Macaroni and cheese from a blue box conjures a certain kind of American nostalgia that many of us still harbor — even those of us who might use the word “foodie” and can make homemade mac from scratch.
Miyoko Schinner, author of “The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples” ($22.99, Ten Speed Press), admits a soft spot for that bright orange cheese sauce, but she also wanted a DIY vegan alternative that would be just as easy to mix with water or a dairy substitute on a busy school night (it would also be tasty made with milk if you’re not vegan).
After you make this dry mix, which yields enough for the equivalent of five boxes of the store-bought stuff, cook 1 cup of dry macaroni and drain. Combine 1/3 cup of the mix with 1 cup water or unsweetened nondairy milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute, then toss with hot cooked macaroni.
Schinner also points out that this versatile vegan “cheese” sauce mix is great for casseroles. To make one, combine leftover pasta, potatoes or grains with vegetables and some of the dry cheese mix. Add a little water and additional spices and then bake. Feel free to use it in soups or to make a sauce for serving on top of broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower.
Make-Your-Own Macaroni and Cheese Mix
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. organic sugar
2 tsp. powdered mustard
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. onion powder
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until a powder is formed. There should not be any discernible chunks or large granules of cashews, so this may take 3 to 4 minutes of processing. Store in a jar or portion out into 1/3-cup increments and put in zip-top bags; store in the pantry for a month or two or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Makes 1 2/3 cups, or enough to coat the equivalent of 5 store-bought boxes instant macaroni and cheese.
— From “The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples” by Miyoko Schinner ($22.99, Ten Speed Press)