Friday, April 26, 2013

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese


Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
The ultimate of ultimates in comfort food is Mac & Cheese! Everyone young and old, vegan or non-vegan LOVE Mac & Cheese and are always looking for a taste of this traditional dish. I like to change up the flavors from time to time to give the traditional recipe a nice twist. This recipe gives you that rich ooey gooey texture that Mac & Cheese is supposed to have but with southern vegan pimento cheese and bacon notes. I also add a cheesy crunchy topping to just make the whole dish even cheesier and keep you coming back for more. Sure to be a new craveable recipe and a staple in your house. Enjoy! 

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Ingredients
-1 cup prepared vegan pimento cheese (recipe below)
-2/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk
-1 1/2 cups grated Vegan Cheese, I used Daiya (Cheddar & Jack)
-2 Tablespoons vegan cream cheese
-1 to 2 Tablespoons vegan bacon or bacon bits, finely minced (depending on how much you want) 
-1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
-Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
-3/4 teaspoon parsley, dried or fresh (finely minced)
-2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Topping
-1/2 cup grated vegan cheese, I used Daiya Cheddar & Jack mixed
-1/2 Tablespoon vegan parmesan
-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs 
-Salt & Pepper, to taste
-1 1/2 Tablespoon oil or melted vegan butter 

Directions

Heat  oven to 350 Degrees

Heat a medium, dutch oven or sauce pan over medium heat. Add prepared pimento cheese and melt  down until smooth about 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut milk that has been warm in the microwave for 2 minutes, continuing to whisk while adding. Gently bring cheese and coconut milk mixture to a light bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the mixture to combine, then stir in the vegan cream cheese and whisk to combine. Season sauce with nutritional yeast and salt &pepper. Whisk in and taste and adjust for seasoning. Set aside and add pasta when its ready.

Vegan Pimento Cheese Sauce for Mac & Cheese
In a pot, cook your elbow pasta 8 minutes or to al dente, with a little bite. Drain and set aside to add to cheese sauce when done. (Do NOT rinse you pasta, you want that starch to stick to the sauce)

Add cooked pasta and shredded cheese to the sauce and coat completely mixing into the cheese sauce. 

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese being mixed
Once pasta is mixed with the cheese, add your minced bacon pieces and combine. 

Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese Mixed
Topping
In a small bowl combine the vegan cheese, vegan Parmesan, nutritional yeast, panko bread crumbs, parsley, salt & pepper, lightly mix ingredients until cheese is separated and mixture is combined. Add Oil and mix again until everything is coated.

Assembly
Transfer mac and cheese into a baking dish and top with vegan cheese and bread crumb topping.

Pre-Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Pre-Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Place baking sheet in a 375 Degree oven for 20 minutes or until panko crumbs lightly brown and cheese melts.
Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Baked Vegan Pimento-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Take out of the oven and let cool until ready to serve, serve with salad or your favorite vegan proteins. Enjoy!


\Vegan Pimento Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

-1/3 cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya Cheddar cheese
-1 cup grated vegan Daiya  Jack cheese
-1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used homemade)
-1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-2 teaspoon ground or finely minced red bell pepper (heaping)
-3 tablespoons pimentos, small minced pieces
-1 teaspoon finely grated onion
-Cracked black or white pepper (optional), to taste

Directions

Using an food processor, blend all ingredients (except pimentos) until smooth and fluffy. Once combined for 1 to 2 minutes, lightly pulse the pimentos in for 10 to 15 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. 

-Amy