Mac & Cheese and Kale Salad

EPISODE 109

vegan mac and cheese with kale salad alongside

I wanted to share a mini menu of these two complementary dishes that make for an easy and comforting Thanksgiving style meal. It is however, fantastic and satisfying any day of the week. The kale is so good with crispy apples, crunchy salty pepitas, and sweet dried cranberries, balancing out the savory mac and cheese. I’d encourage you roast extra pumpkin seeds, because they’re a great protein packed snack. On that note, I like the tempeh crumble not only because it’s tasty and the smokiness is so good with the “cheese,” but because it makes this a more nutritious and filling meal. Of course, you can skip it and either leave the mac naked (unadorned), or top with mushroom “bacon” or seasoned breadcrumbs. If desired, make the “cheese” sauce in advance, adding a little non-dairy milk to loosen it up when you’re ready to bake your dish.

If you’re looking for another awesome Thanksgiving meal, check out my full menu here (mashed potatoes, mushroom and sausage gravy, roasted cabbage and herby tahini dressing, balsamic green beans, crispy lemony chickpeas, and pumpkin pie with coconut whipped cream). 

Ingredients – Tempeh Crumble “Bacon”
  • 1 pack tempeh, cut into small cubes
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ orange, juice
  • 1 tablespoons super smoky hot sauce or 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce and a squeeze of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Instructions – Tempeh Crumble “Bacon”

Combine the tempeh and water in a large pan and bring to a boil. In the meantime, whisk together the orange juice, hot sauce/bbq sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, good pinch of salt and pepper. Once the water is almost completely absorbed, add the sauce, and let this simmer until it’s completely absorbed before adding the vegetable oil and sauteeing until the pieces are crispy.

Ingredients – Vegan Mac & Cheese
  • 350g noodles
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, peeled and cubed (around 2 cups)
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 lemon, juice, around 2-3 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions – Vegan Mac & Cheese

Bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil and add the sweet potato and cashews and boil for 20 minutes, until both are super soft. Drain. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt generously, then add your pasta and cook until al dente (a minute shy of when you think it’s ready). Blend together the soft sweet potato and cashews with the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper then blend once more. Place the cooked pasta into a large baking dish, top with the sauce, mix the two together, and then bake at 400F for 20 minutes. Either add half the bacon crumble into the mac & cheese and then half on top, or just sprinkle it on top and enjoy any leftovers in the following days.

Ingredients – Kale Salad with Apples, Pepitas, and Cranberries
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • 1 head Lacinato Kale, cut into strips (this also goes by the names; Cavolo nero, dinosaur kale, black kale, and Tuscan kale)
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ apple or pear, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
Instructions – Kale Salad with Apples, Pepitas, and Cranberries

Place the pepitas in a pan with the tiniest drop of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until they’re golden brown. Cool slightly (I would do more than the amount you need for this recipe and keep them in a container for snacks).

I love using the Lacinato kale because it’s much more tender than regular curly kale, making it a more delicious option when eaten raw in a salad. Tear the kale off the stalk, then roll your pieces up into a tight bunch and cut into bite sized pieces. In a large bowl combine the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup, along with a generous pinch of salt. Massage the kale (literally) for 5 minutes in order to soften it. The colour will darken and it will reduce in volume significantly. Add the apple, cranberries, and toasted pepitas. Taste for seasoning.

Wishing you a happy holiday season! Don’t forget to check out my virtual cooking lessons, follow me on Instagram, and YouTube, and sign up to my WordPress to be notified when I post new content.

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