This vegan mac and cheese recipe is my go-to recipe whenever I have friends over or a family gathering and I want to impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Reactions so far have included "How did you make this?" and "This tastes like cheese!". I love that this recipe is oil-free, does not rely on store-bought vegan cheese and also is packed with veggies.
How To Make A Vegan Mac And Cheese Sauce
There are so many different ways to make a vegan mac and cheese sauce. When I started looking into this about a year ago, I researched a lot of different recipes. Some of which used store-bought vegan cheese which I am not a huge fan of. Some recipes use silken tofu, or a roux, or cashews, or a combination of different veggies.
After some experimenting, I'm so happy I've finally found my own way of making vegan mac and cheese that is whole-foods plant based, healthy, oil-free but nonetheless super rich and creamy.
This vegan mac and cheese recipe is made using a combination of cashews, potatoes and carrots. While I like the taste and the creaminess you get from using cashews, I was not a big fan of recipes using only cashews, as cashews are quite expensive and also very calorie-dense.
The cheesiness of this vegan mac and cheese recipe comes from a variety of different ingredients. Nutritional yeast is one of them, of course. But we're also adding onion powder, mustard and tahini. To give the sauce a more yellow-ish color, I decided to add some turmeric. If you only add a little, you can hardly taste it, but it still gives it a nice yellow color!
Take This Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipe To The Next Level With Coconut Bacon
I mean, this vegan mac and cheese recipe on its own is freakin' amazing. But it's even better with coconut bacon! Coconut bacon is so easy to make, all you need is an oven and dried coconut chips, soy sauce, liquid smoke and agave syrup.
Be sure to regularly check your coconut bacon as it doesn't need long in the oven at all. The first time I tried it I burnt it after only 5 minutes because my oven temperature was way to hot. Also I found that if you take it out of the oven while it's still a little soft, it will crisp up while it cools down but doesn't get too crispy.
Tips For Making This Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipe Extra Creamy
Here are a few tips how you can make this vegan mac and cheese sauce extra creamy:
- Make sure to soak the cashews before you blend them so they are softer and easier to blend. You can speed the soaking process up by pouring some boiling water over the cashews.
- Instead of using cashew milk, you can use a plant-based alternative to cooking cream. There are different brands that offer vegan cooking creams made from coconut, rice, soy or cashews (sometimes called "soy/rice cuisine").
- If you want to make an even more realistic vegan mac and cheese sauce, you can add a little bit of tapioca powder. Tapioca is also used to make vegan mozzarella and gives it a stretchy consistency.
The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
Hands down the best vegan mac and cheese recipe - approved by vegans and non-vegans alike! It's cheesy, creamy & made from scratch with healthy ingredients.
Servings: 3 people
- high-speed blender or food processor
for the vegan mac and cheese sauce
- 50 g cashews
- 4 medium potatoes (250g)
- 1 large carrot (100g)
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp tahini
- ½ lemon (juice)
- 200 ml cashew milk or vegan cooking cream
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp mustard
for the coconut bacon
- 20 g dried coconut chips
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- 250 g broccoli
- 250 g pasta
To make the coconut bacon
- If you’re making coconut bacon, start by combining the coconut chips with the remaining ingredients. Give it a good toss to coat everything in the mixture and spread out on a baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes (~ 150C) until slightly golden and crispy, but not burnt.
To make the vegan mac and cheese sauce
- Start by boiling some water and pouring it over the cashews to soak for ~15 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel the potatoes and carrot, chop into bite-sized pieces and cook for ~10 minutes.
- Drain the cashews and add to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and blend until smooth. You may want to scrape down the sides once in a while.
To make the vegan mac and cheese dish
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions.
- Wash the broccoli and cut into little florets. Place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta to a mixing bowl with the broccoli and mac and cheese sauce. Coat everything with the sauce evenly.
- Top with the coconut bacon and go ahead and serve as is. Alternatively transfer to a baking dish and bake in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, then add the coconut bacon and enjoy.
Keep a close eye on the coconut bacon as it burns easily. Exact cooking time may very for each oven.
If you want to bake the mac and cheese in the oven, I suggest boiling the pasta a little less (2-3 minutes) than suggested as it also cooks while in the oven.