Not long after devouring my birthday Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese Pizza dinner, I immediately began thinking of ways in which it might be improved. (Perfectionist much?) Now I prefer my mac & cheese on the creamy – nay, soupy! – side, so that’s where my mind went first: how best to make this pizza a little bit more like the cheesy, melty, liquid macaroni and cheese dish that I so love. (Confession time: while I was watching the cheese sauce for Shane, I couldn’t resist licking the spoon. “HOLY SHIT I WANT TO DRINK THIS CHEESE SAUCE FROM A MUG!” said I.) Since the macaroni and cheese is baked twice in the original recipe – once on the stovetop and again in the oven – I thought that adding it to the pizza after it’s done baking would help to preserve some of its saucy goodness.
The difference wasn’t as dramatic as I’d hoped, but that’s okay; this is still one yummy pie! Basically I just made a “white” (orange?) pizza topped with margarine, soy bacon and cheddar Daiya and baked it as I would normally. While it was in the oven, Shane and I made the mac & cheese on the stovetop. We timed both dishes so that they finished cooking at roughly the same time and, when the pizza was done, on went a helping of macaroni and cheese. We halved the amount of pasta used in the previous recipe so as to cut down on the carbs (and cheese!), and I think it worked out well; this pizza is more like a pizza and less like a carb pie!
Shane insists that the original recipe is superior, but he likes his mac & cheese baked whereas I don’t. Or rather, I prefer soupy, saucy stovetop mac & cheese over its drier, oven-baked cousin. So try ‘em both and let us know what you think, mkay? THE TIE MUST BE BROKEN!
fwiw, this was the scene as we sat down to plates loaded with pizza slices and sides of mac & cheese (we made a full recipe, of course! ALWAYS MAKE A FULL POT OF MAC & CHEESE!):
Me: I AM GOING TO GET PREGNANT WITH THIS MAC & CHEESE!
Shane: [looks of horror and revulsion; not just at the thought of sexy time with cheesy pasta, but also - presumably - because neither of us wants children, to the point that this is a condition in our prenup]
Me: I mean I’m going to eat so much that my belly bloats up to where I look pregnant. YOU KNOW, MY BABY BUMP.
And I did.
With that, I bring you: Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese Pizza, No. 2!
Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese Pizza, No. 2
For the dough:
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the mac & cheese:
1/2 cup Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup uncooked macaroni (mini shells are my personal fave!)
2 tablespoons margarine
6 oz plain soy milk
FYI: this is 1/4 of my recipe for Creamy Mac & Cheese with Daiya and Follow Your Heart vegan cheeses; double or quadruple this recipe you’d like some extra mac & cheese to serve with that mac & cheese pizza – or if you’d just want the mac & cheese, please! For a healthier pizza, sub in a mac & cheese recipe that uses a nutritional yeast sauce.
For the pizza:
Cornmeal or cooking spray with which to coat the pizza stone or pizza pan
Two to four tablespoons of margarine with which to coat the dough
1/2 to one cup of vegan cheddar cheese for the pizza (we used Daiya)
Eight to twelve strips of of vegan bacon, diced into small bits (optional; we used Lightlife Smart Bacon)
Prepare the dough!
1. Stir the water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt, as well as any extra spices or seasonings. Stir in the flour until blended. Form the dough into a small ball and let rest in large bowl, covered loosely with a towel, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Assemble the cheesy pizza!
2. Once you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. As the oven is heating, spread a dusting of cornmeal onto your pizza stone (or lightly coat your pizza pan with cooking spray). Using fingers dipped in olive oil (optional), pat the dough onto the stone, spreading it out evenly.
4. Next, lightly spread some margarine onto the uncooked dough, taking care not to press down too hard as you do so. It helps if the margarine is near room temp when you try this! You want even but sparse coverage; too little margarine means that the pizza will be a little on the dry side, while too much will compromise the integrity of the crust. We used between two and four tablespoons to coat the entire pizza.
5. Spread the diced bacon onto the pizza, followed by the cheddar Daiya cheese.
6. Bake at 425 degrees, for between 15 and 20 minutes for a single pizza, or 30 minutes for two pizzas.
Make the cheese sauce!
7. Once the pizza’s in the oven, it’s time to make the macaroni and cheese! Begin with the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan, bring the soy milk to a boil.
8. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the margarine, stirring until melted.
9. Add the cheese shreds, stirring gently until they combine with the liquid to form a creamy cheese sauce.
Optional: season to taste with salt, pepper, onion or garlic.
10. Reduce the heat to low, stirring every few minutes.
Make the pasta!
11. In a skillet or sauce pan, cook the pasta according to the directions provided on the package. Stop when about 90% done and drain, leaving a little hot water with the pasta. (This will mostly cook down as you continue to heat the pasta.)
Combine the two to make mac and cheese!
12. Mix the cheese sauce into the pasta, stirring well. On medium low heat, let the pasta continue to cook until it’s the desired consistency. Stir constantly during this last step so that none of the pasta or cheese sticks to the pan.
Mac & Cheese Pizza, holla!
13. Once the pizza’s done cooking – and hopefully you’ve timed this so that the pizza and pasta finish cooking at roughly the same time! – remove it from the oven and top with a drizzle of mac & cheese. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy warm, perhaps with a side of extra macaroni and cheese?
Hey, it’s not too hard to double or even quadruple the recipe, giving you two glorious vegan junk food meals in one!