Tag Archives: macaroni

The Cheese Post 6.1: Mac and Cheese

We like cheese but don’t like how it affects cows, the environment or our bodies so we spend a lot of time here at Turning Veganese trying vegan cheeses. Check this link for some of our older reviews.

We’ve been reviewing some mac and cheese varieties for you lovely people. I’ve had mac and cheese of one sort or another 5 times this week so I’m a little beleaguered; bear with me.  They’re all gluten free and vegan and we’re about to weigh in on how delicious they are and if they work well with our favorite addition: chopped tofu pups or tempeh and peas.

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Amy’s This particular variety is frozen, so it’s preparation is slightly less complicated than the others. For me the beauty of boxed mac and cheese is that I can throw it in a bag for vacation and don’t have to worry about it spoiling, obviously this variety didn’t fit that criterion but it’s still mac and cheese that’s gluten-free and vegan so we’re giving it a shot. This particular variety has a whopping 520 calories per serving and didn’t seem like a big serving compared to some of the others we tried. The mac and cheese itself was gooey, cheesy and delicious probably due to Daiya. The dish benefited slightly from adding a touch of hot sauce and black pepper but that’s just how I roll. At $4.89 it is only slightly more expensive than the boxed varieties, but it only feeds one person before or after the addition of peas and tempeh. The serving size, calories, price and perishability didn’t outweigh the flavor, unfortunately.

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Leahey Gardens This is our old favorite and we were pleased that it stood up to the competition. It is remarkably low calorie, 97 calories per serving and there are three in the bag. The sauce is rich and creamy and definitely lightly cheesy. It was well seasoned and all I needed to add was a touch of flake red pepper, some chopped tofu pups and about 1/2 cup of thawed frozen peas. It cost us $3.09 per bag which is more than enough for 2 people or one hungry one.

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Namaste Foods Say Cheez non-dairy seasoned gluten-free pasta requires no non-dairy milk. Only oil and salt are necessary to make this pasta. The whole bag contains 4 servings, clocking in at 270 calories each.  The ingredients are unobjectionable (notably hemp in included) until I get to the bottom of the list and they’ve added silicon dioxide; that’s sand for the less nerdy among us. I suppose I eat a little dirt every day but it seems unnecessary. The preparation is a little simpler – you cook the pasta, drain it and season it. It’s beautiful and smells great, though the sauce wasn’t convincing on its own. When we tasted it we were both a little disappointed: it tasted more like buttered noodles than mac and cheese. It did well with some damage control (the liberal addition of hot sauce of various varieties) but it’s definitely not mac and cheese. It cost $4.60 per package which was reasonable for the amount of food the package makes (almost too much for 2 people), just be warned it’s not what your mouth will be expecting with the advertisement of mac and cheese.

Outdoor Herbivore Quinoa “Cheddar” Mac comes modestly packaged. The ingredients were unobjectionable and the preparation was a cinch: bring water to a boil, add the ingredients and let it sit for 10 minutes. The pasta wasn’t quite al dente after 10 minutes so I brought it back to a simmer and let it sit 3 more minutes. As we ate it I discovered a drawback of the preparation method which was an occasional piece of less than cooked pasta. I do admire the simplicity of the process conceptually, but it didn’t quite work. When it came to the dish itself, we were both disappointed: the sauce tasted like onion powder and nutritional yeast than mac and cheese. I do love those ingredients but it wasn’t mac and cheese and it wasn’t seasoned enough. With the addition of tofu pups, peas, cumin, coriander, paprika, Braag’s aminos, flake red pepper, Tapatio hot sauce and garlic salt it was awesome. It cost $9.99 so it’s as expensive as Amy’s to feed 2 people. It wasn’t really worth tracking down.

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Road’s End Organics We’re trying the alfredo style brown rice pasta dinner first. The whole box, prepared, contains 2 servings at 330 calories each and the ingredients are organic and enriched with some awesome B vitamins from nutritional yeast. The instructions were straightforward and required about 10 minutes cook time. Unadulterated, the pasta was bland and the texture of the sauce was grainy. It is alfredo so I suppose the sauce wasn’t supposed to be a cheesy thrill, but Brent had some choice words about the texture of the sauce. The pasta itself was nothing special but definitely not bad. With the addition of tofu pups and peas that I sauteed in basil canola oil with flake red pepper, paprika and garlic salt… it was awesome. For versatility it’s a “GO!” Next we’re getting into their mac and chreese. This one was also 2 servings at 330 calories each. The nutritional info and preparation are very similar. We liked this one almost as much as Leahey Gardens: it’s creamy, lightly cheesy and the sauce has a nice texture. It’s AWESOME with peas and tofu pups that were sauteed in basil olive oil with flake red pepper. Feeding 2 people or one hungry one at $3.59 made it a decent deal but I don’t think it can replace Leahey Gardens’ mac and cheese in our kitchen.

