[recipe!] shiitake bacon/DIY mac ‘n cheese bar

By: Rachel


It’s Superbowl time again, and regardless of who you’re rooting for (or if you’re like, ‘what sport is that again?’), there’s one thing we can all agree on—this calls for some good eats. Of course, so does every day that ends in “Y.” But that’s just how we work around SmartGirlVeg HQ.  


This year in preparation for the Superbowl, we’ve decided to bring back an old comfort food fave, and give it a fresh, but totally easy, spin. Remember your cozy old friend mac ‘n cheese? We’re going to dress it up like it’s going to prom.


DIY Mac ‘n Cheese Bar




Boxed macaroni and cheese (you can also make your own, like the dairy or vegan versions of our Mucho Mac and Cheese, in The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian book; however when it comes to boxed we love Annie’s. They even have a new vegan version, which we thought was a slightly different animal, but still pretty good—and definitely wins for convenience!)


Any of the following toppings—


Shiitake bacon (recipe below)


Chopped scallions




Hot sauce: Our favorite is Cholula


Buffalo sauce like Frank’s Red Hot


Sauteed, caramelized onions


Green peas


Sauteed ‘shrooms


Roasted cauliflower


Toasted breadcrumbs





Make shiitake bacon (recipe below). Make mac ‘n cheese of your choice. Place toppings in bowls. Give everyone a helping of mac ‘n cheese and dress up as you please!



Shiitake Bacon


Makes 4 “sprinkle” servings (note: mushrooms cook down A LOT)


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 40-60 minutes




10 large shiitake mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

½ teaspoon liquid smoke


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash mushrooms and trim and discard stems, leaving the caps. Slice caps into ½ inch wide slices. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, Spanish paprika and liquid smoke. Add mushrooms, and mix until completely coated. Spread onto a baking sheet and toss every 10 minutes or so until liquid has completely evaporated and mushrooms are browned and slightly shriveled and crisped.  


Disclosure: Annie’s sent us samples of vegan macaroni and cheese to try; we were under no obligation to write about it and have received no financial compensation in exchange for this mention. We just liked it and thought you might want to know about it!