What Ingredients Do You Need
To add thickness and creaminess without flour or heavy cream, I turned to cashews this time, which gives the sauce a rich and velvety texture.
You can sub macadamia nuts for a low carb version. Or Ive also linked a nut-free and soy-free vegan cheese sauce in the recipe below.
Unlike many other dairy free macaroni and cheese recipes online or a box of Annies vegan mac and cheese, this one has no butternut squash, cornstarch, or cauliflower, although I do also have a Cauliflower Alfredo Recipe on the blog.
The classic orange color and rich flavor are thanks in part to a surprising antioxidant packed healthy ingredient: roasted carrot!
If you want to make mac and cheese without nutritional yeast, just use the shredded vegan cheese option instead. Vegan cheddar, mozzarella, 4 cheese Mexican blend, Parmesan, or Monterey Jack all work.
With mac and cheese, its good to have options.
Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese
Nooch Disclaimer: If you missed my post on Nutritional Yeast, and youre not familiar with that ingredient, you may want to check it out before reading further because this Vegan Mac & Cheese recipe is very nooch dependant.
I guess I should start by saying that Ive probably tried every cheezy nutritional yeast sauce out there. From tofu-based ones to cauliflower-based ones, Ive tried them all. And although they werent always the best, Ive eaten them all, because they were smothered over big bowls of pasta. Lets face it: I never say no to a bowl of pasta
Truthfully, those mac and cheese recipes werent that bad . They were relatively creamy and as close to the real thing as one can remember after being vegan for over 15 19 years. But there was always something missing. Also, many of them called for a lot of vegan margarine, which I try to avoid unless Im making holiday & special-occasion recipes.
A cashew-based Vegan Mac & Cheese? This I had to try!
Dress It Up With Smoked Salmon Ham And Other Stuff
What else can you add to Mac and Cheese? Well The version shown in the photos has been made extra special with the addition of some smoked salmon and peas. Its my absolute favourite and for that reason, I have shared the details in the recipe card below. These are of course, optional additions. But if you do want to dress it up, there are plenty of ways to do so. Why not try adding
- Hot smoked salmon/smoked salmon
- Pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
- Little bites of broccoli or cauliflower
- A few baby spinach leaves
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Are These Vegan Boxed Mac And Cheese Products Allergy Friendly
Now, I know what some of you are going to ask next. What about the rest of the Top Allergens. You guys know we love to help, so Lets get in to it!
All of these are dairy free and vegan already. As far as the Top 8 Allergens:
- Modern Table Vegan Mac Classic Cheddar Style
Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipe
What I love about this vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is that its just as fast to prepare as the version that comes in a box with neon-orange food coloring.
While your pasta is cooking, you simply blend the creamy vegan cashew sauce in a blender until smooth. When the pasta is done, stir in the sauce and serve! It doesnt get much easier or faster than that. If you have an Instant Pot and would prefer to use that, you should also try my Instant Pot Vegan Mac n Cheese.
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Oven Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese
Meal Prep And Storage
Clearly, this sauce is one that I like to make ahead of time. But what about storage and reheating?
The cheese sauce will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge. It can be frozen for up to six weeks, too. The recipe makes about about one and a half cups total.
The cheese sauce will solidify a lot when you store it. However, its not hard to bring it back to a melty, sauce-like consistency. To do so, just heat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat, adding a splash of non-dairy milk to help loosen it up.
Stir constantly as you heat the sauce, until its once again its original consistency.
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Ingredients In Vegan Mac N Cheese
This is where it all begins: gathering ingredients. Luckily, all of these ingredients can be found easily at your local grocery store!
- Pasta – we use penne, rigatoni, or elbow pasta. ¾ pound of pasta creates the perfect ratio of pasta to sauce! You may also use a bean based pasta, if you want to increase the protein in this dish.
- Coconut oil or vegan butter – This will provide the base of the vegan cheese sauce.
- All-purpose flour – You only need two tablespoons as a sauce thickener! If youre making this gluten-free, use your favorite flour substitute.
- Plant-based milk – Use plan flavored, and make sure its unsweetened. Almond milk works great here, but feel free to use, coconut, soy or oat milk.
- Vegan cheese – Shredded mozzarella is perfect in this! We love the brand VioLife, which we find at our local whole foods in our area. Vegan cheeses are easily found at most grocery stores.
- Nutritional yeast – This is a common ingredient when making vegan cheese substitutes, because it gives vegan cheese dishes that cheesy flavor.
