DinnerRecipes

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese (GF)

posted by Melissa Huggins February 27, 2017 25 Comments
The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & its gluten-free.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free. I’ve been on a little comfort food kick lately, and I’m taking it all in before the warmer weather hits. I live in the desert, but it gets a little chilly during the winter. I love having comforting foods to keep me warm & cozy, and this Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese is the perfect way to do it.

What makes it THE ultimate? Well, it’s super creamy, velvety-smooth, rich, mouth-watering, and the cheesiest mac in town. This is a family favorite and we enjoy it at least once a week, along with my Finger Lickin’ Good BBQ Cauliflower Wings.  It’s the perfect combination and total comfort on a plate!

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.But it’s not cheese

Some people out there (a.k.a the meat & dairy industry) don’t like when vegans use words like meat, milk or cheese to describe our food, because apparently it confuses consumers into thinking they’re buying “real” animal-based products. Ya know, like that “real” neon-orange block of cheese that doesn’t need to be refrigerated? That was more like a science project gone wrong.

Well, the utter truth, is that consumers are waking up to the suffering and damage that animal-based foods are causing, and they’re choosing to buy the latter.

This Vegan Mac n Cheese is twice as delicious, 100% healthier, and 100% kinder than it’s animal-based counterpart. Maybe it’s not made with “real” cheese, but it sure tastes like it is, so why would I change the name to something else? It’s not confusing… it’s damn delicious!

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.What’s in this Vegan Mac n Cheese?

There are lots of ways to make vegan cheese sauce. I love using cauliflower, cannellini beans, and I especially love using butternut squash, like I did for my Spicy Nacho Cheese. It creates a creamy, buttery texture, and the most gorgeous color too. I have a Baked Butternut Mac recipe I’ll be sharing soon, so stay tuned.

For this Vegan Mac n Cheese recipe, I used potato to get that creamy & thick texture, like in my Fettuccine Alfredo. To create the cheddar cheese color, I tried something new and I usedwait for it...wait for it…CARROTS! Normally, I’ll just use a blend of turmeric, paprika, nutritional yeast, and chili powder to get that cheesy color. I didn’t think of this genius idea up on my own, I saw it on Veg News Magazine a while back, and I’ve meant to give it a try. The carrots worked out perfectly in this dish, and I’ve added another recipe to my arsenal now.

To make the sauce extra creamy, I used unsweetened soy milk, and raw cashews into the mix. When processed together with the potatoes & carrots, it makes an ultra-rich sauce base to drown your macaroni in.

The cheesy flavor is created with nutritional yeast (a.k.a nooch) and fresh lemon juice. For that cheesy stretch we all love, I added tapioca starch. It’s a magical ingredient that turns your delicious cheese sauce into a melty, stretchy vegan miracle.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free. Oh and there’s more

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. Now that’s what I’m talking about! If you aren’t into butter or fresh garlic flavor, you can definitely omit the step entirely. I would add at least 1/2-1 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce though, and stir the sauce often, so it doesn’t burn.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free. So easy to make

~ Soften the cashews
~ Boil or steam the potatoes and carrots
~ Cook the macaroni until al dente
~ Blend up the cheese sauce ingredients
~ Sauté fresh garlic in vegan butter
~ Pour in the sauce and heat up until thick & stretchy
~ Add the macaroni into your sauce and combine
~ Grab a fork and enjoy!

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free. This ooey-gooey, cheesy goodness can be yours in 30 minutes or less, so why not make it for dinner tonight?

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free. I’d love to hear from you

If you make this Vegan Mac n Cheese, I’d love to get your feedback. You can leave a comment below and let me know what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.

 

The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.
Print
Vegan Mac n Cheese
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.
Course: Main Course
Recipe Type: American, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 418 kcal
Author: Melissa Huggins - Vegan Huggs
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in very hot water for 10-15 minutes. Keep covered. *See note
  • 16 ounces dried elbow macaroni, gluten-free or regular
  • 1 cup potato, peeled & chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or any plant-based milk)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons himalayan salt (or preferred salt), more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, more if preferred
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch *See note
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 med/large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
Instructions
  1. Steam or boil the potatoes & carrots until tender (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Place macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente & according to package directions (about 9-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  3. Drain & rinse cashews and discard water. Now place all ingredients into a blender (except garlic & butter). Blend until potatoes, carrots & cashews have completely broken down & sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Heat up butter in large pan over medium heat. When melted, add garlic & sauté for 1-2 minutes, until lightly brown (be careful not to burn).
  5. Pour in cheese sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes, until sauce thickens up and becomes slightly stretchy. Stir often to prevent burning. If it's too thick, add a small amount of broth & stir. Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed.
  6. Now add pasta and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

*Cashews: To make things easier, you can prep ahead, and pre-soften your cashews by placing them in cool water for 4 hours, or overnight in the fridge, instead of heating them in water for 10-15 minutes. Then they'll be ready to pop in the blender right away.

 

*Vegetable Broth: I like to use low sodium broth, so I can control the salt taste. Some broths are too salty and can ruin a good recipe. If you would like to use a regular broth, make sure to cut down the added salt in the recipe. Taste as you go along. Another option, is to blend low sodium and regular broth together.

