Fancy Mac & ‘Cheese’ Bake with Vegan Chicken & Bacon Crumbles

Think mac n’ cheese but grown-up!

I almost wasn’t going to share this but it’s just too delicious not to! The evenings get dark so quickly now that it’s almost impossible to get a good picture and it’s always the tastiest meals that I can never capture well enough. Maybe it’s because I can’t wait to eat them..

But this really is the mac n’ cheese of dreams, well, my dreams anyway! It’s like a huge carb filled hug, so comforting and so good. I hope you love it as much as I do!

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Prep Time: 20 mins              Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins      Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 500g macaroni pasta
  • 1 large white onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 100 g mushrooms
  • 1-2 slices of bread
  • 300g vegan chicken pieces (I used Tesco’s meat free chicken style pieces)
For the sauce
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (optional)
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
For the bacon
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 50 ml liquid aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Drain and press the tofu. Mix together the liquid aminos, agave, balsamic glaze, smoked paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Crumble the tofu into the bowl and gently stir around to ensure it is all well coated in the mixture.
  3. Place the tofu on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread out evenly. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway.
  4. In the meantime while the bacon is cooking, boil your pasta according to package instructions (make sure to keep it al dente!) and finely chop the onion and garlic, slice the mushrooms.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions for one minute before adding in the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Add in the vegan chicken pieces, coconut milk, cream cheese, veggie stock cube, herbs, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and mustard. Cook to a simmer.
  7. Drain your pasta and transfer it into the sauce, mix well until fully incorporated.
  8. Pour half of the pasta into a greased baking dish, add a layer of crumbled tofu bacon, pour in the rest of the pasta and top with more tofu bacon. Alternatively you could mix the crumbles into the pasta if you prefer.
  9. In a blender, pulse the sliced bread a few times to turn it into breadcrumbs. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the breadcrumbs and mix it in, this will help the bread to become nice and crispy. Sprinkle them all over the top of the macaroni to cover it completely.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Serve as a main or a side dish, delicious hot or cold, also goes very well with a side of greens.
  12. Enjoy!
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Side notes:
  • I didn’t have any but I think it would be lovely with a layer of spinach under the bacon crumbles and a great way to sneak in greens to a carb filled meal!

I really hope you enjoy this recipe, thanks for reading!

Love, Áine.

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