Amazing vegan macaroni and cheese in less than 30 minutes! You and your non-vegan people are going to love this easy vegan mac and cheese recipe. It’s the ultimate vegan comfort food. Top it with our coconut bacon for an added bonus., and serve it with our BBQ ribz, Southern-Style Meatloaf, or our beer braised pulled “pork”.
This recipe was originally posted on June 11, 2014 and updated on July 15, 2019.
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Hi there! Thanks for visiting us, we’re so happy you’re here. If you’re looking for Southern inspired vegan comfort food recipes, you’ve come to the right place.
We love vegan comfort food and we’re really good at making it. Take a tour through our site and you’ll find all of the recipes that scream, stretchy pants required!
The good news, they’re all plant-based recipes, so you don’t need to feel guilty eating them. Now sit back, relax, and eat happy. 🙂
Also, in case you didn’t know, we’re published cookbook authors. We’ve written two vegan cookbooks that will help you make amazing vegan BBQ (you don’t even need a grill) and everyday meals, from breakfast to dessert.
HOMEMADE VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE!
Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of creamy and cheesy macaroni and cheese?
It’s one of our favorite recipes when we’re in need of some serious hugs. It’s also our go to recipe when we need a comfort food side dish recipe.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Linda grew up on macaroni and cheese. KRAFT macaroni and cheese literally kept her alive in her college years. LOL!
Alex got lucky when she was a kid, because Linda discovered Martha Stewart’s macaroni and cheese recipe and it was the only one she made. Unless it was lunch time, then it was Velveeta mac and cheese.
Needless to say, when we went vegan almost six years ago, there weren’t any macaroni and cheese recipes or store bought brands that were very good. So, we created our own.
This cheesy noodle recipe isn’t quite like Martha’s, because her recipe uses two different kinds of cheese. However, it’s one of the best we’ve had, and if it wasn’t we certainly wouldn’t share it here on our blog.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE VEGAN MACARONI AND CHEESE?
- 1 pound of pasta: We prefer shells or elbows, but you can use any shape you like.
- 2 cups of raw cashews: Soak the cashews in water overnight or boil them for 15 minutes until they’re soft and puffy. This will ensure that they break down into a smooth and creamy sauce.
- 1 cup steamed cauliflower: This helps make the vegan cheese sauce even creamier, and it’s a great way to sneak vegetables into a meal. Do not use raw or the flavor will overpower the cheese sauce
- ½ of a cup plus 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast: Do NOT use brewers yeast or rising yeast, it will not work.
- 3 tbsp vegan butter: We prefer Miyoko’s or Earth Balance.
- 1 tbsp lemon juice: The lemon juice is necessary to give the cheese sauce it’s acidic flavor.
- ½ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper: This is optional. If you don’t like spicy food, leave it out. If you like some heat, taste it and add more if you like.
- half of a teaspoon of paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- one quarter tsp onion powder
- 3 teaspoons of sea salt
- ½ cup cashew or soy milk, more if needed: Depending on a variety of factors, you may need to add more water to get the sauce to the consistency you desire. Add by the tablespoon so as not to make it too runny.
- Pepper to taste
HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN MACARONI AND CHEESE?
It couldn’t be easier to make dairy free mac and cheese. All you’ll need to do is boil the pasta, steam the cauliflower, and whip up the sauce.
- Soak the cashews overnight or cover them in water and boil them for 15 minutes, or until they’re soft and puffy.
- Drain and rinse them and add to the blender or food processor.
- Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package.
- If you’re going to broil it, reduce the cooking time by two minutes.
- Blend the cashews, plant milk, and remaining ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the cheese sauce into the pan with the noodles and stir until the noodles are completely coated.
- Eat as is or put the macaroni and cheese under the broiler for a few minutes until the to begins to brown and gets crispy.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST VEGAN MACARONI AND CHEESE
- Soak or boil the cashews until they’re puffy and soft. This will ensure that they break down into a creamy and velvety cheese sauce.
- Add salt to the pasta water. This brings the water to a higher boiling point so it cooks better, and it adds flavor to the pasta.
- Cook the pasta for 1 or 2 minutes less than the package directions state if you’re going to broil the pasta. It has less chance of getting mushy if you cut the cooking time.
- Add coconut bacon to the top for added texture and flavor.
HOW DO YOU STORE HOMEMADE VEGAN MACARONI AND CHEESE?
Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You may need to add more plant milk and stir to blend before reheating, as the cashew cheese can become dry.
To Freeze: Store in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator and add more plant milk before heating.
Make our soy and gluten free mac and cheese and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.
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MORE VEGAN CHEESE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- 1 pound pasta Shells or elbows are our preference
- 2 cups soaked or boiled cashews soak overnight or boil for 15 minutes.
- 1 cup steamed cauliflower do not use raw or the flavor will overpower the cheese sauce
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp nutritional yeast Do NOT use brewers or active yeast.
- 3 tbsp vegan butter We like Miyoko's or Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper Optional
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sea salt Add more if needed.
- ½ cup cashew or soy milk more if needed
- Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°
Salt the pasta water with 2 tbsp sea salt and bring to a boil. Cook as directed on the package. For best results, drain the pasta 2 minutes less than the recommended time.
Steam 1 cup cauliflower until it’s tender, approximately 5 minutes. Let cool.
Drain and rinse the cashews and put in a powerful blender or food processor. Add the 1 cup steamed cauliflower, ½ cup plus 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 3 tbsp vegan butter, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp sea salt, and ½ cup plant milk (add more if needeand blend until the cheese sauce is smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides once or twice while blending to ensure that there are no solid pieces of nuts.
Taste the cheese sauce and add more salt, the black pepper, and more cayenne if you want a spicier mac and cheese, blend for 20 seconds.
When the pasta is al dente (cook for 2 minutes less than the package recommenddrain the water and place in a medium lasagna pan or a shallow baking dish. Pour the cheese mixture on top and stir it well to coat all of the pasta. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it begins to brown on top.
Sprinkle with coconut bacon if desired.