Deliciously creamy and super flavorful vegan mac and cheese; made with a cheesy cashew cream sauce and toasty breadcrumb topping. Eat straight from the stovetop or bake until golden brown and crispy!
Sayyy whaaaaat! Oh yes, I said VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE!
Now I know some of you are like, umm wait, hold up a second. Vegan mac and cheese!? Gasp. Like how does this even work? Is it truly “cheesy” and good just like non-vegan mac and cheese tho? But like, is it worthy of being on the holiday dinner table and all? I know this recipe has your wheels spinning, so let’s discuss…
To begin, this vegan mac and cheese is super creamy, delicious, CHEESY TASTING, extra flavorful and loaded with spices galore! If you’re a new reader, you should know that I do not follow a strictly plant based diet myself. However, I do enjoy eating and developing plant based recipes a lot. Additionally, ya girl is also a self-professed mac and cheese fiend who takes her mac and cheese very seriously. With that being said, I looovveee this vegan mac and cheese y’all! And regardless of your diet, it’s my hope that you will too.
Vegan Mac And Cheese Ingredients
(Note: the full recipe/ingredients notes, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card, directly below.)
- Pasta: Use any kind of short cut pasta like elbow or shells, they work the very best!
- Cashews: Make sure they’re raw! Cashews are the base of this mac and cheese recipe for their creaminess. You can soak your cashews in water overnight or for a quicker method, you can also pour boiling hot water over cashews and soak for about 30-45 minutes. Additionally, cashews have tremendous health benefits such as being protein-rich, full of fiber, and good for heart health!
- Nutritional Yeast: It’s also commonly known as “nooch.” Nutritional yeast is an inactivated form of yeast and looks like yellow flakes, similar to red pepper flakes. This type of yeast is a vegetarian supplement that has a great source of vitamins/minerals and has a nice cheesy taste. You will typically find nutritional yeast sold in health food stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Nutrition Smart, Sprouts, and more!
- Unsweetened Almond Milk: This non-dairy milk works great alongside everything else to loosen up the other ingredients and to give the mac and cheese a smooth creamy texture!
- Spices: Okay…the spices are what make this vegan mac and cheese truly SLAP! So much heaps of flavor come from salt, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, smoked paprika…and curry powder! Yes, that lil touch of curry adds a nice tasty pop and helps to give off a lovely color.
- Garlic Cloves: Two garlic cloves thrown in the mix make it even more delish y’all!
- Dijon Mustard: I love this for an added touch of a pleasantly nice zesty zing.
- Vegan Butter: Used for the breadcrumb topping.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: This crumbly topping adds great texture on top of the finished mac and cheese.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme sprigs to go along with the breadcrumb topping. I just love this herb.
How To Make This Vegan Mac And Cheese
Listen, one thing I can appreciate about this vegan mac and cheese is how much easier it is to make in comparison to a non-vegan version, ha! Seriously, it’s super easy and comes together with a quickness!
- Soak cashews overnight or with hot water method, and then drain.
- In a large pot, boil water, and cook pasta according to package directions, al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and pour back into same pot, then set aside.
- In a high powdered blender or food processor; combine all ingredients from cashews to dijon mustard, and blend together until fully combined. Taste cashew cheese sauce and adjust seasoning to preference.
- Pour sauce into pasta pot with reserved water and stir until fully combined. Then, empty pasta into a large baking dish. Prepare breadcrumb topping then sprinkle over top of mac and cheese and bake.
Looking For More Mac And Cheese Recipes?
Great Additions To This Mac And Cheese
This vegan mac and cheese would pair well with some classic mac and cheese elements including broccoli, peas, roasted brussels sprouts, and maybe even some spiced chickpeas thrown into the mix!
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UNTIL NEXT TIME…LOVE AND BUTTER,
Deliciously creamy and flavorful vegan mac and cheese; made with a cheesy cashew cream sauce and toasty breadcrumb topping. Eat straight from the stovetop or bake until golden brown and crispy!
- 1lb short cut pasta, such as elbow or shells
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked and drained
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter spread, melted, for breadcrumb topping
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, for breadcrumb topping
- 2–3 fresh thyme sprigs, de-stemmed for breadcrumb topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Cook pasta according to your package directions, al dente. Pasta will finish cooking once baked in the oven. Once pasta is cooked: reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, drain, and set pasta aside in same pot.
- In a high-powdered blender/food processor; add in cashews, nutritional yeast, almond milk, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder, garlic, and dijon mustard. Blend everything together until fully combined. Taste cheese sauce and adjust to preference.
- Pour cashew cheese sauce over pasta, add in reserved pasta water, and stir to combine. If you prefer, you can eat straight from the stovetop. Otherwise, empty mac and cheese into a large enough baking dish.
- To make breadcrumb topping; melt butter in the microwave and combine with panko breadcrumbs and fresh thyme. Spread mixture over top of mac and cheese and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until top is lightly golden. Enjoy!
- Category: Vegan
- Method: Stovetop, Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan, mac and cheese