Best ever?! Yeah, I went there. This recipe came to me during the time that is now known as Covid-19 quarantine. Sitting at home and not knowing what to make one Sunday evening, I decided to make a chipotle cheese sauce. I had some leftover chipotles that I had frozen and thought they'd be perfect in a cheese sauce. I was correct! This vegan mac and cheese sauce was born and dare I say, it's the best ever vegan cheese sauce I've tried.
Let's just get this out of the way right now, times are weird and kinda scary. I truly never imagined the year 2020 (or any other year) that the world would basically shut down and self isolate due to a global pandemic. And as much as I try to always stay positive and hopeful, during times like this, it can be difficult. For the most part the following tips are what I'm doing lately and finding it helpful:
The gym has closed in my condo building, so I'm finding new ways to move. Whether that means going outside for a solo walk, or doing an amazing class from the comfort of my condo, I'm finding ways to move. Because I work from home all the time, I know how important it is to move after being inside all day. So if you are able to get outside, I highly suggest getting out there and going for a walk.
This has been my go-to morning practice for years and it's made such a difference during other difficult times. When I went through a really shitty breakup last year, I leaned on this practice even more. Whatever your practice looks like, I find it helpful to jot down three things that I'm grateful for each morning. I like using this journal- the five minute journal.
Living on my own, I'm used to alone time, but this situation feels different. As much as I'm an independent person, I still get lonely from time to time. Obviously, I can't get together with friends and family at the moment, so I'm choosing to get online more. FaceTime or Zoom chats with friends and family is everything right now.
Especially the amount of news I watch. I like to be informed, but I don't feel the need to watch the news 24/7 during times like this. I usually scroll the news online for about 15 minutes a day or so and read about what's happening. But I don't spend more than that watching or reading about the pandemic.
I have to say, one positive thing to come from Covid-19 and social isolation has been the ability to get more creative in the kitchen. Normally, if I were to make a recipe and needed an ingredient, I'd run out and get it. But now, I've learned to be more creative and use what I have on hand, to avoid having to run out all the time. Plus, going out to get groceries right now isn't very fun and I'd rather go out less.
This vegan mac and cheese sauce came about because I had a craving for something comforting and cozy, but I wanted a little more kick. Enter chipotles! For this recipe, I'm using canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This stuff has some heat! If you're wanting to lessen the heat, definitely remove the seeds and use less of the pepper. If you're like me and like some heat, you can remove some of the seeds but keep most in there.
And if you want to add more fibre and protein, I love using chickpea pasta. I love these shells from Banza. Or these ones from the brand Chickapea, but just don't cook them as long as the package states as I find these ones will get mushy. Also, always strain and rinse with cold water after cooking them.
And don't skip the nut/seed topping because it adds a great crunch on top. I used Brazil nuts, but if you don't have, use almonds or walnuts in addition to the sunflower seeds.
To make this vegan mac and cheese sauce, you'll need to have a few things prepared.
Obviously I developed this cheese sauce to be used in this mac and cheese, but you can also use it in so many other ways. I had leftovers from making a double batch and used it as a delicious nacho cheese sauce. Just drizzle some on top of your nacho plate along with anything else you want and bake it in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. I was desperate to make nachos, but didn't have any black beans, so I got creative again. I defrosted this veggie burger (aka the best ever veggie burger) and crumbled it on top of the nachos. Then I topped with some salsa, red onion and guac and it was SO good!
Other ways you can use this sauce would be as a dip to chips (or nachos!), or with veggies. Of course, you could just make more vegan mac and cheese, you don't need to bake it either, it's good as is.
This vegan mac and cheese sauce should last in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days. You could also freeze it for longer. I would freeze in a jar, leaving enough room at the top, and then defrost it at room temperature. Then you could just reheat and serve.
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A delicious and easy baked vegan chipotle mac and cheese.
No Brazil Nuts: Use almonds or walnuts instead.
No Fresh Chives: Use another fresh herb such as parsley or cilantro.
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