If you have read my blog for the last few months you may know that I have completely overhauled my diet as part of my recovery protocol. Food intolerances can most definitely be a contributing factor to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and I most certainly feel better for cutting out certain food types. However, over time I found food cravings started to reappear. This was mostly due to seeing other people eat foods I remembered enjoying. Nostalgia can be quite powerful.
I was very strict with what I ate in the first six months or so of changing my diet, which I think is important to do as your body is so weak at that point that even small amounts of the wrong thing can trigger a big flare up. More recently I have allowed myself the very occasional treat. I think it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with food and you should never feel guilty over eating certain foods– as your body becomes stronger the occasional treat can be okay for some. With that said, however, after following an exclusion diet for a few months you do develop a better sense of what is okay for you to eat and what downright disagrees with you. This means you are naturally more likely to choose food options that are good for you, rather than think about food in terms of what you can and cannot eat. This is definitely true for me. I have to say I have always been left feeling disappointed after eating those foods I used to love. They either leave me feeling a bit gross and bloated or drain me of energy. Eating them has really just reminded me of why I don’t eat them on a regular basis. You live and learn.
Recently I’ve had cravings for macaroni and cheese– a total comfort food for me and one I used to regularly enjoy. Again, it’s really just come about from seeing others eating it and thinking about how much I used to enjoy it. I suppressed this craving for a while but it’s been bugging me again lately. I therefore sought to find a recipe that would work for me– one free of both dairy and gluten but that would hopefully curb my cravings. I have to say I am not a fan of vegan cheeses. Even the ones vegans rave about are absolutely gross to me. This lead me to trying a recipe that used nutritional yeast, which has a natural cheesy flavour to it. On Saturday afternoon, my husband was tasked with trying out a vegan macaroni cheese recipe and I also kindly asked him to photograph it so I could blog about it (thanks Ross!). So was this a holy grail or a total fail?
The recipe we tried out is this one by Vegan Yumminess. You will find the ingredients and recipe there if you want to try this out for yourself. My husband tells me it was really easy and straightforward to make. Now I am not naive and, from being a past vegan, I did not expect something to taste exactly like macaroni cheese. Rather I was looking for something tasty that resembled it enough to curb my cravings. I have made vegan macaroni cheese in the past that ended up going straight in the bin so I wasn’t too sure how this would turn out.
Well it turns out the ingredients blend together to make a thick creamy sauce that certainly looks the part. It sure smelled cheesy too. But of course taste is the real test. I tasted the sauce on its own initially because I didn’t want to potentially waste the pasta. At first I wasn’t keen but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go with it. Sometimes you need to eat something a few times to really make you mind up and maybe it would taste better with the pasta?
If we have pasta I normally eat brown rice pasta (which is just as good as regular pasta by the way) but for this we used Heinz gluten-free macaroni. So not as healthy as it could have been but we made this choice so it would be more like the original. We put peas in it so that totally makes up for that, right? Anyway, turns out this recipe is actually quite nice. It’s creamy and cheesy but does have a nutty flavour to it as well thanks to the cashews. I think I would use less or leave out the garlic powder in future and perhaps play around with the ingredients a bit more. I wouldn’t say this is a holy grail but it’s definitely not a fail. I enjoyed it and it did satisfy my cravings.
If you are looking for a dairy-free alternative that tastes exactly like the real deal then you’ll end up disappointed trying this. But if you are looking for an alternative that tastes nice and will satisfy your cravings, this recipe is a good shout. I’m sure I’ll try other variations at some point in future (hence the #1 in the title) but for now I am happy.
Would you try this or do you even have any recipes for vegan macaroni cheese that you enjoy? Let me known in the comments below.