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The weird secret ingredient you need to make perfect vegan mac and cheese

This secret ingredient is a bit odd but gives great results.

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Veganuary might over, but if you stuck with your vegan diet, then you might be starting to crave some comfort food, especially with the baltic weather outside.

When you picture vegan food, what do you see? Kale, brightly coloured fruits and some alternative grains? For many, this diet is probably a reality most of the time, but vegans need comfort food too. If the cold weather has caused you to crave mac and cheese, like we are right now, then you'll be delighted to hear that we have found the secret ingredient to making the perfect vegan pasta sauce. 

The key is white beans.

Yes, you read that correctly, white beans are the secret ingredient necessary for the perfect vegan macaroni and cheese. When you blitz them up, white beans take on a silky, thick consistency similar to that of a roux-based milk sauce. While cashews can often do the same job, they're not always a suitable substitute as many people have nut allergies.

Making the perfect vegan mac and cheese is surprisingly simple, so if you want to try it out for yourself, check out the recipe below 

READ MORE: Five places to eat vegan in Dublin

Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash
Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash

Perfect vegan mac and cheese sauce

Serves four

  • 1 tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 180ml unsweetened oat milk or coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 400g freshly cooked macaroni or other pasta
  • Vegan cheese or nutritional yeast, we like to use a combination of both soft vegan cheese and imitation cheddar

Method:

  1. Add the beans, garlic and milk to a blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Taste the mix and add salt and pepper as required. 
  3. Pour the sauce over the still-warm pasta in a pot over a low heat. Mix in a handful of cheese and stir through the pasta. The cheese will melt into the sauce over the heat. Taste and add more cheese and seasoning if necessary.

TIP: This sauce is best eaten fresh as it tends to dry out a little. If you want to save it for another time, store the sauce and pasta separately in your fridge, then reheat the sauce with a little more oat milk ahead of serving. 

READ MORE: Vegan recipes from Roz Purcell's newest cookbook