Sometimes, you just need comfort food. After a long day of shooting products for a client, I decided it was time I treated myself to one of my favorite splurges: rich, creamy mac n cheese. I had a bag of Daiya mozzarella I had to use up, so it seemed like the most natural choice of dishes. But instead of just slapping some cheese on pasta and calling it a day, I decided to put a spin on it like I did with my avocado mac n cheese; this time I went caprese style. One of my favorite Italian starters, caprese is a simple mix of tomato, mozzarella, and basil that is almost impossibly delicious considering how few ingredients are involved.
With a few cherry tomatoes, some basil leaves, and some red pepper flakes for that hint of spice I’m always craving, this gourmet vegan mac n cheese ended up being quite an amazing way to splurge. Also, since I already had my lights set up for the product photography, I decided to get some studio-lit shots of the final product!
Serves 2; about 500 calories per serving
- 4 oz of your favorite pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli)
- Salt and water according to your pasta’s directions
- 1 tbs vegan margarine
- 1 tbs flour
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, preferably unsweetened
- 1/2 cup water (plus more if you need to thin out your sauce)
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya’s shreds)
- 2 large basil leaves, sliced or chopped
- ~20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Salt and pepper to taste
- (Optional) Pinch of red pepper flakes
- (Optional) Pinch of garlic powder
1. Bring the pasta water to a boil, add salt as the package directs.
Prepare the sauce:
2. Melt the vegan margarine over medium heat, then add the flour. Stir until flour is puffed and beginning to brown. Add in the milk and water, stirring until incorporated.
3. Mix in the cheese, and continue stirring until fully melted, and stir in spices if desired. Turn heat to low to keep it warm until you’re ready to serve. Stir in more water if it becomes too thick.
4. Cook the pasta, and prepare the tomatoes and basil.
5. Drain the pasta, place in a bowl, and pour the cheese sauce over it. Stir until well coated, garnish with the basil and tomatoes, and serve warm.
And enjoy your vegan-yet-creamy meal!