I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I ate a ton of Chef Boyardee. You know...those little cans of Beefaroni and Ravioli? Basically just pasta in tomato sauce.
I know - not the healthiest - and pretty plain and boring maybe - but hey I was a kid ok? And this was the ultimate kid comfort food!
So last night as I was preparing dinner - pasta in garlic sauce - I added a can of Tomato Sauce and what do you know.....
Before I even get started - I know many people ask why us Vegans have to keep trying to imitate meals with meat.
Why do you call it Chicken and Dumplngs if there's no chicken?
Why do you call it BBQ Beef if there's no beef?
Vegan Beefaroni? WHERE'S THE BEEF? (loved that commercial)
That what it all boils down to. I recreate the comfort foods I grew up eating. And I know for many people who are just beginning this lifestyle (all you Brand New Vegans) - that having your favorite comfort foods available while you're transitioning will make the journey a whole lot easier.
That's why. Now let's get to it!
So what exactly is Vegan Beefroni?
It starts by making a basic Garlic Sauce. Mince anywhere between 4-8 good-sized cloves of garlic and sauté them in about ¼ cup of veggie broth until softened. I used 8 but I REALLY like garlic.
After cooking for a few minutes, sprinkle on 4 Tbls of regular AP Flour to make a thick paste, adding additional Veggie Broth if necessary to keep it from becoming really gummy. Gluten Free folks feel free to try Spelt Flour or whatever you normally use as a thickener.
Let that brown for about a minute and then slowly whisk in 2 cups of unsweetened Almond Milk. Be sure and break up any clumps. Season this with ½ teaspoon of Onion Powder, and salt/pepepr to taste.
You can also add Vegan Parmesan - which is basically ground up Cashews and Nutritional Yeast. I think it really gives the sauce a good flavor, but some people cannot stand Nutritional Yeast - so it's completely optional. If you do add some - I used about 2 Tbls.
Keep whisking over med-low heat until it starts to thicken. This may take a little while....just keep whisking..
Now add 1 Tbls of Pimentos, ½ chopped Red Bell Pepper, and 2 small 4oz cans of Mushrooms. Stir well until its nice and bubbly and is really begin to thicken.
If you haven't already - begin cooking your pasta - about 8 oz. I recommend Whole Wheat Macaroni, but if you're Gluten Free - use the pasta of your choice. When the pasta is done, drain well and add it to the garlic sauce.
Finally, fold in 1 can of drained diced Tomatoes and an 8oz can of Tomato Sauce, and ½ teaspoon each of dried Basil & Oregano.
Stir well to make sure all the macaroni is evenly coated.
Season with additional salt & pepper if necessary and garnish with fresh Basil.
YUM! Vegan Beefaroni. I bet your kiddos will love it.
Remember Chef Boyardee? I ate a ton of this as a kid. So what happens if you add Tomato Sauce to Macaroni & Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce? Vegan Beefaroni!
- 8 oz Macaroni ((Whole Wheat or Gluten Free))
- 4-8 Cloves Garlic ((minced))
- 4 Tbls Flour ((All Purpose or Gluten Free))
- 2 ¼ cups Unsweetened Almond Milk ((divided))
- 2 Tbls Vegan Parmesan ((optional))
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tbls Pimentos
- ½ Red Bell Pepper ((chopped))
- 8 oz Sliced Mushrooms
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes ((15oz, drained))
- 1 can Tomato Sauce ((8oz))
- ½ tsp Oregano
- ½ tsp Basil
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- ¾ cup Ground Cashews
- 3 tbls Nutritional Yeast
- ¾ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain
- Saute garlic in ¼ cup Vegetable Broth until softened
- Stir in flour until it makes a thick paste
- Slowly whisk in Almond Milk and stir well to break up any clumps
- Season with Onion Powder and keep whisking until it begins to thicken
- Add in Pimentos, Bell Pepper, and Mushroom and continue to stir
- Once it has thickened slightly, add in drained pasta and stir to coat
- Fold in Diced Tomatoes and stir well
- Add Tomato Sauce, Basil, and Oregano
- Season with Salt and Pepper