Monday, October 4, 2010

Daiya: Macaroni & Cheese Casserole!! :D

**WARNING** Dairy-free contents are dangerously delicious ;)

So now that Daiya is finally available for retail purchase in Canada, I have so many plans for it! First, though, I want to address an important thought: I hate vegan cheese. With a passion. If you'll notice in my previous posts of "cheesy sauces," they are my own creations, using ingredients such as cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, etc. Why? Because the soy stuff tastes like crap. So I don't buy it.
Now that that is off my chest, I have to tell you how much I love Daiya :) Before tasting it, my mom & I were surprised how much it smells like real, sharp cheddar, even when it's still uncooked. And though I'm normally a fruits & veggies lady, I have my moments of nostalgia, where I just want some macaroni & cheeeeese :)

When I was in high school, grade 9, I took a cooking class. My favourite recipe I learned to make? Macaroni & cheese! Whenever it was my turn to cook at home (my mom, sister & I took turns), I made macaroni & cheese. They never complained :)
So when Daiya finally found its merry way to my favourite health food store, I was their first customer, ready to make some mac & cheese nostalgia happen in my kitchen. I truly didn't expect it to taste exactly like my macaroni & cheese recipe from before, but I did have some high hopes.
I made the sauce exactly how I remember, using a ton of cheese. Daiya melts soooooo easily, & creates a thick, rich & creamy sauce. It tasted exactly how I remember!! EXACTLY!! Sooo delicious I could cry <3

**Did you notice the company's interesting play on words? Daiya vegan cheese? Die a vegan? haha :)
One major difference in who I am now, though, & who I used to vegetables :) I actually used to pick out veggies from everything I ate. Tomatoes & mushrooms made me want to vomit. Now? I lovelovelove my veggies!! I was determined to at least fit some into my ooey, gooey, cheesy casserole. Balance, right? ;) So I tossed in some zucchini! (Mushrooms would have been an even bigger hit! <3)

Baked with panko bread crumbs!!! nom nom nom :) My mom & brother (who, again, are far from vegetarians), loved my casserole! Mom agreed that it tasted like the one I used to make!! =) I may or may not have had 3 helpings...& two more the next day...*burp* :) Tastes just as awesome when you've got cold leftovers! (The microwave is evil, & I will never own one. Cold food FTW!)
**btw, panko bread crumbs are simply Japanese bread crumbs. They are smaller than traditional ones, & so so tasty :) Check your local grocery store; they're usually pretty easy to find.

Final product? The cheese sauce was thick, ooey, gooey & cheesy. Everything you would expect in a rich, creamy cheddar sauce! I ended up making too much of the sauce (if that's actually possible), so feel free to either cut the sauce recipe in half, or get creative by tossing your leftovers over some steamed veggies ;)

Here I tossed it with some steamed carrots & baby summer squash. Try broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts...whatever tickles your cheesy fancy ;) Next, I'm gonna toss it in rice! Thank you, Daiya :)

From my ooey gooey kitchen to yours <3

16 oz pkg brown rice elbow macaroni noodles
3 tbs soy-free Earth Balance margarine
1 tbs gluten-free all-purpose flour
3 cups unsweetened almond mylk, plain
3 cups cheddar Daiya
3 cups zucchini, diced

1/2 cup cheddar Daiya
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

sea salt & black pepper, to taste

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare macaroni noodles according to package directions. Once cooked & drained, set aside.
2) Meanwhile, in a pot over medium heat, melt the soy-free Earth Balance margarine. Add in the flour, whisking to create a roux. Slowly whisk in the almond mylk.
3) Once all the almond mylk is warmed through, you can slowly start whisking in the Daiya cheese. Daiya will melt quickly. The longer you stir, the thicker it will get. (FYI: this is a good thing! :D)
3) In a large casserole dish, stir together the macaroni, cheese sauce, & zucchini. Top with more Daiya & panko bread crumbs.
4) Bake until Daiya on top has melted, about 15- 20 minutes. Serve warm, with sea salt & black pepper :) No judgement if you like it with ketchup ;)

peace, love & food <3
Char, xo


A said...

Char, after I saw your recipe I went to Daiya Vegan Cheese to see if a retailer near me carried it. Boy, I was out the door and picking up all the ingredients when I found out my Whole Foods carried it. I got some baby broccoli and a zucchini and I'm making it tonight. I'll let you know if I love it as much as you do! OOO

Char said...

Woooooo that's awesome!! Let me know what you think! :D

A said...

Oh my goodness, Char! Could I love you any more than I already do? Apparently so because, though I didn't know this previously, one way to my heart is through my stomach. :D
I couldn't find any brown-rice elbow macaroni, so I used brown-rice spiral noodles.
Then I followed your recipe, but instead of three cups of diced zucchini I used 1-1/2 cups diced zucchini and 1-1/2 cups diced baby broccoli. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!! Even my hubby, who is FAR from vegetarian liked it.
Bless you!

Char said...

Much love right back to you! Sooooo stoked that you & your hubby loved it!! :D the way to my heart is also through my stomach ;) spiral noodles are ALWAYS a fantastic macaroni substitute! They're actually my favourite :D
much peace love n food to you, my dear <3 have a beautiful day :) xo

MarkTwain said...

Fantastic! I'm also gonna try it with rice - we'll see how it goes! :)

Char said...

yummyy!! that sounds even better :) let me know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

I like this! It looks better than the usual mac and cheese that we always make. Thanks for sharing this.
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Char said...

Thanks, Keri! I hope you enjoy :)

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