Charity Morgan joined "GMA" on Tuesday from her home in Nashville to chat about her forthcoming cookbook "Unbelievably Vegan" and whip up a delicious dish that's perfect for game day.
The wife of former Tennessee Titans player Derrick Morgan shared her dairy-free truffle mac and cheese recipe with multiple flavor variations for fans of savory, smokey or a hint of spicy.
"With the help of beautiful cashews you can make this as a savory dish," she said of the nut that soaks to create a silky sauce. "I can easily turn [cashews] into a cheesecake as well."
Truffle Mac and Cheezy
"You want it to have a little bit of a bite back, what we call 'al dente,' the cheat is just slightly undercook it so it can continue to cook in the oven," Morgan said. "I finish the product by adding some really high-quality truffle oil when it's done. You don't want to put it on while it's baking cause it's a very delicate oil and looses its flavor quickly with heat."
Serves 6 to 8
For the topping
1 cup panko bread crumbs or homemade bread crumbs
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons plant-based butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons truffle oil
For the mac
1 pound elbow macaroni or shell pasta
Avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
For the sauce
4 cups raw cashews, soaked and drained
3 1/2 cups unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon truffle salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, melted butter and salt; set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 3-quart baking dish.
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions, minus 2 minutes of cooking time (leaving a slightly undercooked pasta allows it to continue cooking in the oven without getting mushy); drain. Toss with a little bit of oil to prevent sticking. Transfer the cooked pasta to the prepared baking dish.
In a high-speed blender, combine the drained cashews, milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, truffle salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Blend on high until completely smooth and the exterior of the blender is warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the cheeze sauce over the pasta and stir to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed. Sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mac and cheeze is hot throughout and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 8 minutes. Drizzle the truffle oil on top, right before serving hot. (Never add truffle oil before baking, as it will lose its delicate flavor.)
Tip: Do not overbake Mac & Cheezy. Just bake it in the oven long enough to thicken the sauce, create golden edges and bring the flavors of the dish together. If you overbake it, chances are the dish will be dry.
Buffalo Mac & Cheezy
Prepare the above recipe as directed for the truffle version, but omit the bread crumb topping and truffle oil.
Substitute 1 tablespoon fine pink Himalayan salt, or to taste, for the truffle salt in the cheeze sauce.
Add 1/4 cup hot sauce (I like Frank’s RedHot Sauce), 2 teaspoons sweet paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed, and 1 teaspoon dry mustard to the blender with the other cheeze sauce ingredients. Bake as directed.
Combine half a cup of hot sauce with 2 tablespoons melted plant-based butter.
Before serving, drizzle the Buffalo sauce and half a cup of vegan ranch dressing over the baked mac and cheezy. Garnish with half cup shredded carrot and half cup thinly sliced celery.
Morgan uses this flavor combination to replicate the taste of bacon, ham or other smoked meats with liquid smoke.
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce or liquid aminos
1 tablespoon hickory liquid smoke
1 teaspoon hickory-smoked salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
In a small bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, hickory-smoked salt, paprika, and hot sauce. Stir well to combine and make sure the sugar and salt are dissolved. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Reprinted with permission from Unbelievably Vegan by Charity Morgan. Copyright © 2022. Photographs by Emily Dorio. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.