On yet another trek from Pensacola to St. Augustine, my counterpart and I decided to make a lunch pitstop in Tallahassee. I just couldn’t resist introducing him to Southern vegan cuisine at the infamous Soul Veg, noted as part of the largest chain of vegan restaurants in the world, operated under the Hebrew Israelite Community of Jerusalem.
Situated just outside of downtown in a modest building next to some railroad tracks is this diamond in the rough. And yes, that’s me creeping in the reflection.
Soul Veg specializes in all things vegan soul food. With the mantra, “Your Health is Your Wealth” not only are these items intended to be tasty, but good for the body and soul. For that reason, many of these items center around greens, especially kale. With gluten free items available, Soul Veg’s menu keeps dietary limitations and preferences in consideration, while appealing to a variety of tastebuds. Vegan or not, Soul Veg is one restaurant that should be on your “must” list.
Before walking inside I was planning on limiting myself to a small snack. After all, I wasn’t that hungry and knew we had dinner plans upon our St. Augustine arrival. Of course, things quickly changed. All it took was being reminded that they pride themselves on serving up award winning mac n’ cheese and I was sold. To my satisfaction, the mac n’ cheese was just as I had hoped for and remembered it—excessively creamy and cheesy, with a spicy kick. This warm bundle of joy made for a welcomed roadside treat on a dreary, rainy drive.
To go along with our cheesy mac, we each decided on burgers we could wrap up and take on the road with us (after a few quick bites of course). We selected one Garvey (kalebone) burger (pictured below) and one Black Bean burger, both of which were tastefully prepared, served on whole-wheat buns and loaded with all the fixings, including lettuce, tomatoes, onion, mustard, barbeque sauce, and garlic and cheese sauce.
Although we both thoroughly enjoyed our burgers, the mac n’ cheese sent us into such a euphoric state, we haven’t been able to get cheesy sauce off the brain. We were so smitten we just had to recreate our own.
At Home Mac n’ Cheesy Mayhem
- 1 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
- 1 cup original almond milk
- 2-4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 Tbsp. mustard
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. garlic (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Ingredient Note: If you’re in the mood for a sweeter taste, vanilla almond milk can be used. Honestly it’s what I opt for as someone who leans toward the sweet side. Also, have some fun and throw in as much spice as you see fit . Sometimes I go the garlic route, others I reach for a dash of curry. It’s hard to mess this sauce up. I would even say the sauce gets better every single time I play around with the recipe.
Melt buttery spread in a small saucepan on stovetop. Whisk together remaining ingredients and cook on low – medium. Sauce will naturally thicken as it heats. Once heated thoroughly, pour over your meal of choice, in this case, traditional elbow macaroni noodles served alongside cooked okra.
Although we were aiming for a totally cheesy outcome, this particular rendition took on somewhat of a more hollandaise feel, which I’m not complaining about. Eggs Benedict was my favorite food back when I was three years old (yes, I was a foodie as a toddler).
If you whip up this sauce to accompany your next batch of elbow macaroni noodles, great! But please don’t think for a second this sauce is limited to noodles. It serves well with everything from quinoa to tofu scrambles.