Just because her diet is plant-based, that doesn’t mean hot for food blog’s Lauren Toyota eschews comfort food. In fact, she couldn’t live without it.
For Chatelaine’s video series, Vegan It! with Lauren Toyota, the former MuchMusic VJ and current YouTube star and cookbook author demonstrates how to create vegan versions of everyone’s favourite comfort classics — like grilled cheese and caesar salad — without elaborate recipes or compromising on taste.
In this episode:
Lauren prepares creamy, silky and tangy mac and cheese. Here are her tricks for:
Making the vegan mac and cheese creamy
Cashews are a magical vegan ingredient, especially after they’ve been soaked in hot water for about 20 minutes. This softens them up, so when they’re spun in a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix, KitchenDid or Magic Bullet), they transform into a silky smooth sauce that looks just like sour cream.
Giving it that cheesy tang
Lauren uses plant-based ingredients to replicate the flavour and texture of melted cheese. To perfect that mac-and-cheese tang, she adds umami-rich miso paste (it’s fermented, just like cheese), tomato paste, nutritional yeast and tart lemon juice to the cashew mixture. The tomato paste and nutritional yeast also give this dish its signature orange hue. Finally, for flavour and depth, Lauren adds spices like onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder.
Adding a crunch
The best mac and cheese casseroles have a crunchy bread crumb topping — Lauren’s is no exception. She makes hers with a mixture of whole wheat breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and dried spices and then lets it get nice and golden brown under the broiler.
Recipe: Vegan Mac & Cheese
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes