’s looking dry, and put the lid back on. In a hot, oiled skilled, add red onion and beefless tips. Cook, turning a few times, until the onion is browning and the beefless tips are browned on all sides. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Push beefless tips off to the side of the pan, leaving most of the garlic and onion in the center of the pan. By now, the rice and broccoli should be ready, so add them to the center of your pan with the onions and garlic, and stir them in, trying not to mix in the tips. Serve by placing a quarter of the rice and broccoli mix under a quarter of the beefless tips, and top with a quarter of the sprouts. Or more. You can’t really have too many sprouts, you know.

Vegetarian cat approves of this dish