So creamy, so cheesy, without the cheese or dairy. You won't believe this mac and cheese is plant based. My kids loved this recipe and I enjoyed it as well. It's so smooth, rich, yet light at the same time. Best of all, I made it in less than 30 minutes.
Just take a look at the creaminess. Can you believe it's 100% dairy free? This is one of the best vegan cheese recipes. Its comfort food at its best and since we've been trying to eat less meat at least once a week, this fits the bill for Meatless Monday. I don't know what it is but having set menus in my head for each day helps so much. Or at least categorized like Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Takeout Thursday, Pizza Night Friday.
Mac and Cheese is so well liked. I have yet to know a person who doesn't like mac and cheese, especially a kid. This is a healthier take on the loved classic. I think it's got to be the most requested dish by kids everywhere, and frankly I myself sometimes crave a small bowl. Who am I kidding, more like a big bowl! The traditional mac and cheese is so good, but so heavy. This one is a happy medium.
Why You'll Love This Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Dairy free - This is a great dairy free option for anyone who wants to eat less cheese and more plant based foods.
- Veggie Packed - My secret to creamy mac and cheese is potatoes and carrots. Potatoes has carbohydrates, but it actually has a lot of fiber believe it or not. Potatoes also have vitamins and minerals like magnesium, and potassium. It even checks off some boxes and has vitamin B6 and C. Carrots have a ton of beta carotene, which keeps your eyes healthy.
- Great for Lunch Boxes - I like to pack this for my kid's lunch boxes. I feel more confident leaving it out in room temperature, compared to a dairy based mac and cheese. While I don't advise it to stay out for more than 3 hours, I do feel better about packing it in a lunch box because it is plant based.
Ingredients For Vegan Cheese
- Macaroni - aside from the cheese, the pasta is the star of this dish. You can choose whatever pasta you like, but elbow macaroni is a favorite.
- Carrots - Carrots have several vitamins including A, K, and C. It also has a good amount of potassium, fiber, calcium and iron. I would say its one of the more sought after vegetables as far as kids are concerned because of its sweeter flavor
- Potatoes - give this recipe body. It really adds to the sauce and is a great source of fiber and vitamins.
- Cashews - I like to use raw cashews since it is unsalted. Cashews also gives the sauce body so it looks like real cheese. Once blended it becomes a super creamy sauce. These legumes are rich in fiber and low in sugar.
- Seasonings - Don't skip these cheesy flavorings. Without garlic powder, onion and turmeric, this mac and cheese is pretty flavorless. You want to make sure to add these.
- Nutritional Yeast - this ingredient gives it a cheesy flavor. Please make sure you don't skip this ingredient.
- Mustard - this is another seasoning addition. It adds to the overall flavor.
- Olive Oil - you'll need this to make it saucy.
- Plant Milk - any plant milk will do, but I opt for a milder flavor milk. I used almond milk and it turned out great. I do suggest an unsweetened milk, however.
How to make the Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
- Boil carrots, potatoes, and cashews until tender.
- Cook pasta per box instructions.
- Blend vegetables, cashews, oil, milk, yeast and seasonings until smooth.
- Toss cooked noodles with blended cheese sauce.
Step by Step Instructions to Make Vegan Mac and Cheese From Scratch
First, lets make your sauce. You'll want to use a medium size pot and boil carrots, potatoes and cashews for 20 minutes. Boil them until all are tender and soft. This will make your next step easier, set aside.
Next, cook pasta according to box directions and set aside.
Then it's "cheese" making time. All you'll need to do is add the cooked vegetables, cashews, and seasonings to a blender. Blend it until it's nice and smooth and creamy.
Toss cooked noodles in the cheese sauce and serve warm. If noodles and sauce have cooled, reheat stovetop, adding panko topping if desired. You may bake the panko topped mac and cheese in an oven safe dish at 400F until golden brown. I've eaten it plain or baked it for a nice crunch, it tastes great either way.
- Make sure you boil the vegetables and nuts for a good amount of time. This will create a very smooth texture for your sauce.
- To make this nut free, sub cauliflower for the cashews. Don't forget to steam or boil the cauliflower. If you use raw cauliflower to blend, it will have a gritty texture.
- You can also make this into a butternut squash vegan recipe, just add in some blended cooked squash to the recipe.
- I made this very child friendly, feel free to add more seasonings if you wish like red pepper flakes or black pepper.
- Is this vegan cheese creamy?
- Yes it is! I couldn't believe how smooth and creamy this came out and my kids couldn't tell the difference either. They are not that picky though.
- I don't have nutritional yeast, can I do without it?
- Nutritional yeast really adds to the cheesiness to this dish. I highly recommend buying some at your local grocery store. It may not be at your run of the mill store, but your health centered stores should carry it.
- What do I serve with vegan macaroni and cheese?
- Our family likes to eat this with a side of broccoli or carrots. Sometimes we like it with meatloaf, there are some vegan varieties out there as well.
- I like my panko baked can I bake this?
- Yes you may. Just top it with some panko bread crumbs on top and bake at 400F until top is golden brown.
- Can I make this gluten free?
- Yes you can, simply make sure your ingredients are free of gluten, like the pasta for instance and panko bread crumbs if adding.
- Can I make this ahead of time?
- Yes you may, it does keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
- Can you freeze these?
- This recipe is best fresh, but yes you can! I always suggest placing it in an air tight container. I personally like to put this in smaller containers so I can have it ready for small servings. Furthermore, some days I separate the cheese and the macaroni and then combine when ready to eat. That's fine too.
- How do I reheat cold mac and cheese?
- Just microwave or heat over stove top for a few.
- What is vegan cheese made of?
- Added it here in case you went straight to FAQ. The main ingredients are carrots, potatoes, cashews, plant milk, oil, and seasonings.
- How long will it keep in the fridge?
- You can happily keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- What does vegan mac and cheese taste like?
- The texture is 10/10 for sure and kids *may or not notice the difference. My recipe is a great vegan cheese substitute, but it is a little different. I think it's definitely worth a try!
Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb Macaroni Noodles cooked according to box directions
- 2 cups Russet Potato peeled and large diced
- 1 cup Carrot Peeled and diced
- ½ cup Cashews raw and unsalted
- ⅓ cup Olive Oil
- ¾ cup Plant Milk of Choice
- ½ cup Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tsp Yellow Mustard
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- Optional Garnish: parsley panko
- Start by boiling carrots, potatoes and cashews for 20 minutes or until all components are tender and soft.
- Cook pasta according to box directions and set aside.
- Add the cooked vegetables and cashews to blender, along with the remaining ingredients.
- Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
- Toss cooked noodles in cheese sauce and serve warm. If noodles and sauce have cooled, reheat stovetop, adding panko topping if desired.
Looking for more vegan ideas?
Tried this vegan mac and cheese recipe and love it? Please leave me a comment and rating below. Feel free to also tag me, I love to see your creations and sharing them. For more inspiration follow us on Instagram Or like us on Facebook