This Nutty Ingredient Is Key For The Creamiest Vegan Mac And Cheese

Cashew cream vegan mac and cheese
Cashew cream vegan mac and cheese - Laura Sullivan12/Shutterstock

There's nothing like a hearty bowl of mac and cheese when you want to eat a comfort meal. However, if you're a vegan, you might worry that this dish is off-limits. The good news is that there's a simple ingredient you can use if you want to make an easy vegan mac and cheese alternative: cashews.

Although this might sound strange, it's actually not that uncommon. You can use cashews as a cream cheese substitute or to make a milk alternative. It's also a common pick for vegan cheese brands. When you add it to your mac and cheese, the result is a creamy and cheesy dish that's completely dairy-free. It does have a nutty touch to it, but that only adds to the unique flavor of the meal.

It's also incredibly easy to make. Just blend your cashews with water, spices, and a dash of nutritional yeast to make a rich, creamy sauce. You can also pre-soak them to help soften them further and make them easier to blend into a rich sauce. Then, pour your sauce over cooked pasta and get ready to enjoy!

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Why Cashews Work In Vegan Mac And Cheese

Bowl of cashews
Bowl of cashews - pujihamzah13/Shutterstock

One reason why cashews work so well in this dish is that they have a fairly neutral flavor, which allows the other ingredients in your pasta to shine without overpowering them. With that said, they do add a slightly nutty touch and have a creamy, almost sweet taste that can resemble that of regular dairy cheese.

At the same time, cashews are high in fats, providing a whopping 44 grams of fat per 100 grams of nuts. That ensures you don't just get a creamy taste, but a creamy and smooth texture as well. They also have a soft texture, which makes them easy to work with and blend into your sauce.

Beyond these reasons, cashews are packed with additional nutrients, such as protein and magnesium. So, they can introduce extra minerals to your meal, making for a well-rounded option even if you're going dairy-free. Plus, it's a soy-free way to make mac and cheese, which is great for those who have allergies or sensitivities to this ingredient, which is another common pick for vegan mac and cheese.

Other Options For Creating Vegan Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese in a pan
Mac and cheese in a pan - Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

While cashews are a great option for vegan mac and cheese, if you don't have any on hand or want to try something else, there are a few alternatives. Macadamia nuts are another high-fat nut to try here. They also have a sweet, neutral flavor that works well for that creamy, cheesy taste.

You could also use coconut milk. Although not a nut, it still has some nutty notes to it, although you'll get a milkier flavor and some sweetness.

Another way to make a vegan sauce is to use seeds. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds can be great choices, both of which have nutty notes to them as well. Plus, this can work for those who have allergies or sensitivities to nuts. Next time you're craving a bowl of mac and cheese, give one of these vegan swaps a try and you might just be amazed!

Read the original article on Daily Meal