 

* I usually start blending the sauce 5 minutes before the pasta will be done. This way the pasta isn't sitting too long, and it will be hot & fresh when it goes into the sauce.

 

*I boil the vegetables and pasta at the same time (not same pot) to make it faster. They take about the same time to cook, so it works out perfect.

 

*You could also cook the potatoes and carrots the night before and pop them in the fridge. This will make things even faster and easier at meal time.

 

*If you'd like a thinner cheese sauce, use only 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch, and add a few tablespoons of vegetable broth.

 

 

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Mac n Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 418 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 445mg 19%
Potassium 537mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 2g
Protein 17g 34%
Vitamin A 40.9%
Vitamin C 5.6%
Calcium 9.8%
Iron 28.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 


The Ultimate Vegan Mac n Cheese ~ super creamy, rich & oh-so dreamy! It takes less than 30 minutes to make & it's gluten-free.

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25 Comments

Sarah March 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Hello! Your recipe looks delicious. What would you suggest if:
-No nuts at home because my boyfriend is allergic. Can I ommitt the cashews? Replace with something else to keep the sauce really creamy?
-My blender is really shitty and I don’t have money to buy a better one. It does not make smooth sauces… Is it easy to blend?
Thank you!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Hi Sarah, Is your boyfriend allergic to seeds too? Some seeds would work. However, I have made this without the cashews all together and it was still delicious. It’s just not super creamy, but definitely still creamy. I’m not sure about the blender though. I have made this with my Vitamix, but also with my regular blender and it came out smooth. It should be easier without the cashews, but I’m not sure if your blender will make it super smooth. You can give it a shot. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

Reply
Strength and Sunshine March 8, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Can never turn down some cozy Mac and cheese!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:03 pm

I’m the same…impossible to say no.

Reply
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day March 8, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Melissa, your mac n cheese looks amazing! So creamy and delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Thank you, Amy! So easy to make too 🙂

Reply
Mary Ellen @ VNutrition March 9, 2017 at 5:15 am

This looks so creamy and delicious Melissa! I’ve been playing around with a similar recipe but I’m loving the look of yours! Excited to try it! Vegan mac & cheese is my fav!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Thank you, Mary Ellen! Mac n Cheese is my favorite comfort food. 🙂

Reply
Linda from Veganosity March 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

Vegan mac n’ cheese was one of the first recipes I made when I went vegan. It convinced me that I wasn’t going to have to give up any of my old favorites, because vegan cheese is amazing. This looks so good!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Hi Linda, it was one of my first veganized dish too. I knew that everything would be fine after that. My relationship with food was better than ever, after going vegan. 🙂

Reply
Uma March 11, 2017 at 6:04 pm

These looks flavorful and delicious:) going to try this soon!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:13 pm

Thank you, Uma 🙂 Enjoy!

Reply
Kate March 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Oh yum! I’m always eager to try new versions of vegan mac n’ cheese and yours looks really creamy and amazing! Thank you for sharing!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:14 pm

Hi Kate, Thank you. I love trying new versions too. It never gets boring 🙂

Reply
Kara March 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

This will be my go-to macaroni and cheese from now on, it is fantastic. Thank-you.

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Hi Kara, yay! Thank you for making it! So happy you liked it 🙂

Reply
kimmythevegan March 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

Holy moly girl! This will definitely up my vegan mac n’ cheese game! I love the extra step to sautée the garlic in vegan butter – it really would add some pizzaz. I can’t wait to try this glorious dish out!
Thanks so much for sharing with Healthy Vegan Fridays! I’m pinning & sharing. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Reply
Melissa Huggins March 12, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Hi Kimmy, thank you so much. It’s definitely my favorite comfort food.
I’m happy to be a part of Healthy Vegan Fridays. Thank you for having me 🙂

Reply
Healthy Vegan Fridays #143 | March 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

[…] The Ultimate Vegan Mac N Cheese from Vegan Huggs: […]

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Cassidy April 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

What could I replace the cashews with? I’m allergic to cashews.

Reply
Melissa Huggins April 9, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Hi Cassidy, You can use macadamia or pine nuts. Also, you can skip the nuts altogether if you’re allergic. It will still be creamy and delicious. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Josephine April 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

This looks fantastic! I am eager to try this recipe.
Would it be ok if I took out the nutritional yeast? I live in a small town and do not have access to it. Also, can I use corn starch instead of tapioca?

Reply
Melissa Huggins April 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Hi Josephine, The nutritional yeast gives it that extra “cheesy” flavor. I haven’t tried this recipe without it. However, If I couldn’t find nutritional yeast, I would use vegan parmesan. Can you find that in your area? The cornstarch will work fine to thicken, it just won’t give that slight stretch in the sauce. A few readers tried it with cornstarch and loved it. You can omit the tapioca or CS altogether. The sauce will still be great. It just adds extra thickness. I hope this helps. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Thank you you for stopping by 🙂

Reply
Linda April 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Oh my goodness!! This was delicious!! This will be my go to mac and cheeze from here on out. No joke — outstanding!! Thank you so much. 🙂

Reply
Melissa Huggins April 17, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Hi Linda, This is so nice to hear! I’m glad you liked it. We eat it a lot around here. Thank you so much for making it, and for your feedback. 🙂

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