Two years in a row, I have made my husband Noodles & Company mac and cheese rip-offs for his birthday. Last year, I did Truffle Mac, and this year, I did a vegetarian version of their BBQ Pork Mac & Cheese. I don’t really know how this became a thing for us, but I guess it has. I don’t think anyone can beat us when it comes to non-sensical traditions to mark important occasions, which is okay with us, because mac & cheese is far superior to sappy greeting cards anyway.
This item isn’t always on the Noodles & Company menu, but when it was, Chris and I were both intrigued and we wondered if they could sub out the pork for tofu, but neither of us wanted to be that person, so we didn’t ask and for months, I promised him I would try to make a meatless version at home. When tackling this recipe myself, I knew that I couldn’t just use any kind of tofu – it had to be baked!
The last thing you want in your mac & cheese are soft cubes of tofu. Baked tofu has a firm, chewy texture because baking in the oven dries it out. My Baked Barbecue Tofu recipe is one of the most popular posts on Oh My Veggies. It really is tofu for tofu haters! Or at least people who think they hate tofu, because if you still hate it after it’s been baked to chewy perfection and slathered in barbecue sauce, then you really do hate tofu and you can wear that label proudly. Or with shame. Whichever you prefer.
I tweaked the tofu recipe a little bit to make it work for this mac & cheese — I cut the tofu into smaller cubes and I skipped marinating it to save a little time. Because I had a big block of smoked cheddar in the fridge, I used that instead of traditional cheddar, which made the finished dish even tastier.
Between the creamy mac & cheese and the chewy BBQ tofu, this is the kind of meal that will scratch any comfort food itch you might have. A lot of vegetarians miss the smoky flavor of some meats, like bacon, and if you fall into that camp, this recipe is for you.
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