Upon reading her witty and delightful post, I shared with her that I know this longing all too well. There was a period in my life where I lived off of Annie’s microwaveable single serve mac n’ cheese packs. Sometimes I’d really let loose and cook an entire box of it. And my Grandma Lee—her slow-baked, super cheesy mac n’ cheese is a staple dish at our family gatherings, and has been for years. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
As I’m sure you can imagine, saying good-bye to these cheesy delights was not easy for the new, dairy-free me.
That’s why I decided to pay homage to said blogger buddy and, drawing from the info she provided, see what I could whip up, and if it would even come close to Grandma Lee's baked version. You can read Farty Girl's highly entertaining post for the full scoop, and I strongly urge you to do so, but the secret to this scrumdiddlyumptious gluten- and dairy-free dish can be expressed in one word: Daiya.
I had never heard of these cheese imitators nor seen their products before Farty came along and cut it for me. My experiences with imitation cheese have been unpleasant and extremely disappointing, to say the least. Fake cheeses typically just don’t melt or stretch or crumble or taste anything like the dairy stuff. So after quite a few lousy attempts, I’d pretty much resigned myself to living without.
That is, until Miss Farty revealed her discovery. And oddly enough, Daiya’s cheddar and mozzarella shreds have only just appeared on the shelves at Weggermans here in good ol’ Rochester, NY—as in, within the past week or so!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I beheld this tasty spectacle on my way home from work the other night. I thought for sure I’d have to petition Farty to send me some cheese shreds via snail mail (which she did offer to do, by the way). But there the lovely (albeit expensive) packs of cheesy goodness were—sitting right in front of me as I went to grab my container of Earth Balance buttery spread. So, of course, I bought some!
Not only is this stuff delicious, but it’s also gluten-, soy-, casein-, lactose-, dairy-, and cholesterol-free, and it contains 15% of your daily recommended intake of calcium per serving. That’s only 5% less calcium per serving than its average dairy-containing counterpart. (I can make this claim because I compared it to the shredded cheddar—real cheese—sitting in my shared refrigerator.)
So now, without further ado, I present to you, thanks to the illustrious and inspirational Farty Girl (with a little bit of Grandma Lee's baking style thrown in):
Fantabulously Gluten- and Dairy-Free Mac n’ Cheese
You will need:
1 package Tinkyada Gluten-Free Brown Rice Elbow Pasta (or its equivalent)
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (vegan)
4 oz. Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
4 oz. Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 1/2 Tbsp. potato flour/starch (or some other GF flour)
1/2 cup soy milk (or rice milk, almond milk, etc.)*
Optional: something crumbly**
*You can always add more if you prefer a creamier "sauce," but I was going for a melty texture as opposed to a super creamy one.
**multigrain chip bits; crushed nuts; etc.; I chose to use Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips, made with flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds, oat fiber, brown rice, quinoa, and soy flour—because they do taste good and because they were the only crumbly thing I had on hand.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cook the pasta, in a pot on the stovetop, according to instructions (16 to 17 minutes).
Drain and pour cooked pasta into a casserole dish.
In the now-empty pasta pot, stir the non-dairy milk product, Earth Balance buttery spread, potato flour/starch, and Daiya shreds until the mixture gets all ooey gooey.*
Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and spread over each and every elbow macaroni.
Bake for 20-30 minutes.**
If it suits your fancy, sprinkle some crumblies on top.
*You can also just mix these things straight into the casserole dish, but it seems to spread more evenly if you blend the cheesy stuff first.
**depending on how browned you like it
Note: If you want to get all super healthy with this one, you can always toss some veggies into the mix. I’m more of a simple gal myself, and I was really just craving the classic mac n’ cheese experience here.