Sunday, August 22, 2010

Classic American: Meatloaf, Green Beans, and Major Vegan Mac 'n Cheese Success

Dinner last night was my vegan take on classic American food - meatloaf, mac and cheese, and green beans. And it was all easy!

The green beans were already cooked, as I had cooked a bunch of them the day before and used some in the pasta salad. I made a quick easy dressing and just mixed them up and served it cold.

Maple Dijon Green Beans
5 cups green beans
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
cracked black pepper to taste (I used a lot!)

Boil green beans for about five minutes until cooked but not mushy. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
Mix dressing with a fork and add water until consistency is as desired. Mix with green beans and serve!

Notes: I ran out of lemon juice but I think hat would be a good addition. Agave would also taste great instead of maple syrup. And, as always, my measurements are total guesses. Just add as much of every ingredient until it tastes good.





For the meatloaf, I bought a pre-made Field Roast Classic Meatloaf. I hadn't ever tried it before, but it tasted very similar to the Celebration Roast.

Here it is in the package.


And before going in the oven.


It's already pre-cooked, so it just needs about 30 minutes to brown and warm after a nice coating of classic ketchup. I didn't get a picture of the whole loaf right out of the oven because my family was too hungry and wanted to start eating. But I got photos of the leftover slices.





My dad said the Field Roast was "pretty good," but he was a little reluctant to call it meatloaf.

Last was the mac and cheese from The Vegan Table. There are a million recipes for vegan mac and cheese, and everyone seems to have a different preference. It's like the Holy Grail of vegan recipes. I freakin' looooved mac and cheese as a kid and I have loved every vegan mac and cheese recipe I've ever eaten, too. I must be easy to please. But you know that a recipe is successful when everybody eats seconds and talks about how good it is. My baby brother got to eat some and he loved it, too!

This recipe is posted all around the internet, so I don't feel too bad about reprinting it. I'll share it with you in its original form and then tell you the little changes I made (and the mistake I made!)

Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese from The Vegan Table

1 1/4 C raw cashews
1/2 C nutritional yeast
2 tsp onion powder
1 to 2 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp white pepper
3-1/2 C nondairy milk
3 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 C canola oil
1/4 C light (yellow or white) miso
2 Tbs lemon juice
12-16oz macaroni, cooked


Place cashews in a large-sized bowl of the food processor and finely grind–just don’t let the cashews turn to a paste. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pulse three more times to blend in spices.

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch and oil. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low-medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until cornstarch dissolves.
With the food processor running, gradually add milk/oil mixture to cashew/nutritional yeast mixture. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Next blend in miso and lemon juice.

Combine cashew cheese with macaroni noodles and serve. You may also bake it: Preheat oven to 325 and place macaroni mixture in a 8 or 9″ square baking dish (I recommend a 9″x13″ one). Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 1/2 C herbed bread crumbs. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes until topping is golden brown. (I’m going to do this with the leftovers)! Enjoy!

Notes:

I read a recommendation on someone's blog to decrease the amount of miso, so I only used about a tablespoon.

I used unsweetened almond milk.

It says not to let the cashews become a paste, but I think I should have processed mine a little more. I was using a somewhat crappy food processor and it ended up a little grittier than I would have liked.

I didn't have onion powder or white pepper and I didn't have quite enough lemon juice so I just used garlic salt and lemon pepper.

I just couldn't bring myself to add 1/2 cup oil to a recipe full of nuts. Actually I couldn't add 1/2 cup oil to anything, but especially not an already fatty recipe. I drizzled in about a tablespoon and next time I'd try it without any added oil. I didn't miss it!

And my mistake - I accidentally let my saucepan boil over. I really should have used a bigger pan and I knew that. But I think that meant that I lost quite a it of the cornstarch so my sauce didn't end up being as thick as it was supposed to be.

BUT, all notes and mistakes aside -- this recipe rocks.
My dad said, "So, what's the difference between this mac and cheese and the stuff you made last time, except that it tastes a lot better?" (I guess he likes cashew-based mac instead of tofu-based!). And he had no problem with calling it mac and cheese, unlike the meatloaf. ;) I made about 2/3 box of pasta because I didn't want to make too much but it all got eaten! I have some leftover sauce so I'll probably make some more mac and cheese today.



And here's my plate! I ended up eating about twice as many green beans as shown.



This was a delicious meal. And try this mac and cheese on your dairy-eating family SOON!

Today will be leftover day, and then we're going on vacation for the next three days either to Denver or Omaha. We haven't yet decided where to go. I probably won't be able to post while I'm gone, but I should have some good stuff when I get back.

So far today I had leftover Split Pea Soup for breakfast and a big mug of coffee.



Mmm.

Interesting links for the day:
http://www.slate.com/id/2264542/ "What's the Matter with Twentysomething Kids Today?"
Basically: Are we aimless yahoos? Or maybe just victims of the recession?

Plus, my Panini with Lemon-Basil Pesto from the other day is featured on Finding Vegan!
http://www.findingvegan.com/

Do you have a favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe?
What's your idea of a typical American meal and how would you veganize it for omnivorous dinner guests?

5 comments:

  1. My favorite vegan dish for unsuspecting guests was our vegan lasagne that we fed to our football player friends. Those guys LOVED it and remarked at the end of the meal that they were surprised we made something with cheese just for them. They were more surprised when we announced that their dinner had absolutely no dairy in it. THAT's a great lasagne!! Love the post and pics, Erika. Especially the step-by-step that ends with coffee!!

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  2. Such creative recipes! Thank you for sharing :)

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  3. Jeanette: Oh I need to make that lasagna again and post about it. Next time I have hard to please guests...

    Eunice: Thanks =)

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  4. I can't wait to try that mac and cheese. I love trying new ones. Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Foods also has a cashew and macadamia-based one that is so good! Thanks for letting me know about these recipes :)

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  5. I love trying new vegan mac and cheese, too. But honestly I'm really easy to please and I love every recipe I've ever tried!

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