Vegan Mac 'n Cheese (aka #yogafail)

First things first- I normally shy away from the word "vegan" since it's such a highly-charged word.  I would much rather prefer to use the term 'plant-based,' but for some reason, "plant-based mac 'n cheese" just sounds strange, not sexy.  

Also for the record, I had grand plans to go to yoga tonight with my favorite teacher Pradeep. His classes land late in the day and go until 9:30pm-ish, which mean I have to plan hard that morning to pack

everything

(mat, clothes, towels, makeup remover, facewash, waterbottle, snacks, UGG boots, jacket for after class, you name it...).  Once everything is packed in my car, and I am registered online, there's a 99.9% chance that I'll go.

Unless I get inspired.

Which is always the case when I work in close quarters with PK.  This morning she mentioned that she made a vegan mac 'n cheese recipe.  It sounded pretty incredible, and the creative 'cream' sauce piqued my curiosity since it was made from tofu, versus cashews or other nuts that most other vegan mac 'n cheese recipes called for.

I cancelled my yoga class online.  I went to Berkeley Bowl.  I got busy in the kitchen, and the finished product was almost as good, if not better, than relaxing into savasana at the end of an intense class.

Here it is- major props to my fellow dietitian and culinary muse, Praveena.  Not many people can say that they know an intelligent and beautiful plant-powered/ayurvedic practitioner/yoga instructor/dietitian, but I do.  And I get to eat lunch with her everyday.  I know...It's ok to be jealous.  Lucky for us, she shares her delicious recipes...

Meatless Monday at its best!

Vegan Mac 'n Cheese

1/2 pound dried elbow or shell pasta

1/2 c. water

1 c. unflavored soymilk or almond milk

8 oz. firm tofu

1/2 c. canola oil (I used a lot less; adjust to desired consistency)

1 c. nutritional yeast

1/3 c. soy sauce

1 Tb. sriracha sauce (optional)

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c crushed toasted walnuts (optional for topping)

1) Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.

2) Mix the remaining ingredients (except for the walnuts) into a Vitamix or food processor to create the 'cheese' sauce

3) If desired, add roasted broccoli (mix broccoli with garlic, olive oil, salt/pepper and roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees)

4) Add the sauce and the cooked pasta to a large pot and cook over medium heat until everything is nice and hot, about 5 minutes.

5) Spoon into bowls, top with the crushed walnuts, and serve.  Enjoy!