Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese with "Bacon"

When I first became a vegan, there were only a few things I missed. Cheese was on the top of the short list. I must have tried every brand of vegan cheese and none of them came close to my ooey, gooey or creamy favorites. I gave up and made sauces with nutritional yeast when I needed a cheese-like taste for creamy sauces. When I came across Chef Chloe’s Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese, I wanted to try it but the ingredient list made me skeptical. Then I remembered the first vegan mac I made was from her site and it was pretty good. That helped me get past my reservations. I added some additional spices and nutritional yeast to my version but otherwise, stuck pretty close to the original recipe. You know what? I was pleasantly surprised. Shocked actually. It actually tasted kinda cheesy. I would make it again but I would use butter. Sorry to my vegan friends. I’m sure you’re saying if I use butter, I might as well go back to cheese and you’re probably right. That said, the sauce offers a healthier alternative even with a little butter. The oil in the roux was just a bit much for me. Here’s the recipe with my tweaks. The original can be found here.

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese
1 pound tri-color rotini (or any pasts you want to use)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1 cup mashed cooked peeled sweet potato, about 1 medium peeled red sweet potato
3 ½ cups almond or soy milk
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 to 3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 slices tempeh bacon



Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, make a roux or paste by whisking the olive oil and flour over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Then add mashed sweet potato, almond milk, salt, garlic, mustard, soy sauce, and lime juice to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the sauce thickens. While sauce is thickening, cook tempeh bacon. Make sure to continue whisking sauce until smooth, but don’t worry if some sweet potato pulp remains. (I strained my sauce to remove the pulp). Chop tempeh bacon. Add sauce, bacon and rosemary to pasta, and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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