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This is the best vegan mac and cheese recipe because it is creamy, satisfying, quick, and also so easy to make! In addition, it's plant-based, gluten-free, healthy, and tossed in delicious cashew cheese sauce!
This dairy-free mac n' cheese comes together so fast and also the texture and taste are very similar to the regular version. Nutritional yeast really gives that cheesy flavor while cashews make this vegan mac and cheese recipe so creamy.
You can also really customize this dish by adding some vegetables and or change the flavors and try my vegan buffalo mac and cheese! I'm not a fan of store-bought vegan cheese so this recipe is perfect since the cheese sauce is made from pantry staples.
Before we jump into the recipe, let's learn some tips on how to make this homemade vegan mac and cheese recipe.
What is Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe made with
So, there are different ways to make this dish and some of them use potatoes or other vegetables. We will be making my vegan cheese sauce recipe but slightly altering the proportions.
We'll be using cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings because it makes it so creamy and delicious. To keep it gluten-free, I use gluten-free pasta for the macaroni but feel free to use your favorite pasta.
What is Nutritional Yeast and where to buy it
Nutritional yeast is a species of yeast but different than baker's yeast or brewer's yeast, it's very nutritious. It is used in cooking and has a cheesy and savory flavor so it's a perfect way to give a cheesy flavor to dishes like my vegan lemon pasta or one pot pasta.
You can find nutritional yeast in most grocery stores but you can also but it online. This is the kind I get and I really like it.
Can You Make Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Without Nutritional Yeast
Since nutritional yeast gives this dish it's cheesy flavor, I don't recommend omitting it. If you don't use nutritional yeast, it will still be creamy but it won't have that cheesy flavor.
How to Make Vegan Mac and Cheese
I use my favorite gluten-free elbow pasta for this vegan mac and cheese recipe but you can use another gluten-free pasta if you like. You can also use regular pasta if you don't prefer to use gluten-free.
We will be using soaked raw cashews for the sauce so we can achieve the creamy texture. Make sure you are not using roasted cashews because it will change the flavor.
You can add more or less nutritional yeast so play around with it. If you want to have a more cheesy flavor, you can add more.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives a tangy flavor but you can sub for lime juice. If you like a more tangy flavor, you can always add more lemon juice.
I added one clove of garlic but you can add more if you like that garlicky taste. You can also use garlic powder instead.
Smoked Paprika, Cumin and Turmeric
To give this dip a little kick, you can add some smoked paprika and cumin. Also, we add a little turmeric for that yellow cheesy color.
I usually use pink Himalayan salt but feel free to use regular sea salt. Also, always adjust to taste, it may need more salt!
Green Onions for garnish (optional)
I highly recommend adding sliced green onions as a garnish because it gives so much flavor. Since green onions have a mild onion taste, it's not over powering. You can also use onion powder in the sauce as well.
How to make it
- First, you will need to soak the cashews in hot water and then rinse and drain well.
- While the cashews are soaking, start cooking the elbow pasta according to the package directions. But don't overcook the pasta.
- While pasta is cooking, add all the cheese sauce ingredients including the soaked cahsews into a high-speed blender and blend it until very smooth and creamy.
- Next, we will be cooking this mac and cheese sauce gently for a couple of minutes until it thickens and becomes so creamy. I feel like this step really makes a difference but you may need to add more water depending on the consistency you want.
- Now, we will add the creamy sauce into the pot and mix it well.
What vegetables to serve it with
- Serve it with steamed broccoli
- Add some steamed or roasted cauliflower florets
- You can also add some peas for texture and taste
- Add in thinly sliced kale
Tips & Variations
- If the sauce is too thick, you can also add more water. If it's too watery, cook it a little longer.
- Add onion powder to the sauce for onion flavor.
- Even more cheesy flavor, sprinkle homemade parmesan!
- Always adjust to taste and add more salt if needed!
How to store dairy-free mac and cheese
You can store this dish in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 to 4 days. You can also store the cheese sauce separately, it's great for dipping tortilla chips or making chili cheese fries!
This homemade vegan mac and cheese recipe comes together so quickly and it is very easy and versatile. It is also:
- Ultra creamy and smooth
- Satisfying comfort food
- Gluten-free and dairy-free
- Also so delicious!
More plant based recipes to try
- THAI PEANUT NOODLES (VEGAN & EASY)
- MEATBALLS RECIPE (GLUTEN-FREE & EASY)
- PAD THAI (EASY & HEALTHY)
- LENTIL BOLOGNESE
- PASTA SALAD (EASY & QUICK)
- BLACK BEAN QUINOA BURGER
So, did you make this? I’d love for you to leave a comment and rate the recipe. You can also share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest and tag me on Instagram using @avocadocentric or #avocadocentric! xo, SelinPrint
This is the best vegan mac and cheese recipe because it is creamy, satisfying, quick, and so easy to make! It's plant-based, gluten-free, healthy, and tossed in delicious cashew cheese sauce!
- Soak the cashews for 2 hours or alternatively, quickly soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. Ronse and drain well.
- Start cooking the elbow pasta according to the package directions but don't overcook it.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, salt and 2 cups of water into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the cheese sauce from the blender. Whisk it consistently and warm it for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thickened to your liking. Add more water if needed.
- When the pasta is done, drain and return it to the pot. Stir in the warm cheese sauce, serve and garnish with sliced green onions (optional).
If the cheese sauce is too thick, add more water. If it's too watery, cook it a little longer.
Add onion powder to the sauce for onion flavor.
Sprinkle homemade parmesan for serving.
Always adjust to taste and add more salt if needed!
- Serving Size: 8
- Calories: 320
- Sugar: 2.6g
- Sodium: 302.1mg
- Fat: 12.6g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 42g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Protein: 11g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
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