- Salt and pepper – Taste and adjust as needed
- Optional toppings – panko bread crumbs, dried oregano, vegan Parmesan, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil all finish this baked vegan mac and cheese off beautifully.
Topping Macaroni Cheese With Breadcrumbs
For the crunchiest contrast between the cheesy, velvety macaroni and the topping, breadcrumbs are a must. Added with a sprinkling of extra cheese, the combination melts and crisps in the oven to create the most delectable marriage of flavours and textures.
However The type of breadcrumbs you use matters. If using crumbs from bread which is dark in colour, the surface may look dirty. Equally, using fresh, quite moist bread crumbs, will be less likely to result in a crunchy top Fresh breadcrumbs have less resistance to absorbing moisture from the underlying cheese sauce and hence, dont crisp as much in the oven.
The answer? Use bread crumbs made from white bread that are dried and preferably PANKO. And if you didnt think gluten free Panko breadcrumbs were a possibility, think again! And head over to my post on how to make Panko Breadcrumbs at home.
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Mac And Cheese Recipe Tips
You can bulk up the mac and cheese by stirring steamed or roasted veggies in at the end. I especially love adding chopped steamed broccoli.
Or give the pasta a protein boost by adding crumbled tempeh, baked tofu or seitan, or your favorite protein of choice.
Finally, if youre crazy like me and want to drown your pasta in a gallon of cheese sauce, feel free to make a double batch!
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Above watch the vegan macaroni and cheese recipe video
How To Use Vegan Butter
I wanted to make sure that this vegan butter is good for various uses, so I tried it for frying and fried up some mushrooms with some spring onions and it was perfect .
And then I wanted to make sure it was good for baking, so I creamed it up with some sugar and made some vegan oatmeal cookies with it, and they were perfect!
And as you can see Ive been spreading it on bread and toast and just enjoying it all the ways one tends to enjoy butter.
You can pretty much use it anywhere you would use a regular dairy butter.
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What Ingredients Do You Need For Vegan Mac And Cheese
This isnt going to be one of those super simple ingredient lists however, we dont think that its super expansive either. The ingredients that you will need for this delicious dairy free macaroni and cheese is:
- macaroni noodles
- vegan shredded cheddar cheese
- seasoned panko breadcrumbs
So 14 total ingredients. Which, in our opinion, isnt that bad! Lets get to the recipe.
Gluten Free Mac And Cheese Thats Safe For Coeliacs
Apart from the macaroni and a little flour used to thicken the sauce, there should be nothing else gluten-based in Mac and Cheese. So, a simple switch of standard macaroni for gluten free macaroni and using corn starch in place of wheat flour, will make it safe for people with Coeliac Disease . You can usually find gluten free macaroni/elbow pasta in the free from section of larger supermarkets. And corn starch in the baking aisle.
Easy right? And it also means that whether you are gluten free or not, this is the perfect recipe. As always however, remember if you are gluten free for allergen or health reasons, it is important to double-check all ingredient labels for hidden gluten or may contain warnings.
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Tips For The Best Vegan Mac And Cheese
- Classic elbow noodles While other pasta is totally fine to use, classic elbow noodles will give the dish that certain mac and cheese feel.
- High powered blender This is probably the most important thing. It might work okay with a regular blender or food processor, but to really create a cheesy, perfectly smooth sauce out of cashews, you need a Vitamix or other high powered blender.
- Fresh lemon juice The flavor will be much better with fresh squeezed lemon juice than if you use bottled.
- Add in some vegetables! I think this makes mac and cheese amazing. My favorite is stirring in some roasted vegetables, yum.
- Sprinkle some vegan bacon for extra flavor and protein Try my tempeh bacon or tofu bacon.
The Best Vegan Cheese For Mac And Cheese: Miyokos Farmhouse Cheddar
I tried MANY different kinds of vegan cheese, and the winner was Miyokos. It didnt have that overly buttery taste and weird smell that the other cheeses had. It wasnt as pretty and realistic looking as the other cheeses, though. I found it in Target, so that was another plus. I love the way this cheese melted down and didnt have an aftertaste. It did require some stirring, though! Ill continue to try a different cheese, but for right now, Miyokos is giving me the BEST authentic cheese flavor!! Second Runner Up: Violife. My kids preferred Violife. I love this cheeses look, but it had a slight smell and an artificial butter taste. My son came into the kitchen and asked was I making biscuits, lol. Ive also made it with Miyokos Farmhouse Cheddar and just a handful of Violife mozzarella cheese and that was also good. Miyokos also has a smoked cheddar and mozzarella that was out of stock during my testing, but I LOVE smoked cheese in mac and cheese and cant wait to try it!
