Baked Vegan Mac & Cheeze Balls

Deck the halls with balls of macaroni and cheeze!  To conclude our 5 Days of Holiday Balls we bring you these delicious vegan balls that bring comfort food to the next level, with a rich and cheezy center and crunchy crisp shell… you would never guess that they were entirely plant-based.  These would make a great addition to any holiday spread!

Serves:  12 balls
Prep time: 30 mins
Cool time: 30 mins
Bake time:  20 mins

Ingredients:

2 cups of macaroni noodles (dry measure)

For the “cheeze” sauce:
4 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
juice of one lemon
sea salt to taste

For the crust:
1/2 c unsweetened nut milk of choice (we used cashew)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Herbamare sea salt

Steps:

  1.  In a medium sized saucepan, mix together cashews, cauliflower, vegetable broth, and garlic. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes (until cauliflower has softened).
  2. Remove from heat and transfer the cauliflower/cashew mix to your high speed blender.
  3. Add in the nutritional yeast and lemon juice, blend on high speed until completely smooth.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Prepare the macaroni as indicated on the package (al dente is preferred).  Once cooked, strain the noodles but do not rinse, as this will help with stick together better when forming the balls.
  5. Allow the cheese sauce and noodles to cool slightly before combining, as you do not want the warm sauce to further cook your noodles.
  6. When ready, combine the sauce and noodles, add just enough sauce to coat the noodles, but not so much as to drench them.
  7. To help “bind” the mixture, add a couple of tablespoons on your breadcrumbs and mix well.
  8. Portion out the macaroni balls with a tablespoon and form them by rolling them between your palms, squeezing slightly to help form the round shape.
  9. Place the balls on a plate or cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes, this will allow them to “set” and retain their shape.
  10. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450
  11. Mix together the breacrumbs, italian seasoning, and herbamare sea salt in a shallow bowl.
  12. Pour the nut milk in a separate shallow bowl.
  13. Remove the balls from the refrigerator.   Take a ball and roll it in the nut milk and then quickly transfer to the breadcrumbs and roll it in the crumbs to ensure the entire ball in well coated.  Transfer to a greased baking sheet.  Repeat for all of the balls.
  14. Place the balls in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy.  No need to turn them while they bake.  I like to blast the broiler for 2 minutes at the very end to ensure the tops of the balls are browned sufficiently.

Serve on their own, or along side a zesty tomato sauce as shown!

This recipe could easily be adapted to be gluten-free, by swapping out the macaroni and bread crumbs for gluten-free options.

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