Many of you probably don’t know that I spent a little over a year working as a line cook and pastry chef at a vegan restaurant near Washington DC. It began as my school externship and I stuck around for awhile after graduating because I liked the experience. Several people have asked why I chose to work in a vegan restaurant. There were many reasons. First of all, I was very annoyed by the stuffy attitude at my school where the instructors constantly insisted that a real meal must always include meat. I’m not even a vegetarian and I think that’s a load of crap. They need to get with the times. Secondly, I wanted to try something completely different after 6 months of non-stop heavy French cuisine. I wanted to think outside the box. The contentious side of me enjoyed telling my classmates where I was headed as they stared at me in horror. I was ultimately very glad I did this because I feel like I got a more well rounded education. I bet most of them would turn up their noses at this vegan chorizo macaroni and cheese but that’s their loss. This dish is incredibly comforting and perfect for vegans, vegetarians or anyone who likes to take a break from meat every now and then. You’d never know this was missing the cheese and real sausage aside from the fact that you feel much less heavy after eating it than you would after the real thing.
Read more about my culinary school experience here.
I’ve used some specific brands in the recipe. For the most part I prefer to let you choose the brands but I recommend Daiya here. I cannot promise the same results if you use a different brand. Daiya melts like regular cheese which is why it works very well. I’m not a huge fan of the flavor by itself but when combined with nutritional yeast and soy milk it’s oddly reminiscent of Velveeta. Not elegant but pretty darn tasty. If you’re aware of a good substitute please let me know it in the comments!
Yields 6 servings
- 1 box pasta shells (16 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups soy chorizo, diced small (I recommend Field Roast or Trader Joe's)
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- 3 cups Daiya cheddar style shreds
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Prepare pasta shells according to package directions and set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil and then pan fry the chorizo. Allow it to caramelize well. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring soy milk to a simmer over medium. Whisk in Daiya cheddar and nutritional yeast and continue stirring until the "cheese" has dissolved and the sauce has thickened.
- Combine the pasta with 3/4 of the "cheese" sauce. Serve in bowls garnished with the chorizo crumbles and some extra sauce drizzled on top.