Most of these brands offer wheat pasta varieties as well which will probably be cheaper than the gluten-free varieties and with the same delightful sauces which is what we’re really concerned about here, AMIRITE!?. Leahey Gardens was by far the cheapest and tastiest so if you come across it (we buy a few bags every time we order from VeganEssentials.com) TRY IT! Our second choice was Road’s End Organics Mac and Chreese, cheddar style… skip the alfredo.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Bacon, Peas and Mac & Cheese!

Bacon in macaroni and cheese is something that would never have happened in my house growing up… now that I think about it, mac and cheese wasn’t something that happened in my house growing up… so this was a treat. All we did was grab a bag of Leahey Gardens gluten-free Mac and Cheese (a personal favorite because it’s easy, delicious and low calorie) and prepare the pasta as instructed.

Once that was done we mixed in a diced tomato to keep the pasta from sticking. Meanwhile I started the sauce with some unsweetened plain almond milk, a generous sprinkle of cayenne, a dash of flake red pepper and a cup of frozen peas.

Brent browned some tempeh bacon to perfection!

The peas and mac looked perfectly appetizing to me but we had to take it one step further and add bacon.

I did find it to be a remarkably pleasant adddition: the smoke of the bacon with the salty cheesy sauce and sweet peas was exactly the kind of comfort food we needed that particular evening. Enjoy!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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The other Lazy Vegans: Macaroni and “Cheese”… and PEAS!

This is a post about a product that I really love:Leahey Gardens Mac&Cheese. I love this product because it’s quick, easy and delicious.

They make gluten-free and regular and it’s the answer for your friend who “can’t live without” macaroni and cheese in a box. Brent and I have a twist on this recipe because even though it’s pretty good for you right out of the box, we like vegetables.

I add peas… about 1 and a half cups. I also add a generous dash of flake red pepper and Italian seasoning when preparing the cheese sauce. This recipe is also very good prepared with water, for the record. This means it’s great for travel anywhere with a microwave.

This is the finished product, ready to be enjoyed. It’s already rich in B vitamins thanks for nutritional yeast in the sauce and the peas add a whollop of protein. Enjoy!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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SunDried Tomato Mac & Cheese

This is a similar dish to the nacho mac and cheese that Brent and I concocted not long ago. This is sundried tomato mac. You’ll need the following:
1 14.5 ounce can of chickpeas, drained or 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked
1 lemon
1 pinch chili powder
1/4 cup sundried tomato, minced
olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup chopped basil (optional)
8 ounces of vegan cheese (we used Ste. Martaen colby)

I started by sauteing the chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice and chili powder. When the chickpeas started to steam and soften I added the onion, and dry herbs and stirred until the onions became translucent.

Add the cheese and tomato, then stir until it’s melty. When the pasta is ready, stir in the sauce and basil. It’s an incredibly simple meal and delicious.

The tomato gives this dish a richer color than it would have otherwise and it’s flavor is made to match. We love easy, quick decadent dishes like this one after an intense exercise session.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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Nacho Mac&Cheese: Not your Ordinary Mac and Cheese.

This was an evening when the man-meat and I just wanted to chill out so we made something super fast. Brent prepared the pasta (as I’ve noted in previous posts, I can’t be trusted with parts of a meal that require patience) and I added a tablespoon of olive oil and about 2 cups of chickpeas (1 cup of dry beans, soaked or 1 can, drained) and fried them lightly with some chili powder.

To this I added a tin of diced tomatoes. I used a tin of “Rotel” mild with diced green chilis.

After this was looking and smelling amazing we shredded some basil (cilantro would have been better but we didn’t have any) into it and then added the cheese. You can also add some nutritional yeast for a flavor boost and nutrients.

This cheese is called “Ste. Martaen” and we used their pepperjack variety. I don’t like this cheese for eating: I find the texture disturbing. It’s great for cooking since the flavors are fabulous and it melts well. It’s made with an agar base (that’s a seaweed based gelatin, very sustainable and low calorie) As you can see, we’ve got a cheesy mass of chickpeas and tomato that’s still very low in calories, cholesterol free and high in nutrients like protein, vitamin C, and fiber and we haven’t even added the quinoa pasta yet!

This is the finished product. We devoured it and vowed to make it again. The creamy sauce was spicy and cheesy and the bite of the peppers was balanced by the smooth chickpeas and mellow tomato.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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