I admit we took a lot of liberties when updating this wartime classic. It needed more flavor than what was available to our grandmothers—and a lot less salt. I’m one of those folks who believe salt should be used to bring out flavor, not be a flavor, but there’s a “salt to taste” option in the recipe for those who feel otherwise. We also took out the evaporated milk and bacon fat because that’s how we roll in 2015.
Yankee Doodle Macaroni [Vegan]
- Olive oil cooking spray
- ½ pound carrots, thinly sliced
- ½ pound cauliflower (about ½ head), cut into small florets
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
- 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 (1-pound) package medium-size tube or shell pasta (we recommend elbow macaroni)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups almond or soy milk
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of celery seed
- 2 dashes of vegan liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more to
- sprinkle over the top
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray a shallow baking dish with a heavy coating of olive oil cooking spray. Spread the carrots and cauliflower in an even layer in the dish and spray them with a coating of the cooking spray. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the vegetables. Roast the vegetables until they become tender, tossing them with a wooden spoon every 8 to 10 minutes to make sure they cook evenly. It took about 20 minutes for our vegetables to roast, but yours might take more or less time depending on how small you cut them.
- While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta following the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and set aside in the colander.
- In the pasta pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender. Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon. The vegetables in the oven should be tender by now; toss them in the pot with the onion and add the almond milk and 3 tablespoons of the nutritional yeast. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
- Use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree the sauce. If you’re using a food processor or blender, you may have to do this in batches—be careful, as the sauce will be hot. Once the sauce is smooth, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, the garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, vegan liquid smoke, soy sauce, turmeric, and paprika. Remove from the heat and give it a taste test, adding salt and pepper as needed. Gradually mix in the cooked pasta using a wooden spoon until it’s completely coated in the sauce.
- Serve hot, with some smoked paprika sprinkled over the top for a bit of color.