The Vegan Family

The Trendy Vegan Family Style

By Yonni Wattenmaker

Macaroni and "Cheese"

 

It’s often a challenge for vegans and non-vegans to share a meal ~ and it can be even harder when kids are involved. In a restaurant, it’s easy ~ everyone orders their own dish. At home, finding something to please everyone in the family is another story! As a vegan living with two meat- and dairy-lovers, I come up against this issue often, so I created this delicious, creamy version of macaroni and “cheese” a couple of years ago. Had my family and friends not seen me eat some, they never would have known it wasn’t the real thing!

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients:
1 12 ounce box of pasta (I prefer DeBoles Gluten-Free Corn Elbow Style)
1 TBSP Tofutti Sour Supreme or other non-dairy sour cream
3/4 c Mimicreme almond & cashew cream
1/2 TBSP Earth Balance buttery spread
3/4 c + 1/4 c Daiya shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to boil and then add pasta. Cook to desired consistency.
2. In a medium saute pan, add the sour cream, almond & cashew cream, buttery spread and 3/4 cup of cheddar. Stir until well melted (the cheese will still look a bit stringy.)
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water but do not rinse, and put it back in the pot. Pour the sauce over the top and combine well.
4. Add the remaining 1/4 c of cheddar and mix again, tasting to determine seasoning for salt and pepper.
5. Serve immediately.
Serves 4-6

**NOTE: If you cannot find the Mimicreme, you can use 3/4 unflavored almond milk, and an additional 1/2 TBSP of non-dairy sour cream and 1/2 TBSP Earth Balance or other non-dairy margarine instead.

As you might imagine, becoming a vegan at age 37 led to a significant change in my lifestyle, but I have never felt better.  I quickly learned that many of the foods I “feared” for their high fat content, like avocado and nuts, were important elements in my diet.  Essential fatty acids, iron and protein were critical for me.

It’s often a challenge for vegans and non-vegans to share a meal ~ and it can be even harder when kids are involved. In a restaurant, it’s easy ~ everyone orders their own dish. At home, finding something to please everyone in the family is another story! As a vegan living with two meat- and dairy-lovers, I come up against this issue often, so I created this delicious, creamy version of macaroni and “cheese” a couple of years ago. Had my family and friends not seen me eat some, they never would have known it wasn’t the real thing!

I was also leery of eating too many grains with so much talk about the detriments of carbs at the time, but rice and potatoes helped to round out the vegetables I so relied upon.  There is no question that it took time for me to enjoy seitan or tofu rather than sushi or grilled chicken, but I really don’t miss them anymore.

If you are considering a vegan diet for yourself or your kids, some of the essentials for your shopping list are:

If you are really ambitious, you can cook everything from scratch, but markets like Whole Foods have wonderful pre-made items for you to choose from. 

Whether for yourself of your kids, as with anything, I suggest you start slowly.  Many restaurants have begun to offer meatless Mondays ~ no meat items appear on their menus on those days  ~ so you can start by having vegan Mondays and eliminating all meat, dairy, fish and eggs for just one day a week. 

Then you can start to think about some of the foods you eat, and where you can make replacements.  For example, do you enjoy yogurt in the morning with some berries and nuts or cereal with milk?  You can replace your yogurt for soy, coconut or almond-based varieties and your milk with non-dairy alternatives like almond, soy, rice or hemp. They are delicious, come in different flavors, and with so many options, there is very little to compromise!  What about snacking?  How about natural popcorn versus the buttered or cheesy kind? Or tortilla chips versus flavored chips? Pretzels, popcorn or rice cakes, soy chips, pita chips…and, of course, apples, grapes, carrots and celery with hummus or nut butter to dip…

At dinner, my husband loves a good steak and my son would gladly eat sushi every night of the week if he had the opportunity.  With me rounding out the picture as a vegan, when cooking family meals at home, you have to be creative in order to avoid having three totally separate meals.

Description: Description: spacecadet - Flickr

One of our most successful dinners is Taco Tuesday.  The corn tacos, lettuce, beans, salsa and avocado work for all of us (though kids often opt out of some of those items!)  When it comes to the sour cream and shredded cheese, I simply put out two versions of each ~ dairy and non-dairy.  For the meat, my husband cooks up lean turkey and I add beans, tofu, or ground vegan protein.  There are still a lot of dishes to be washed when the dinner is over, but it’s nice to have been sharing the food that was in them!

Another all-eater-friendly option is Greek-style dinners.  Toss together a big bowl of shredded romaine lettuce, some cucumbers, maybe some red onion, dill, and grape leaves.  On the side you can offer hummus (great vegan protein and a dish so many people love) with sliced carrots, warm pita, more cucumber and olives, feta cheese and grilled chicken strips.  Some delicious yellow rice or lemon roasted potatoes round out the dinner perfectly.

Italian works well too if you cook up pasta with a hearty tomato sauce or garlic and oil.  If someone wants a Bolognese sauce, remove some of the tomato sauce for the vegan serving and then cook the meat in a sauté pan with the remainder.  You can also make a baked layered lasagna, using sun-dried tomato, even some roasted eggplant, and a little shredded vegan mozzarella to give it a more authentic flavor.  Galaxy Foods makes a great vegan soy parmesan to accompany the usual.

About the Chef:
Yonni Wattenmaker is the creator and writer of The Trendy Vegan (www.thetrendyvegan.com), a lifestyle blog for vegans (or those dabbling in a less animal-based diet) who love fabulous food and a great time! Yonni was inspired to cook, create and write after a diagnosis five years ago that determined she could no longer digest animal protein of any kind. Though reluctant at first, she has now embraced this lifestyle and wants to share her passion with others.

Previous Posts:

Thanksgiving Un-Stuffed

My website is www.thetrendyvegan.com
Twitter is @vegandthecity
Facebook is www.facebook.com/thetrendyvegan 


The Dream Jam All Access
The Dream Jam Book Club
Baby Dream Jam Book Club
Baby Dream Jamercise
The World of Nickhoo
DJ's Featured Artist
Cori's Corner
Max Green
Dog-A-Rhythms
Rehash Your Trash!
On The Beat with Nicky
The Vegan Family
Parenting Corner