Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Trailwalker macaroni

August 10, 2016

I've been making this vegan cheesy macaroni recipe for years and am well overdue to blog it. It's stayed unblogged so long because I never take a photo of it! It's the lazy Friday night-on-the-couch recipe that uses pantry ingredients, for when I haven't soaked cashews for Isa's mac'n'cheese.

Over the years, the pressure to write it up myself has steadily increased. Source blog VeganYumYum hasn't been updated since 2012 and her archives have been disturbed by hackers. After all that time of making this macaroni for the two of us, the recipe has achieved legendary status with a small cluster of friends just this year. Back in April Michael and three mates embarked on the 100 km Oxfam Trailwalker, and I joined the support crew. I cooked this macaroni for dinner: making a double batch of sauce at home two days in advance, then the pasta and some roasted broccoli and carrot in a cabin as the team walked. I insulated the enormous pot with teatowels and we drove it to the walkers' 60 km rest stop at about 10:30pm. Steam rose from the pot as I lifted the lid and scooped carby comfort into bowls for the tired walkers. One of them has told me several times since that it was the best meal of his life.

Now I'm not promising that this recipe will make the best meal of your life - it's all in the context. But that context means, even after years of history in our home already, it's now known as Trailwalker macaroni here, even if its most frequent showing is on our couch on Friday nights.

Trailwalker macaroni
(a recipe from VeganYumYum, archived here)

500g macaroni
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup plain flour
2 1/2 tablespoons tamari
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/4 cups soy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce, making sure that you have all the ingredients ready on hand. Start by melting the margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it's completely liquid, whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. One at a time, stir in the tamari, lemon juice, miso, tahini and tomato paste - the mixture will be thick. Gradually whisk in the soy milk, just a half cup at a time, trying to maintain a smooth sauce. Stir in the yeast flakes until well combined. Keep the sauce on low heat, stirring regularly, until the pasta is ready.

When the macaroni is cooked, drain it and transfer it back to the large saucepan. Pour in the sauce and stir well. Serve immediately. We usually eat this with roasted broccoli and carrots - it's pictured above with parsley, roasted broccoli, cauliflower and kale.


  1. I have some macaroni left from my recent macaroni pies so I think I should try this - sad to hear Vegan Yum Yum's site is not being treated kindly by the web in retirement - sounds like a heroic effort indeed to make it for the trailwalkers and nice to have some history with any meal!

    1. Thanks, Johanna - I remade this recipe just around the time that I saw your pie blog post!

  2. I am so ready to try eating this macaroni

    1. I hope you will, Steph! It is not the cheesiest ever, but it is darn good.

  3. I don't know the full story of what happened to Lauren Ulm other than after her cookbook was released there was a big witch hunt against her. However that still doesn't stop me from being a big fan of her website and cookbook because her recipes are uncomplicated and so often delicious. The oven baked Mac and Cheese from her cookbook is also great. I'm glad to see her recipe pop up again :)

    1. Hi Lyf! Yes, I recall some recalcitrant 'fans' around that time too. I have heard only good things about the cookbook itself.