A few days ago, I mentioned that I was going to try and veganize a Whole Foods Market recipe for mac ‘n cheese “lunch muffins.” As it turns out, I didn’t have to, because someone else had done all of the work for me! I found a great recipe by Your Vegan Mom and gave it a trial run tonight after dinner. Success!
I made minestrone soup for dinner tonight, so I started by simply cooking some extra pasta and setting aside 2 cups of it for the mac ‘n cheese. This dish was so easy to make that I was able to whip it all together and pop it into the oven while Zander was still in the bathtub. He is going to be over the moon tomorrow when he finds these in his snackbox for preschool!
Here’s how to make them:
MAC ‘N CHEESE BITES
* fills 12 regular-sized muffin cups; adapted slightly from recipe by Your Vegan Mom
2 cups pasta, cooked and drained
1 bag Daiya shredded vegan cheddar cheese
1 package (16 oz) firm silken tofu (I didn’t have any silken tofu, so I used organic sprouted super firm tofu and added about 3/4 cup of water to balance out the moisture)
1/4 cup soy milk (I used homemade almond milk)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (I also added 3 Tbsp of Leahey Gardens Cheese-Flavored Sauce Mix, but if you don’t have this, you could just put in more nutritional yeast, to taste)
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
Now that I know how wonderfully this recipe works, I intend to play around with it a bit in the future, adding yummy extras like chopped broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, carrots, veggie meat, etc. Not all of these ingredients at once, of course. 😉
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a muffin pan, or line with unbleached paper liners.
Combine all of the ingredients for the Eggy Mixture in a high-speed blender until smooth.
Pour the Eggy Mixture into a large bowl on top of the pasta and shredded cheese and stir until well-combined.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the middles are firm.
I’m banking on the fact that these will freeze well and have transferred half of them directly to the freezer. If for some reason, they do not thaw/reheat well after freezing, I will update this post to let you know.
Below is a picture of the super-bland-looking mixture in the muffin pan before baking. At this point, I found myself wishing I had some panko bread crumbs to sprinkle on top with melted vegan butter for a little crunch and color. Then I realized how funny that was, given that I had used gluten-free pasta. 😉
The good news is that in the end, they don’t look bland at all! They have a nice rich color, and if anything, after only 20 minutes in the oven, I think I could have left them in for the full 25 to brown a bit more on top. Maybe next time.
Next time, I’m not even going to bother with the paper liners, as they slid right off of the mac ‘n cheese bites when I pulled them from the muffin pan. I love how perfectly these little bites held their form!
And finally, here is what they look like on the inside–ooey, gooey, cheezy goodness that is a cross between quiche and baked mac ‘n cheese. Alex gobbled one up before they had a chance to cool and gave it a thumbs up. Yay!!