Through the years, I’ve tried more than my fair share of vegan cheese, always with some degree of trepidation. For a long time, the only alternatives available were A) abstinence, or B) a solid, yet somewhat weepy block that seemed resiliently bouncy. The latter being a product that you would never even dream of eating straight out of the its packaged state; as though cooking it would mollify the beasts dwelling within that neon, almost phosphorescent, cube.
Needless to say, I’m probably not selling you on this concept. Vegan cheeses have made great strides in a very short amount of time. Do-it-yourself-ers have taken up the task, and new and exciting books have come onto the scene. New alternatives are popping up in local mega marts, and even more in niche markets like Vegan Shop-Up, for example. Which, coincidentally, is where we heard about Treeline Cheese.
From the very beginning, Treeline was wonderful to work with, and I was very quickly set up with samples of their products. Although I’ve been told their packaging will soon be changing, they were still attractively packaged, with descriptions on the exterior.
I had the original plain, cracked pepper, and soft scallion varieties. Armed with these exciting jewels of tangy goodness, I set out to make the end all be all of comfort food: mac and cheese. Of course I may have liberated a bite or two.
The rules have changed, because with high quality lines like Treeline, you can eat vegan cheese right out of the package. If desired, vegan cheese can even be a standalone dish enjoyed on its own, or as their site rightfully boasts, on a cheeseboard, with crackers and grapes. There’s a sophistication, and an outright artistry to how these cheeses are made. I won’t degrade them with quotes, or the typical ‘z’ normally used to reference non-dairy cheese. This is cheese, made from cashews (read: nut milk), and you’re going to have to deal with it.
Since spring is slow in coming up here in the Northeast, I aimed for a cozy dish of mac and cheese with a bit of roasted, as well as fresh, greens to round out the flavors.
Brussel sprouts and curly kale are on the menu, and will add a bit of color and punch to this delicious dish.
Unending Winter Mac & Cheese
- 1/2 pound Brussel Sprouts (approx 15 sprouts)
- 1 half bunch of Kale (curly, red, lacinato, your fav)
- Olive oil (for roasting)
- 1/4 tsp Garlic powder (for roasting)
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 3 Tablespoons melted Earth Balance
- 2 cups plain, unsweetened Soy milk (or other non-dairy)
- 2 – 1/2 cups Treeline Cheese, grated (or other non-dairy cheese)
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Sweet Paprika (to taste)
- Salt & Pepper (white if you’re fussy, black is fine)
- 1 box Short Pasta (I used shells)
See the rest of my winter to spring veggie macaroni and cheese recipe here.