Total time: 30 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes
Photo by Vanessa Rees
This is a beautiful bright orange mac, flavored with pepperoni type pizza seasonings; fennel, thyme, and oregano. I used to call it Pizza Mac & Cheese, actually! I’ve written a lot about vegan Mac & Cheese in the past, so I’ll skip all the broohaha, and just tell you to check out the latest Make It Vegan video and then get your mac on! For roasted brussel sprout directions, use this recipe.
~I always have a jar of roasted red peppers on hand, but making your own doesn’t take much time or effort. If you’ve got the oven on to cook something else, anywhere between 350° and 425°F, simply sneak in a pepper or three on a small baking pan. Roast whole for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pepper appears collapsed, then transfer to a paper bag immediately and close the bag up securely. This will steam it, so that when cool the skin comes off easily. Once you get the skin off, open the pepper up (if it hasn’t already broken open) and discard the seeds. Voilà!
~If you don’t have any pizza seasoning laying around, simply use these spices: 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed or ground fennel, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic)
~You can make this a baked mac, if you prefer! Transfer the whole shebang to an 8×8 casserole and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
~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.
1/2 lb macaroni or other small pasta
3/4 cups unroasted cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 roasted red peppers (jarred or homemade)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons pizza seasoning (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Preheat a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Saute onions in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender or food processor.
Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, red peppers, tomato paste, pizza seasoning, salt, mustard and turmeric. Blend until very smooth. Scrape down the sides every 30 seconds or so and test for smoothness.
Transfer the sauce in the blender back to the sauce pot where you cooked the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Taste for salt. It should taste slightly salty because you’re going to be pouring it on the pasta.
The pasta should be done while the sauce is thickening, so drain and place pasta back in the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.
When sauce is thickened, add it to the pasta in the pot, and use a large slotted spoon to mix well, taking care not to break the pasta. Serve!