The best traditional mac and cheese recipes rely on more than just the cheese. They use a bechamel to create a cheese sauce that enrobes the pasta and keeps the dish wonderfully creamy.
This recipe, which I adapted from the new book by the folks at Goodful (part of BuzzFeed’s Tasty family), brings other nice touches to the standard vegan technique and might just raise the bar.
Here, you cook potato, carrot, garlic and onion in a skillet with water and the requisite cashews, then the whole thing gets pureed with the aforementioned flavor boosters to become the sauce. The potato brings that starchiness, the carrot a hint of color.
I added a couple of my own touches to the blender. When I first tested this recipe, the only nutritional yeast left in my pantry was one flavored with “nacho” spices, including cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, and I loved the result. So the next time, I tried adding plain “nooch,” plus the separate spices, and again loved the hint of heat and smokiness.
One warning about this recipe: It makes a lot, filling a deep 12-inch cast-iron skillet. If your household is small, feel free to eat whatever portion you’d like, refrigerate some for the following few lunches and/or freeze some for even longer.
But if you have a ravenous teenager in the house, like my husband and I do now that we welcomed a foster child, the quantity will be welcome. This 13-year-old ate about a quarter of the skillet within the first day — and polished it off the next.
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Make Ahead: Assemble and refrigerate for up to 3 days before baking.
Storage Notes: Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Vegetarian and vegan recipes from Joe Yonan and Voraciously
Mains: Kung Pao Tofu | Roasted Cabbage Wedges With Tomatoes and Chickpeas | Sweet, Spicy and Crunchy Korean Tofu | Mushroom-Walnut ‘Meatballs’
Pasta and noodles: Summer Tomato and Basil Pasta With Pine Nut Sauce | Udon Noodles With Soft-Boiled Egg, Soy and Black Pepper | Instant Pot Spaghetti | Whole Wheat Pasta Salad With Crispy Broccoli | Pappardelle With Mixed Mushrooms
Salads: Corn, Radish, Tomato and Tortilla Chip Salad | Caesar Salad Gratin | Raw Corn, Zucchini and Snap Pea Salad | Pinto Bean Tortilla Salad | Muffuletta Salad | Spinach Salad With Blackened Chickpeas | Grilled Eggplant Salad
Sandwiches: Dahi Toast (Grilled Yogurt Sandwiches) | Cauliflower Sandwiches With Smoked Gouda and Peppadews | Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Miso Butter | Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Poblano Ciabattas With Queso Fresco | Oyster Mushroom Sandwiches With Red Pepper Mayo
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