It’s obviously super important to have easy and quick meals you can throw together in under 20 minutes. Pasta can fit into that category, but not if you’re making your own sauce. For that reason, I love the Daiya Cheezy Mac. It’s so simple and perfect for inexperienced cooks; the only thing that puts some people off is the taste. Personally, I like the taste of Daiya, and I love the fact that products like this exist even more. However, I do understand that the taste isn’t for everyone. It’s tricky making vegan “alternatives” because the taste will always be compared to the counterpart and rather than enjoying the unique taste of the vegan dish and appreciating it for it’s own deliciousness, it’s rated by comparison. For that reason I’ve put together this post, because I think Daiya needs to be enjoyed.
My goal in jazzing up Daiya, is to first and foremost elevate the flavour to gourmet levels (my boyfriend can confirm that this recipe goes to 11) and to accomplish this using basic ingredients you will likely have on hand. In addition, this needs to be made in the same time it takes to cook the macaroni normally. I think this is super easy, and if you weren’t a fan of Daiya before, I hope this gives you an idea of how to add and make it perfect for you. Please don’t give up on it if you’ve had a bad experience because it doesn’t have to be disappointing. All this recipe really does is add a few spices for the most part, so once you try it, feel free to change it up whatever way you like. I’ve included measurements here but don’t feel pressured to break out your measuring spoon; if you feel comfortable, add in the ingredients free hand. This should just give you a general idea of how much, just so it’s not overdone, but I encourage you to toss aside the measuring spoon if you can as that’s just another dish to wash.
1 box of Daiya Cheezy Mac
1/8 tsp of cayenne (or more to taste)
2 dashes of paprika
several dashes of black pepper
around 3 leaves of fresh basil
2-3 tbsp of nutritional yeast (and more for serving if you would like)
1 clove of garlic (optional)
any other vegetables add-ins you would like (for example: onions, spinach, peppers, etc, all optional)
vegan parmesan (optional)
Cook the pasta according to the box’s instructions. While this is cooking, chop your basil. If you choose to use garlic, mince it and either cook it in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes in about 1 tsp of olive oil. Alternatively, you can add it to the water and cook it with your pasta.
Once your pasta has been drained and put back in the pot, add in the sauce and stir it around until it covers or mostly covers the pasta. Next, add in your spices, basil, yeast and any of the optional add-ins you wanted. Stir these all around to incorporate them.
Serve and top with more nutritional yeast if you would like, or with some vegan parmesan.