erykah badu says that vegan food is soul food in its truest form.
“soul food depends on what you put in it. i don't mean spices either.
if you have a serious, loving, creative energetic attitude towards life, when you cook, you cook with the same attitude. food changes into blood, blood into cells, cells change into energy which changes up into life and since your lifestyle is imaginative, creative, loving, energetic, serious, food is life. you dig.”
vertamae smart-grosvenor, vibration cooking (1970)
the sauce serves about 6. use macaroni or your favourite pasta shape.
2 cups plant based milk (I prefer oat milk)
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp mustard (I prefer dijon but any will do)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vegan butter or oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
for nut free replace cashew with the thick part of a can of coconut milk (not the liquid)
1 cup cashews soaked in water overnight (if you have a powerful blender you can skip this step)
1 medium potato
1 small carrot
½ small onion
½ tsp turmeric
1 bulb of garlic or at least six cloves, peeled
1 cup nutritional yeast (get this from your local health food shop or online)
1tsp sea salt
to garnish (optional):
choose from smoked paprika, thyme, parsley, nutritional yeast or black pepper.
preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
boil the pasta in salted water.
remove it slightly before packet instructions. you want it to be cooked, but still firm and slightly chewy.
peel and roughly chop the carrots, potatoes and onions into large chunks.
cover in water and boil until the vegetables are soft. save the water do not drain it!
while these are cooking, start to prepare your white sauce. on a low heat, add your oil or vegan butter in a saucepan, add nutmeg, cayenne, paprika, flour and mustard and fry until slightly fragrant and golden.
slowly add milk, stirring or whisking continuously as the sauce thickens. careful not to let it burn!
once the vegetables are soft, blend with the remaining cheese ingredients and the cooking water and add the completed cashew cheese to the white sauce. keep some sauce aside to top the pasta with. season to taste.
drain the pasta, reserving some pasta water, and finish cooking it in the cheese sauce. add some reserved pasta water and a glug of olive oil if it starts to stick.
once the pasta is cooked but still firm, transfer to a baking tray and cover with more cheese sauce and your chosen garnish.
cover with tinfoil to keep it moist, and bake at 200C for 10 minutes. remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown.