Sainsbury’s vegan mac and cheese

Sainsbury’s vegan mac and cheese

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Sainsbury’s reported earlier this year that sales of their newly launched vegan cheese exceeded expectations by 300%. This is not bad at all considering the vegan market has always been viewed as small and somewhat niche. I decided to give their vegan macaroni cheese a try.

It’s a ready-made meal for one which you heat for five minutes in the microwave. It’s also gluten-free and wheat-free which is a disappointment for me since I’m not in the 1% of the population that has coeliac disease. Why does it matter, you ask? Gluten-free foods tend to have a higher glycemic index (GI) than foods made with wheat. Wheat is often replaced with rice or potato and both are very starchy and have a high GI. Wheat has more protein in it than rice and therefore a lower GI. I will always choose wheat over rice and potato for this reason. I also prefer the taste of wheat. Pasta made with rice is often sticky and doesn’t have the same flavour. It annoys me when vegan food is made gluten-free. I guess they are trying to boost sales by capturing two different markets but when I see gluten-free I usually put my wallet away. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Daniel and people who follow a gluten-free diet are at a slightly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

I purchased Sainsbury’s mac and cheese without realising it was pasta made with rice but I ate it nevertheless and it was very tasty. If I hadn’t known it was made with rice I probably wouldn’t have realised. The texture was good and suitably cheesy. If I was a coeliac I’d definitely buy it but given that I’d prefer pasta made with wheat for health and taste reasons, I will not buy it again. Now to go and do 300 star jumps to combat the sugar rush…

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Vegan macaroni cheese recipe

I haven’t shared a recipe for a while and last night I cooked a vegan version of macaroni and cheese which my kids love and so do we. It’s adapted from a recipe called Sunflower Mac in one of the best vegan cookbooks on the market, Isa Does It.

My sister told me recently that the photos I put on my blog to accompany recipes often look like vomit. This is the nice thing about sisters: they tell you the truth when others are too polite to say it 🙂 I’m still going to include a photo with this recipe but it’s not very good and possibly looks more like vomit than food. This is partly because I forgot to take a photo and we’d all licked our bowls clean before I realised. So I had to scrape the remains from the saucepan and put them in a little ramekin. This is all there was left. Is a bad photo better than no photo?

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Ingredients

1 cup of cashews finely ground (I grind them in a coffee grinder)
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of vegetable stock
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
Juice from one lemon
Pasta

I don’t cook with salt but feel free to add some salt to taste.

Fry the onions and carrots for about 10 minutes until soft then add the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds. Cook the pasta while the onions and carrots are frying.

Remove the onion mixture from the heat and add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, ground cashews, and lemon juice. Use a stick mixer to mix it all up into a smooth paste. Add the flour and return it to the heat for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.

When the pasta is done, pour the sauce over the top and mix well. Serve and eat!

The original version of this recipe users sunflower seeds instead of cashew nuts for people who are allergic to nuts.