Vegan Creamy Cheese and Mushroom Macaroni

DSC_0015-picsayTrying out different vegan cheeses can be a daunting mission, there’s such a vast range, some being much better than others. However, this doesn’t put me off from trying new vegan cheeses. I enjoy a good forage in my local Holland and Barrett in search of yummy vegan treasures, and during my last trip I bought some “Garlic and Herb Creamy Sheese”.

I’ve tried Violife’s cream cheese, and I found the flavour to be pleasant, it was creamy with that familiar tang you get with cream cheese, but the texture was quite firm, much more so than dairy cream cheese.

But Sheese was much closer to a dairy version of garlic and herb cream cheese in both texture and flavour. It’s not quite as white in colour as dairy cream cheese, but it’s got that tasty tang you normally associate with cream cheese and a lovely balance of garlic and herb flavour. It reminded me of Boursin, and is lovely on toast and crackers, but I decided to cook with it too, to see how it was that way.

This is how I made my creamy cheese and mushroom macaroni.

You’ll need the following (for two servings);  

  1. 120g dried macaroni
  2. 125g mushrooms (I used chestnut)
  3. Herbs- One teaspoon of dried tarragon, one teaspoon of dried parsley
  4. Two cloves of garlic, finely diced

For the sauce you will need the following;

  1. One teaspoon of vegan margarine
  2. One teaspoon of plain flour
  3. 100ml non-dairy milk
  4. 75g vegan cream cheese
  5. 30g vegan parmesan, grated (optional)
  6. One heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional)
  7. One teaspoon of dijon mustard
  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Method;

Heat a teaspoon of oil or vegan margarine in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the garlic and fry for about a minute. Add the mushrooms, tarragon, parsley, salt and pepper and fry for a few minutes. Put them to one side once they are cooked.

Now you can cook the pasta (as per the instructions on the packet) and work on the sauce. You just want to make and simple roux and then add the cream cheese, parmesan, etc to it.

Heat one teaspoon of vegan margarine in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes, this will ensure you don’t get that unpleasant raw flour taste in your sauce.

Next add your non-dairy milk, a little at a time whisking constantly, until it’s all incorporated in the sauce. Then add the cream cheese, parmesan (if using), nutritional yeast (also if using), mustard and the salt and pepper.

After the sauce has thickened fold in your cooked pasta and fried mushrooms and garlic.

Spoon into bowls and enjoy. If you don’t like mushrooms you can leave them out, or add in any other vegetables you prefer, I imagine broccoli would work well in this too.

Bye for now 🙂

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