So, a brief confession. Every time I make macaroni and cheese, I try to make something with barbecue sauce to go with it just to give me an excuse to put barbecue sauce on my macaroni and cheese. I couldn’t care less what’s under the barbecue sauce; it just has to be present.
It used to be that the role of barbecue-sauce-vehicle was played by pulled pork or ribs, but since those are now a thing of the past, this rendition features some whole-grain tempeh from Trader Joe’s. I’d never tried it before, but I figured adding barbecue sauce could only really be a benefit.
Well, the macaroni and cheese was an absolute win. Last time I tried to make a vegan cheese sauce, I used some internet suggestions and just blended together soy milk, cashews, and nutritional yeast. It went straight down the sink due to tasting incredibly bad.
Fortunately, this time was better. I went back to my old friend Serious Eats, where I found a vegan nacho sauce recipe. With a few tweaks (ie, leaving out most of the spicy shit so my kids would eat it), it made an amazing sauce for vegan mac and cheese. It’s rich, creamy, and a little tangy. Basically, perfect. Everybody loved it, kids and adults.
The tempeh, alas, wasn’t such a hit. It was quite dry, and the texture was frankly a little off-putting. I’ll try it again in a more traditional recipe before writing it off, but it wasn’t great here.
It did do a great job of carrying the barbecue sauce, though.
For the tempeh, I marinated it in barbecue sauce for a while, then baked it in the oven for about twenty minutes per side. It didn’t taste bad or anything, but it wasn’t anything special.
The macaroni and cheese, though, was awesome. I used this recipe for vegan nacho sauce from Kenji at Serious Eats, and it was incredible, even without a number of the spicier flavorings. I’ll be doing it again, and again, and agin.