Total time: 30 minutes || Active time: 30 minutes
I don’t know how this happened, but I guess I’m a tomato farmer. Tomatoes are all I’ve thought about all summer. If I’m traveling, I don’t wonder about my boyfriend and cats, I wonder about my tomatoes. Are they getting enough nutrients? Are they getting the right amount of water? Do they need trimming? Are there any pests pestering them? And, most importantly, do they miss me like I miss them?
After a few snafus this past Spring (who expects snow in May?!) my babies finally got going. And even now in mid-September, most of my plants are still producing juicy orbs of ridiculous deliciousness. So of course I’ve been using them in everything. And, well, one thing led to another and I guess I don’t have to tell you, that this is how BLT Mac & Cheeze was born.
Being late summer, I really wanted this mac to be gardeny. If you have a garden, or a CSA, or just want to use some in-season produce from the grocery, maybe you’ll appreciate that. So I made the “B” out of eggplant (remember: vegans will make bacon out of anything.) For the “L”, arugula is always prolific in the garden, plus I love its muskiness, which goes perfectly with the bright and smoky flavors of the other ingredients.
The “cheeze” sauce is just something I threw together, very similar to the Chipotle Mac, but without the pepperiness and perhaps a little more noochy than usual. It’s just a nice creamy backdrop to the more assertive flavors its tossed with.
And there you have it: BLT Mac & Cheeze. I hope your summer has been as fruitful as mine (literally and figuratively) and I can’t wait to share some fall recipes with you soon!
~I used gluten-free noodles here, and actually, I usually do with Mac-N-Cheeze. I just prefer them. They stand up beautifully to the sauce, and tend not to get mushy as leftovers. But you obvs can use whichever noodles you love! I recommend Tinkyada brand. (I used shells, but they have a macaroni, too.)
~If you forgot to soak the cashews, have no fear. You can boil them for the same creamy effect, and still have this on the table in 30 minutes. Just submerge in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain, and proceed.
~Oh and hey, if you’re doing the oil-free thing, you’ll be happy to note that this recipe is completely oil free if you leave the cooking spray off of the eggplant bacon recipe.
4 cups baby arugula
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or chopped regular tomatoes)
1 recipe Eggplant BaconFor the sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours (see note above)
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Now toss in the arugula, tomatoes and eggplant bacon, leaving a little extra aside to garnish if you like. Serve!
Wow! I can’t wait to try this– and I’m not even a vegetarian or vegan (yet…)! Love the idea for the ‘eggplant bacon’ to add some kick! I think I will throw in some jalapenos and red pepper flakes, too, but mainly because i do to nearly everything…
I made this tonight and it was so tasty! I only wish I would have doubled the eggplant bacon. It’s a definite “make again”.
yeah, so this was pretty divine, even without the garlic and its like, the first recipe ive ever made without garlic! next time ill truly cut my eggplant thinner. i was nervous about cutting it too thin but the thinnest ones came out best!
I’m going to make this for a work lunch on Wednesday. I’m going to heat it up/keep it warm in a crock pot, which I’ve never used before. I’m thinking that I should make the recipe and warm it up once I get to work. I’m thinking of doubling the recipe. Anyone have suggestions on when to start heating it?
Is this enough to be eaten alone, or is there a suggestion of what it could be paired with??
My family is new to eating vegan and we have a few nut allergies, any suggestions on substitutions for all the tree nut ingredients in so many of vegan recipies?
I think the nuts are used because of the creaminess they provide. You could maybe experiment with a cream sauce with a whole wheat-and-olive oil rue and soy milk? Wheat germ is also kind of high in fat, so maybe throw some of that in if it goes well with the recipe?
So, I’ve made this twice now, and I love it. The first time I followed the recipe exactly. I had always wanted to try the eggplant Bacon, but in Canada had not seen liquid smoke (granted I hadn’t looked very hard), but when I was in Boulder, CO it just jumped off the shelf at me (and it was only a dollar, so I figured what the hell, I’d try it). I honestly don’t love it (the liquid smoke). I figure just plain ol’ salt does the trick. Anyway, I made it again last night, but having neither the eggplant, the smoke, nor the time, I replaced the eggplant bacon with some store-bought (but made locally) orangic tamari-baked tofu (I mean really baked – the stuff is chewy). It worked really, really well. So there is another option, and you get a bit more protein too. Thank you Isa for all the delicious cheeze sauce recipes!
Do you think this would taste good with quinoa instead of pasta? My SO works in a restaurant and quinoa mac ‘n’ cheese is on the menu, and I’m itching to vegan it up and make it t home!
Is this a meal you can freeze? My partner and I are both very busy people, and are always looking for ways to plan our meals ahead. It looks really yummmy.
This is our new favorite recipe! The only change that I made was the addition of garlic!! It was so absolutely delicious! Sinful really!!
This looks so good. But I have a nut allergy.How can we replace the cashews ?
If you used seeds like pepita or sunflower it would give an unappealing color but if that doesn’t bother you, you could maybe try it
Sooo good! Thanks for this easy delicious recipe.
I just made the cashew cheese sauce from this recipet – actually to try it on pizza tonight – and I may eat it all by the spoonful before then. YUM. Thank you!
Victorious Vegan Gen129
I made this and it is ridiculously, amazingly YUMMMY!!!!! You don’t need to add anything else to this recipe. The ingredients are perfect. Thanks Isa its a keeper!
I’m the same way with my plants, to the point that I don’t like traveling in the summer. Tomatoes just taste better when you grow them yourself.
I made this recipe a couple of days ago, and it was delicious. Then I sent the link to a fellow veg*n who is craving something cheesy. I think I’ll make the sauce again and freeze it so I have it ready to go next time. Thanks for posting!!
Making it for lunch tomorrow. Thank Isa for making vegan cooking so awesome!!!
Made this for dinner tonight and I could honestly eat this everyday, so good! Love the cookbook, too!