We love mac and cheese. Find out how to make this delicious dish the vegan way
When you commit to a healthy vegan diet, there are some comfort foods you can’t help but miss. Mac and cheese was a family favorite in our house when I was a kid. The box would appear on the kitchen counter, and we would wait with anticipation for that luminous cheese coated macaroni.
After much experimenting in the kitchen, we have found the vegan mac and cheese that is comforting, delicious, quick, and kid-approved.
This recipe is dairy-free, but to make it gluten-free, just swap out the pasta for a gluten-free option. You can prepare this in advance and store it in a sealed container in the fridge for 48hours. When reheating, simply add a few tablespoons of water to loosen up the sauce.
This will create four portions, or two extra-large portions because sometimes you need a little more mac and cheese! The cooking time is approximately 25 minutes.
Vegan Mac and Cheese Ingredients
- 15 oz of Elbow pasta (or gluten-free)
- 1 1/2 cups pre-softened raw, unroasted cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 clove of crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 16 oz of Elbow pasta (or gluten-free)
- Ground black pepper
- 1tsp turmeric for coloring the ‘cheese’
Vegan Mac and Cheese Instructions
- Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water. Cook according to instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine all the other ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add 2-4 more tablespoons of water if the sauce is not creamy enough and blend again.
- We recommend that you pre-soak your cashews for 2 hours to soften them up for blending.
- Drain the cooked pasta and pour the sauce over the noodles. Mix well to ensure the noodles are fully coated.
- We like to sneak in some chopped vegetables to this dish, and steamed broccoli florets are a great addition to give color and crunch.
- Any small pasta shape that can hold sauce will work as a substitute for the traditional elbow macaroni.
- Like it spicy? A pinch of cayenne pepper will add a little heat to the sauce.
- Nutritional yeasts are all slightly different; the amount in this recipe may require a little tweaking depending on the brand you use. Remember to store it in a cool dark place!
Vegan Cheese Recipes
Hands up who misses cheese?! We know how important it is to make the right vegan cheese for lots of other recipes, not just mac and cheese.
Here are some others we tried and liked:
- Already have vegan cheese in the fridge? You can heat a little vegan butter with flour in a saucepan to make a simple roux. Shred the vegan cheese and add to the roux. Add some spices and allow it to simmer until it melts to a creamy consistency gently.
- White Miso paste may sound like an unusual addition to creating an authentic cheesy flavor. We are all familiar with miso in Japanese cuisine, made from fermented soybeans, and it comes in different strengths. The white miso is a milder cousin of the red paste and can add a salty, savory flavor to cheese that is similar to sharp cheddar.
Add a tablespoon of white miso to start, and adjust for taste next time. Some people who cannot tolerate nutritional yeast, use white miso instead. We found this to be okay, but maybe a little too salty for some.
If you are a fan of replicating the cheese flavor, the nutty flavor for nutritional yeast is key. It’s worth getting a good quality version to improve the flavor. Did you also know it’s a great way to add B vitamins and minerals and protein to your diet?
Typically, one-quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast contains:
- 60 calories
- 8 grams of protein
- 3 g of fiber
- 11.85 milligrams (mg) of thiamine, or vitamin B-1
- 9.70 mg of riboflavin, or vitamin B-2
- 5.90 mg of vitamin B-6
- 17.60 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12
- It also contains vitamin B-3, potassium, calcium, and iron.
Vegan cheese is delicious and versatile. You’ll love it poured over cauliflower or vegan nachos as a snack. It’s always worth trying out a slightly different mix of spices and flavors each time you make it. We also recommend making extra when you make your mac and cheese because it will disappear pretty quickly!
Have you made vegan mac and cheese? What’s your secret ingredient? We’d love to hear about your cooking experiences. Comment below: