Tonight's Meal is another Food Network Friday Challenge from over at Tami's Vegan Appetite blog. In case you don't know, Tami Noyes is the author of American Vegan Kitchen and a fantastic lady, not just a great chef!
This week, however, an unlikely combo in the form of Rachel Ray's Reuben Mac-N-Cheese is to be veganized. Let's see:
Mac-n-cheese: good. tasty.
Reuben: great, yummy.
I was skeptical at best! Sauerkraut with a cheesy pasta sauce? Sounded like Hamburger Helper on crack lost in the dark woods on Mars.
So here is what I did:
First off, I made it soy free - no Daiya or fake cheese anywhere in site.
Second: Rachel says to rinse the sauerkraut. Uh.., after rinsing it it seems the kraut reverts back to a limp cabbage. Nope, no rinsing the kraut here.
Third: I used my corned seitan that I had in the freezer from Reuben sandwiches a few weeks ago and I cut them into small dice and fried them in olive oil until very crispy - almost like bacon, but better.
Fourth: Rachel's recipe makes no reference to the Thousand Island dressing and I love that in this sandwich, but a relish in mac-n-cheese seemed stranger than sauerkraut. So of course I thought of something even stranger than that: fried caper berries.
Fifth: I also fried the sauerkraut.
Not deep fried caper, seitan or kraut - pan-fried in some olive oil - almost like sauteing but with a tablespoon of oil and not a teaspoon.
My sauce has nutritional yeast, paprika, cashews, onion powder, garlic clove, tahini and salt.
I used Quinoa pasta, cooked half-way and finished cooking in the sauce. I mixed some of the sauteed sauerkraut and corned seitan with the pasta and sauce and also added some on the top with some caraway seeds. No bread crumbs, though. Sorry, Rache.
Turned out to be unique and actually very good. The kids loved it and David liked it. One of the few meals where the kids rated the dish higher than David did.
cashews, nutritional yeast, tahini: $3
sauerkraut, corned seitan: $4
capers, spices: $2
Total to feed a family of 5: