Many more people in the UK are turning to a vegan lifestyle and according to a recent study more than half a million people are turning to this way of life. We are not vegans although it has crossed my mind on more than one occasion. In this house, we tend to eat vegan or vegetarian meals during the week and then on the weekends we can afford to eat organic meat. That’s the main reason I choose mainly plant based dinners during the week so we can afford a little more luxury at the end of the week. Plus, I now feel healthier for not having meat with every meal and it’s better for the environment too.
Apparently, we are now what is known as a flexitarian. It means we have cut down on our meat consumption and about a third of the population are now choosing to eat less meat. For me, it’s about eating food that tastes great. Nowadays I want to eat the food that my grandmother used to cook. Meals made with lots of homegrown vegetables and fruits. I always remember my nan stewing the bones of a chicken to make stock for a lunch time soup. It’s what I now crave, making my own stock whether it’s from animals or vegetables or both, it’s so much more rewarding. It’s also so much more delicious.
It has now became a passion of mine to experiment with different types of food and I love thinking of an idea then searching for ingredients to make it. Cooking has always been a pleasure for me but now I find it an absolute joy when I invent my own recipe. I thought of this recipe because my cousin cannot have gluten nor dairy and we used to eat this as children when my Nan used to make it. My cousin has tried my Cashew Nut Cream Cheese so I really think she is going to enjoy this dinner. Well, worth a try.
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Baking tray
- Frying pan
- Large saucepan x 2
- Mixing bowl
- Stirring spoon
- Pie dish
- Cashew nut cream cheese x 250 ml
- Oat milk x 100 mls or more
- Leek x 1
- Carrots x 1
- Brown rice pasta x 300g (or wholemeal pasta)
- Cherry tomatoes x 200g
- Green beans x 4 large handfuls
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Nutritional yeast x 2 tbsp
- Sesame seeds x 2 tbsp
- Preheat the oven to 180°.
- Start by slicing the leek and grating the carrots.
- Weigh and measure the other ingredients.
- Put the tomatoes into the baking tray and add a good drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss them together.
- Place under a hot grill for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the skins start to split.
- Boil the pasta as per the packet instructions.
- Heat the frying pan on a medium to high heat.
- Drizzle more olive oil in the pan and add the leek and fry until they soften.
- Then add in the grated carrots and fry for a further 3 minutes or so and set aside.
- In the large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the oat milk.
- Add 100 mls or more of the milk to make the cheese sauce to a consistency you like.
- Now add in the leek and carrots
- Boil the green beans for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile drain the pasta.
- If the skins have started to split on the tomatoes remove from the grill and set aside.
- Put the drained pasta into the mixing bowl with the cream cheese mixture.
- Mix them together and add to the pie dish.
- Now drain the cooked green beans and add them to the pasta and cheese sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper and mix again.
- Sprinkle over the nutritional yeast and sesame seeds.
- Put into the preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until the mixture has browned on top.
- Then remove and serve with the grilled cherry tomatoes.
Vegan Mac and Cheese may not taste exactly like the original but it does come close to it. There are clean plates in this house when that dinner is served. Also, there is not too much complaining either from a certain little man. It’s a great dish served warm or cold. We had this for dinner and then for left overs the next day without too much complaining. The bonus with this meal is you could make the Cashew Nut Cream Cheese at the weekend and freeze it. Then defrost before you want to make this meal. I would not recommend freezing this dish as it’s made with brown rice pasta. If you are using any other type of pasta then I think it would be OK. Always check the label before you freeze though. However you decide to enjoy this dinner, as always, enjoy.