Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian, Winter

This vegan macaroni and cheese is the closest I’ve had to the real deal dairy version. It’s so creamy and delicious, it doesn’t feel weight-y or heavy, and it’s quick! It’s definitely a weeknight meal and feels cozy and comforting.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

A few people slid into my DMs and said they were looking for vegan recipes. I was up for the challenge because I hardly ever make vegan things. And I want to!

If you’re anything like me, you have given “vegan macaroni and cheese” mad side-eye. I’m not gonna lie, when I look at vegan cheese in the grocery stores, I sort of shudder. But vegan cheese has come a long way (I love Kite Hill). ANYWAYZZZ, this recipe doesn’t include any vegan cheese, instead it relies on a potato, nutritional yeast and cashews to give it its creaminess.

I adapted this recipe from Cookie and Kate because Kate is a G when it comes to vegetarian/vegan recipes.

I made some changes, like more water, more crushed red pepper, I added some turmieric and switched around the add-ins but for the most part, give or take, the core of the recipe is hers.

How to make vegan macaroni and cheese:

  1. Start with the base. Heat up some garlic and onion in olive oil and cook until softened. Add the dijon mustard, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes.
  2. Make a creamier base. Add a potato and some cashews with water and cook until the potato is cooked through.
  3. Blend! Add all this to a blender with some nutritional yeast and lemon juice and blend until smooth.
  4. Toss with pasta! Choose any short pasta that you like, I chose this fancy artiglanale.
  5. Add whatever you want and serve. I decided to sauté some kale and mushrooms and add that.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

What makes good vegan macaroni and cheese?

There are a few ingredients that help get this pretty close to the real deal and make it the best vegan mac and cheese that I think are pretty important:

  • Extra flavors. I think dijon and red pepper flakes help with that.
  • Turmeric adds color to make it more yellow and appealing.
  • Potato and Cashews! The potato was surprising to me but it really helps sort of bind the sauce and make it creamy. Cashews are always used in vegan cheese so it wasn’t surprising but it is very important.
  • Nutritional Yeast. Very important to use to get that classic cheesy flavor.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Tips and Tricks:

  • Experiment with more seasonings. Try adding other spices like smoked paprika and chili powder.
  • Add more vegetables. The sauce itself is already fairly healthy but you can always get more vegetables in, I also like thawed frozen peas and spinach.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 570kcal
This vegan macaroni and cheese is the closest version I've had to the real deal dairy version. It is so creamy and delicious, it doesn’t feel weight-y or heavy, and it's quick! It’s definitely a weeknight meal and feels cozy and comforting.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 4 ounces mushrooms of choice, I used chanterelles, sliced
  • 1/2 batch of kale, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of turmeric, this is just for coloring so if you don’t have it, feel free to skip it
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and grated
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups water, plus more at the end
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pound pasta, of choice

Directions

  • To a medium pot, set over medium heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil. When warm, add the kale and mushrooms. Cook until the kale is bright green and the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt. Scoop the kale and mushrooms out of the pot and set aside. No need to wash the pot out, we’re gonna use it again for the sauce.
  • Add an additional teaspoon of olive oil. When warm, add the onion, garlic and salt. Cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the Dijon mustard, crushed red pepper and turmeric. Next, add the potato, cashews and water. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the potato is completely cooked through. Transfer to a high-powered blender, along with the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Process until very smooth, about a minute. Give it a taste and adjust the salt until you really taste the flavor. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions, until al dente. Drain and add back to the pot. Pour the “cheese” sauce over the pasta and add the sautéed kale and mushrooms. Give it a stir and divide amongst plates.

Notes

CourseDinner
CuisineAmerican
KeywordVegan Macaroni and Cheese
Serving: 4g | Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 324mg | Potassium: 482mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg
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Looking for more vegan recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

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15 Comments

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  • Reply Ana November 28, 2018 at 11:32 am

    How am I just finding this recipe!!! Thank you! Our toddler has a dairy allergy and loves noodles, doesn’t every 2 year old. So excited to give this recipe a try! I’ve used nutritional ueast, almond milk and earth balance butter but never got that creamy feel like that of mac and cheese! I’ll follow up with a review from CJ, the df two year old. 🙂
    Thanks again!!!

  • Reply kristin February 6, 2018 at 3:22 am

    sorry that last year was a rough one for you :(. i think it was for many of us, but i’m sorry for whatever it is you had to go through. i’m hoping you have a great 2018! this recipe looks awesome – definitely appreciate you throwing in a vegan option every now and then! 🙂

  • Reply abel January 29, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    I would like to say thank you for the recommendation on the book I bought, it has changed my point of view in cooking so much!!! I am a vegan and its very hard sometimes to be creative but this book has helped me a lot. I feel all of you should check it out: https://tinyurl.com/yaoynchw

  • Reply Vegan Heaven January 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    This looks so delicious, Adrianna! I love making vegan cheese sauces with nutritional yeast and cashews! Mushrooms and kale make such a great addition. Definitely trying! Yum!! 🙂

  • Reply Teresa January 16, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Sorry to hear you had a rough year. I would never have guessed. Your posts are always positive, fun, delicious! They keep bringing me back for more. Thank you and God bless!!

  • Reply kristy January 12, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Delicious recipe and I wish I could eat this right now. Need to try this very quickly. Thank you for this post. 🙂

  • Reply Cassie Thuvan Tran January 11, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Love the ideas on your vision board! I have never actually made one in a long time, but I love the process of making collages and large quotes with inspirational meanings behind them to kickstart an amazing year. I really want to try new recipes myself–this mac n’ cheese will be a great start!

  • Reply Erica January 11, 2018 at 8:46 am

    “It’s also about making beautiful work that people find happiness looking at and recreating.” Already done sister. I love love love your life posts and recipes and photography. One of my fave blogs. You may have even inspired me to try vegan mac n cheese (maybe :P).

  • Reply Emily Andrews January 11, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Beautiful post. Wishing you love and laughter in 2018 x

  • Reply Agnieszka January 10, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    You forgive them because if you don’t you’re only hurting your self by not letting it go. Also maybe they are sorry but have the hardest time saying it. Saying sorry comes easy to some people but really hard for others. Just like forgiving comes easy to some but hard for others. I hope you can forgive and feel at ease. I know it’s hard.

  • Reply Tiffany January 10, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I’m sorry you had a bad year, love. Here’s to a new year, that is hopefully better and filled with lots of Mac and Cheese (vegan and non). xo!

  • Reply Caitlin Wallace January 10, 2018 at 8:28 am

    This looks DOPE. Close to the vegan mac from my site (http://thefruitfulblog.com/vegan-pumpkin-mac-with-roasted-garlic/), but I love the idea of potato. All that starch would do gooooood things to the sauce.

    So sorry to hear you had a tough year. I love following you here and on Insta and always have. You’re positive and sunny, but also v real and sassy, and I appreciate that balance. Here’s to a bright 2018 full of manifesting.

  • Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker January 10, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Ok now I officially need to make a vision board AND make this mac and cheese ASAP. All the good vibes to you in 2018 girlfriend! xo

  • Reply Cassandra Brecht January 10, 2018 at 6:49 am

    I’m so sorry for your troubles. I hope you find solace and strength in the year to come!