I tricked my carnivore family into eating Vegan Mac and Cheese

I did it. Like, I, me, Ms. Pepsi and corned beef hash (in a former life) really did it! I made a vegan dinner that EVERYONE in my family truly loved! On a Saturday night when it would’ve been easy to cop out to my vegetarian February, I dug in, went to Whole Foods, scoured the Internet for a vegan Mac and cheese recipe and found one that, admittedly, made me initially uncomfortable. Cashews instead of cheese? I hate nuts, and the mere thought of blending them and cooking with them as a mozzarella/Colby Jack/cheddar substitute just sounds, well, wrong. But I am determined to do things I’ve never done before this year. I want to be intentional about my spiritual, emotional and physical health as well as my parenting, marriage, and business. In order to do so, I have to be bold, and making vegan macaroni and cheese is bold.

The words “vegan” and “cheese” should never be in the same sentence, but they are in this case. What I actually used was blended cashews – yes, nuts – with vegetables and stirred it with olive oil spread into the pasta. 

You can find the full recipe at the end of the post and you can also buy a Vitamix by clicking on the link in the photo play-by-play. 

Here’s a quick photo play by play on how to cook vegan mac and cheese:

Cook macaroni.

Dice potatoes, carrots, and scallions.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Boil vegetables til fork tender. Drain. Save 2 cups of water.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Add cashews, coconut milk, and cooked veggies to Vitamix – and blend til smooth. 

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water to make the texture look and feel like alfredo sauce.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Bake in muffin tins with panko. 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Vegan Mac and Cheese

As great as it looked and even though my resident taste-testing daughter approved, I still thought it might need some “crunch” at the top hence why I added the panko. Why did I bake all of this in a muffin tray you ask? Why not?!!! Plus I was concerned about the consistency. Remember I was trying to fool them. 

I chose to serve it with a side salad

Vegan Mac and Cheese

As I sat in on the table, I’ll admit that I was nervous. Two full weeks into our vegetarian February has gone relatively well and I didn’t want it to stop. My son would be the hardest to win over because he is a carnivore to the core, but he’s been a good sport so far and I didn’t want to let him down. I watched him take his first bite –  he did not know it had nuts in it – and then he took another and another.

“This is really good, mom. What’s in it?”

I smiled and was tempted to lie. He didn’t really want to know. But maybe it as a teachable moment.

“Cashews, potatoes, carrots and coconut milk.”

He looked at me, shrugged and kept eating.

My husband had now devoured three servings was eyeing a fourth but knew one of the twins had not eaten. Just knowing that he wanted more filled me with joy.

So there you have it. Vegan mac and cheese made by someone who would’ve NEVER imagined doing something like this. I was pumped to know it went over so well and encouraged to try it again and maybe another vegan dish or two or three. I gotta keep my husband’s heart healthy, my kids off the junk they’re peddled everywhere they go and me myself to a size 6. Happy healthy eating all!

 

I tricked my carnivore family into eating Vegan Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box of elbow macaroni (approx 12 oz)
  • Cook macaroni according to the box, drain and set to the side
  • Remember to wash and peel all of your vegetables.
  • Dice all vegetables the same size
  • 1 large potato (yellow or russets; not white) - peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots - peeled and diced
  • 2 scallions - diced
  • 1 cup of large raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 half a lemon, squeezed, no seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt & 1/2 teaspoon of pepper)

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the box. Typically 8-10 minutes in boiling water.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a stock pot, add 4 cups of water and bring to a rapid boil.
  4. Add all of your diced carrots, potatoes and scallions. Note: dice everything the same size so that it will cook at the same rate
  5. After about 15 minutes, remove the veggies but keep approximately 2 mugs of the water from the pot.
  6. If you have a blender like a Vitamix, you can blend the cashews with no problem. If you're using a standard blender, I would boil the cashews with the vegetables above.
  7. In your Vitamix, add all of the veggies, cashews and 1 mug of water. If your "cheese" is too thick add more water.
  8. Note: you want your "cheese" to look and feel like an alfredo sauce
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Mix cooked macaroni and "cheese" mixture
  11. Spray muffin pans with olive oil.
  12. Scoop in mac and cheese.
  13. In a separate bowl, melt approx 1/2 stick of your favorite "butter".
  14. Mix it with 2 cups of panko bread crumbs
  15. Sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese muffins
  16. Bake at 375 for approximately 20 - 25 minutes
  17. Serve and enjoy!
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Let's keep life yummy together!

33 comments

  1. karen says:

    Oooh – this looks so yummy! Love that its vegan. Hard to always find yummy meals that are vegan at times. And yes to panko! I’m a big fan!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  2. Elizabeth O. says:

    That’s awesome. Congratulations on the successful dinner! I love the fact that you pushed yourself to try the recipe. You’ll never know if it’s going to work unless you try!

  3. Allie says:

    That’s awesome that it was such a success! I love mac and cheese but every time I try to make any variation on it to make it healthier it ends up being a major fail. This is a great option for vegan mac and cheese lovers.

  4. Beeb Ashcroft says:

    haha I used to have to trick my husband into eating gluten-free until he realized after a few meals that it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Now, he actually prefers some meals to be gluten-free over “normal.”

  5. travel blogger says:

    I have to try this! I have never heard of Vegan mac and cheese. My husband is a true carnivore, and I would love to see his reaction to this.

  6. Jeanine says:

    I love stuff like this. My kids really eat anything, so its not hard for me to get them eating vegan meals. This looks delicious.

  7. carmela mempin says:

    These really sounds yummy 🙂 I would like to try these yummy recipe of your’s 🙂 Perfect to share with our love ones. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Kemba says:

    Ok, I am mid process making this for dinner. I had some butternut squash already cooked in the fridge so I added a little to the sauce for color. Also I swapped the pasta noodles for spaghetti squash (in addition to animal products also gave up sugar and processed food for lent). I will let you know you know how it goes. Fingers crossed.

  9. Top5life says:

    Total time only 45 minutes? And, the dish looks quite tasty. We’re an omnivore family with greater affinity towards non veg, but we’ll give this recipe a try.

  10. Valerie Robinson says:

    I trick my kids often by slippin in veggies wherever I can. These look amazing – no wonder they couldn’t resist

  11. Jenn Peters says:

    I love the title of this post <3 We aren't vegan, but I often try to trick my husband into eating more veggies. Incorporating spinach into smoothies and broccoli into everything else. It works sometimes 😉 But he's on to my game!

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