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Kaylies Tips For Perfecting This Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipe
Soak the cashews. Dont forget to soak your cashews! Its an important step in order to plump and soften them. They will not blend as well otherwise.
Salt the pasta water. I always salt my pasta water. It enhances the flavor and helps pasta cook more evenly. I recommend using 1 tablespoon salt per pound of pasta. I know, I know thats A LOT of salt! Dont worry, it drains along with the water later on.
Make it gluten-free. I have no issue with gluten, but I always use chickpea pasta. Its packed with plant-based protein, naturally gluten-free, and tastes no different than regular pasta. For this recipe, I used the cavatappi variety.
Serve with vegetables. Im a huge veggie lover, so I always pair this dish with a side of roasted broccoli and cauliflower. You toss any of your favorite vegetables into this vegan mac and cheese, or enjoy them on the side!
Which Vegan Cheese Is The Best
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Why Youll Love This Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipe
For being a plant based mac and cheese recipe, this recipe:
- Has nearly 17g of protein
- Is easily gluten free
- Is filled with healthy fats from cashews
- And is easy to customize with your fav mix-ins!
This vegan mac and cheese is filling, nutritious and a great way to impress your vegan or dairy free friends, or serve to kids who cant have dairy. Promise theyll gobble it right up! My 1 year old even LOVES this recipe.
What Can I Do With Yellow Cheese Sauce
My favorite thing about this sauce is its versatility. Theres no more worthy thing to meal prep each week than a component that can be used in many different ways. For me, this includes:
- Hummus or dips that can be turned into snacks with crudités or chips, sandwich spreads, or filling for a dairy-free quesadilla
- Sauces to pair with grain bowls or grain & bean skillets, salads, and more
- Braised lentils or brothy beans to pair with grains, toast, veggies, and more
- Pasta salads or grain salads that can serve as quick lunches or dinner sides
- Baked tofu and tempeh for adding protein to anything and everything: breakfast tacos, lunch wraps, bowls, salads, dinner plates, or even as soup toppers
The yellow cheese sauce falls easily into this category. Here are just a few ways you might use it as the week goes by:
- On a baked potato
- Over steamed broccoli
- Pinchfreshly ground black pepper
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Intro To The Vegan Mac And Cheese
When I was growing up, homemade mac and cheese was a special treat. My mom would make the baked version from The Joy of Cooking, as her father used to make for her.
What I loved about that mac and cheese was the full round flavor of the cheese sauce, the nuttiness of the breadcrumbs, and the concentration of flavor that you get from baking.
I wanted to preserve the spirit of that baked mac, which has a creamy roux at the base of the sauce, as well as some clever old-school spice enhancements, as I made this plant-based version.
Ready To Make My Utterly Delicious Mac And Cheese
And thats all there is to it! Super-delicious, super-cheesy, unctuously gooey Mac and Cheese . I hope you love it.
If you make it, do let me know what you think Leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag me on social media with your sumptuous photos. You can find me on , , and #glutenfreealchemist.
For everything else, head over to our amazing Gluten Free Recipe Index With literally hundreds of recipes shared for FREE, youre sure to find something to tempt you into the kitchen.
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A Couple Of Cooking Notes
I had trouble getting plant-based shredded cheeses from both Violife and Follow Your Heart to melt completely into the sauce. You might try a food processor or blender if you want your sauce to be 100% lump-free .
If you dont want to bake the macaroni and cheese, you can serve it as soon as youve stirred in the pasta and heated it through. Itll still be really tasty this way.
What’s In Vegan Mac And Cheese
There are lots of ways to make a vegan cheese sauce. I love using cauliflower, cannellini beans, or butternut squash for a healthy and creamy sauce. But, for this Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe, I used potatoes, soy milk, and cashews for a creamy texture and carrots for a cheddar cheese color.
The tangy cheese flavor comes from nutritional yeast and fresh lemon juice. I like to keep it simple, but feel free to amp up the flavor with dijon mustard, miso paste or apple cider vinegar.
This sauce has a slight stretch to it like dairy cheese and that’s created by tapioca starch. It’s the magical ingredient that turns your delicious cheese sauce into a melty, stretchy, vegan miracle!
I sautéed fresh garlic in vegan butter before adding the cheese sauce to the pan. It makes everything more savory and gives a buttery-garlicky kick. If you aren’t into butter or fresh garlic flavor, you can definitely omit the step entirely. I would add at least ½-1 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce though and stir it often so it doesn’t burn.
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