Photos updated on 3/11/2014. Brussels sprouts are one of those things that I’ve heard so many awful things about, I never bothered to try them. Recently, they’ve been popping up on pretty much every blog I read, so I figured I’d finally give them a try. I saw a recipe for Buffalo Veggie Pasta bake over on Coffee and Quinoa that was full of Brussels sprouts. Given my not-so-secret new love of Buffalo sauce, I just had to try it out. Erica goes on about her love of cheese, so I felt a little bad veganizing this recipe. But, sorry I’m not sorry– the vegan version is AMAZING! Because this was my first time with Brussels sprouts, I didn’t want to put too many in. Once I tasted them, I was so upset I didn’t add more! They soaked in flavor from the cheese sauce so well and played nicely with the spicy hot sauce. I also mashed up an avocado to include in the cheese sauce, which gave it an insanely creamy texture for a vegan sauce. If you don’t like any of the veggies in this, feel free to sub them out but I really liked the combo. I know bleu cheese is the thing to mix with Buffalo sauce, but I have a Penicillin allergy, so it’s not safe for me to eat unless I want to be covered in hives (beautiful picture, right? Your welcome). Josh is Ranch-obsessed, so he drizzled his with Ranch dressing, while I’m sour cream obsessed, so that’s the route I took. Both options were tasty ones and helped tame the spiciness. Be sure to adjust the hot sauce to taste! If you add too much, no amount of creamy dressing is going to make it edible for you.
Vegan Buffalo Veggie Mac and Cheese
Author: Kelly Hutchinson
8 oz whole wheat shell pasta or GF pasta
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ yellow onion, minced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, rough chopped
½ pound Brussels sprouts, sliced into circles
3 c unsweetened almond milk (or other milk)
1 ½ c nutritional yeast
4 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp liquid smoke
1 avocado (Optional)
¼ – ½ c Franks RedHot (I used ½ c)
Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a casserole dish.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, begin sauteing veggies in a large pan (I used a thin layer of water, but you could use oil or butter). Start with the garlic, onion, and carrots. Add the mushrooms and Brussels once the carrots have begun to soften. Continue until veggies are your desired texture: they will not soften any more while baking.
Mix together the milk, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Mash the avocado, adding a little water as necessary to form a paste. Stir into the hot sauce mixture.
Pour the sauce over the veggie saute and allow to thicken slightly.
Mix the veggies with sauce with the noodles. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until the sauce is nice and creamy, stirring about halfway through if the top starts to look a little dry.
Top with bleu cheese, Ranch dressing, sour cream, or anything you want and serve.
I originally wrote the recipe using avocado — I’ve since tried without and it is just as rich and creamy. Nutritional estimate does not include avocado. [br]This casserole gets better with age. On day 2, the sauce looks and feels even more like real cheese.