For me, “fancy” mac and cheese used to involve expensive things like Gruyere and lobster—before I gave up both.
Now my version of fancy includes adding any rich, deep-flavored, umami-style ingredients.
In today’s recipe, “fancy” is going to look like caramelized onions and mushrooms and spinach!
And in Kentucky, bourbon makes everything fancy!
I love the robust flavor of the onions combined with the meatiness of the mushrooms. Whenever caramalized onions are involved, I’m in!
Unless it’s dessert—then I’m out. ;)
I’m not a sweet and savory combination gal. However, tastebuds can change, especially as we age.
Case in point, I’ve just started liking bourbon in the last month! I know! Probably why it ended up here in this recipe, ha!
I used a box mac here because, well, it’s easier and faster. However, please feel free to make a cheese sauce like the one in my Vegan Avocado Mac + Cheese post!
And our own Nikki Dinki is the “Hack Your Mac” Queen. So, there’s some inspiration there as well! Check out her site for some amazing mac and cheese transformations! Yum!
Another reason I used a boxed mac is because of the variety in time, cost, and user-friendliness available. Most stores carry Daiya brand box kits like the one I’m using here. And if you want to take it to a party last-minute, this recipe is great for that—super time efficient!
We all have lives and tough days, and getting a meal on the table once a day (sometimes more) can feel like the most daunting task when the hours have been ticking away.
This will be one of those put-on-your-favorite-warm-socks-and-curl-up-on-the-couch-like-it’s-TGIF recipes!
So, let give ourselves a break and box (mac and cheese) it tonight!
(Vegan) Tipsy Veggie Mac + Cheese
makes: 2 entrée servings or 4 side dish servings
- 1 box vegan Mac and cheese (I used Daiya brand)
- ⅓ cup frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 grapeseed or olive oil
- ½ medium onion, julienned
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, stems removed + thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Sea salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Place a saucepan of salted water over high heat for cooking the pasta, then follow the box directions to make the macaroni and cheese.
- Meanwhile, measure the spinach and set it aside. In a cold cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet, add the oil and onions, stirring to coat the onions in the oil. Turn the heat on to medium-low, then add the ½ teaspoon of salt, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Uncover the onions and add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally and cooking until the veggies are soft—about 7 minutes.
- Add the bourbon and deglaze the pan. Then add the spinach and garlic, and cook until all ingredients are combined and heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, divide the mac and cheese into serving dishes and top with the “tipsy” veggies. Curl up and dig in!
- If the box kit you used seems a little dry, feel free to stir in vegan butter or unsweetened no-dairy milk. Stir either one in one tablespoon at a time over low heat until you reach a desired consistency.