Tag Archive for vegan mac and cheese

The Cheesiest! Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Now, not to sound like I’m totally fawning, but like many of you, I really love my Instant Pot. I got one at Christmas, and I have yet to put it away. It lives on my counter, and I use it a few times a week. It’s especially revolutionized how I cook beans–40 minutes, no soaking and done! It’s kind of amazing.

Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

I started making Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot a few months ago. The non-vegan kind goes like this:

  1. Water and pasta in the pot with a little butter, cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Release. Stir in milk and shredded cheese, put the lid back on for a few minutes.
  3. Stir, adjust seasonings, serve.

For real, it basically takes the same amount of time that it would take me to make a boxed mac and cheese, yet it’s homemade and soooo much better.

To make a Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, you could use a similar process, but just swap out the cheese, milk and butter for vegan versions, but I decided to take it one step further.

In my cookbook, Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafabathere’s a recipe for vegan mac and cheese. Basically, you make a “cheese” sauce, cook the pasta, then combine the two. This recipe is a take on that one.

The Cheesiest Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The base of the sauce is carrots (sounds weird, but the colour is perfect, plus hidden veggies–WIN) and cashews, with some non-dairy milk and, of course, nooch for flavour. Is there anything nutritional yeast cannot do?

In the cookbook version, you make the sauce on the stovetop, and cook the pasta in a separate pot. You could do that here, as well, but why? If you can double up and cook both at once, you’ll save time. You do, however, need a small pan that will fit inside your IP, so if you don’t have that, just cook the sauce elements first, remove, and then cook the pasta.

The cheesiness of this Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese comes from the fact that it has double cheese–the creamy, cheesy sauce, and shredded non dairy cheese. Because why have one when you can have both, amIright?

Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups pasta (I like Catelli Smart–not a paid endorsement)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1-2 carrots (about 1/2 cup), peeled and cut into coins
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 cup vegan cheese shreds

Method: 

  1. Place 2.5 cups of water and 2 cups of pasta, along with the vegan butter in your Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top of the pasta and water.
  2. In a smaller pot (small enough to fit inside your IP), place the carrots and cashews, and add 1/2 cup of water. Cover with foil, and place inside the pot, on top of the trivet.
  3. Place the lid on, ensuring it’s sealed, and set the pot on the manual setting for 4 minutes. After the cycle is complete, release the pressure manually and remove the lid. Remove the carrot/cashew mixture from the pot and place it in a blender. Remove the trivet, and stir the pasta well.
  4. To the carrot mixture in the blender, add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well until smooth.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce mixture back into the pot, and add the vegan cheese. Stir well. Turn the sauté feature on for a few minutes, stirring often, just to activate the flours and thicken the sauce and allow the cheese shreds to melt.
  6. Serve immediately.

Boxed Vegan Mac and Cheese Taste-Test

Mac and cheese. The ultimate comfort food?? Discuss.

For me, it’s definitely one of my top go-tos for comfort food, maybe only eclipsed by the grilled-cheese-creamy-tomato-soup combo.

When I was kid, it was all blue-box, nuclear-orange cheese mac and cheese, but as I grew up and got older, I began making it from scratch. Scratch-made mac and cheese with a creamy bechamel, different kinds of cheeses, and crumbly topping… mmm… so very good.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with vegan options. I’ve done, in the past, a straight-up substitution mac and cheese, using a vegan cheese like Daiya in the place of the regular stuff, and a cashew-and-chickpea bechamel is my current fave.

But pre-prepared vegan mac and cheeses are now a thing, which is very convenient, especially when you’re in a hurry.

We still don’t have all the brands here in Canada yet, though. Earth Balance does one, and Annie’s, who currently makes my favourite non-vegan boxed mac and cheese, also makes one. These two I have not been able to get my hands on, but I’ll be picking some up on my next trip down south.

I found three convenience vegan mac and cheeses at my local Whole Foods: Road’s End Organics, Amy’s (in the freezer section) and Daiya.

Michael and I did a live taste-test on Facebook. You can watch that here.

Here are the results of our Vegan Mac and Cheese Taste-test:

3rd place: Road’s End Organics. Ugh. My face says it all. Do not buy this. It’s not good. First off, it’s made with whole wheat pasta, which, I suppose is good. More fibre, right? Then, it comes with a dry sauce packet. So, it’s the most like Kraft Dinner of the three; you boil the macaroni, then add water or non-dairy milk to the pan with the dry sauce packet, and then finally mix in the boiled macaroni. I found it got really thick and clumpy, and it didn’t taste very cheesy. Big disappointment.

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2nd place: Daiya. You boil the noodles, then add the sauce packet. This is a wet sauce packet, and it has that satisfying, nuclear-orange colour you’ve come to love. It also is nice and cheesy.

1st place: Amy’s. This one is microwaveable, or you can bake it in the oven. It’s also made with Daiya cheese, and bonus! It’s gluten free, as the noodles are made with rice. This had all the proper cheesiness we required.

Have you tried vegan mac and cheeses? I’d love to hear in the comments below which is your favourite brand and why.

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