Adventures with Daiya: Macaroni & Cheese

Vegan or not, who can deny this mac and cheese looks realistic?

I spy melting!

mac

Somewhere out there, a vegan couple is considering giving their newborn the middle name “Daiya”. Somewhere in Portland, I’ve come to accept and appreciate Daiya more than ever before.

The latest test? Adventuring into Macaroni & Cheese territory.

Vegan-traditionally, I prefer my noodles coated with a homemade nutritional yeast sauce started with a roux.  I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of Daiya experiences this past year, and I’ve been holding out for a real winner. With that, these Shells & Cheese with Daiya are now in the lead.

This vegan version is based on an adaptation from Serious Eats of Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics.

Macaroni and Cheese with Daiya 101

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 4 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
  • ½ cup flour (I used chickpea)
  • 1 clove grated or minced garlic
  • 1 heaping teaspoon coarse salt
  • generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8th teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups of Cheddar Daiya (1 package)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 pound of pasta, such as shells, cooked al dente.
  • ¼-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons additional vegan cheese (homemade or packaged), or tahini
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon miso

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  2. Melt the margarine over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and stir frequently, cooking an additional 1-2 minutes. Quickly whisk in the flour.
  3. Stir in the milk and cook until thickened, 8-10 minutes. Whisk frequently.
  4. Remove the sauce pan from heat and stir in the spices, salt, pepper, Daiya, nutritional yeast, and any additional ingredients.
  5. Carefully pour the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  6. Even more carefully, pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Cover with breadcrumbs, as desired.
  7. Bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.
  8. Optional: broil an additional 3-5 minutes for a crispier top layer.
  9. Let cool just a bit, and serve. And eat.

Consider: Adding chopped green vegetables to the last few minutes of pasta cooking, and consequently, into your mac.

Serves: A lot! I would recommend halving the recipe if you’re feeding 1-2 and don’t want leftovers for days.

Saucin’ and whiskin’

sauce

The melt: Daiya’s super duper melt remains revolutionary and the most impressive (and therefore, grossest?) on the market. I like to picture of a team of Susie-esque mad vegan scientists hard at work in Canada furthering their developments, and occasionally taking a snack break with Tings.

The taste: As my friend Maeve has so elegantly stated, it’s like Velveeta went vegan. Say what you will.

The verdict: I wouldn’t make this again. Using shredded Daiya felt like cheating, and I just don’t love the taste. Appreciate, sure. Like enough, maybe. However, it was fun adventure, and my mind was boggled at how the Daiya melted and stretched and sauced!

Shells and Cheese with Daiya 101

mac

14 thoughts on “Adventures with Daiya: Macaroni & Cheese

  1. Yum! I have found Daiya is best in mac & cheese combine with nutritional yeast like you have done. My version used fresh sage in the bread crumbs which was really good. After looking at your pics, I want to make this!

  2. So far, the only way I love Daiya is the cheddar style in a grilled cheese sandwich. Otherwise, my top choice is Follow Your Heart, followed by Teese. :)

  3. I don’t know anything about teese, but if cheddar FYH can melt into a sauce, I would totally use that instead of Daiya in that recipe. Those shells just look so goood.

  4. For me, Daiya is great on pizza (mozza) and in grilled cheese (cheddar). I don’t care for it with mac. I prefer my nooch sauce!

  5. I’ve recently tried Daiya and just posted a recipe using a bit in some Nacho Sauce to give it more of a sharper cheddar flavor. It was really good. The stuff melts fabulously and my son was so excited when I made him a quesadilla!
    Your mac n cheese looks delicious! Back in the day I used to make a 3 cheese baked mac n cheese, definitely not the boxed kind. That’s one meal my husband misses. I am excited to try your recipe out!

  6. I am Lactose and Dairy Intolerant and I cannot have any Dairy. Daiya Cheese is a blessing sent from heaven. I have used Daiya cheese in Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving and it was delicious

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