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Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese

4.67 from 9 votes

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This Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese is the perfect comfort food! With a rich, creamy sauce, and a crisp baked topping, you’re sure to fall in love!

Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese on a plate with fork

Who doesn’t like mac and cheese? It has always been one of my favorite dishes. That might be one of the reasons it took me so long to give up dairy products when I was transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. In fact, for many people, dairy is one of the hardest things to let go of when adopting a plant based diet.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long after giving up dairy products for me to lose my craving for them. What made that change easier was finding delicious alternatives to the dairy products I loved. And we’re so lucky now to have so many alternative options available to us.

If you’re a lover of mac and cheese like me, you’re going to love this recipe for Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheese. The rich and creamy sauce gets its cheesiness from nutritional yeast. And it’s baked to perfection with a crispy Panko topping. Don’t you just love those crispy bits?

Casserole dish of Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese with spoonful of mac

What’s in this vegan mac & cheese?

  • Pasta – Any shape or type that you like.
  • Yellow potatoes – you can also use red or russet potatoes, if you prefer.
  • Carrots – for their orange color, as well as the nutrients
  • Onion – I used yellow onion, but you can use white
  • Garlic
  • Raw cashews – these are necessary fro the rich, creamy sauce. If you can’t have cashews, you can try substituting with white beans, tofu, or slivered almonds.
  • Nutritional yeast – this adds cheesy umami flavor to the sauce. It’s also a good source of Vitamin B12.
  • Soy milk – if you’re avoiding soy, oat milk would be a good substitute.
  • White vinegar – to give that cheesy sauce the necessary tang.
  • Ground mustard powder – just a little for some extra zest
  • Salt
  • Turmeric – this adds color to your sauce, and is an extremely healthy spice. If you don’t have it, you can leave it out.
  • Paprika – I add a bit to the sauce, and also sprinkle some on top of the mac and cheese before baking.
  • Panko – for a nice crispy baked topping. You can substitute other bread crumbs for the Panko.

How to Make this vegan baked mac and cheese

Begin by cooking one pound of pasta according to the package directions. This time I used some fun cavatappi – corkscrew shaped pasta. You can use elbow macaroni, shells, penne, or any shape you desire. Gluten free pasta or whole wheat pasta can be used in place of enriched white pasta.

When it is done cooking, drain the pasta and set it aside.

Peel and chop the vegetables and cook them in a saucepan on the stove until they are tender. Meanwhile add the remaining ingredients to a high speed blender.

Pot of diced potatoes, carrots, and onions

When the vegetables are done cooking, add them to the blender and blend all the sauce ingredients together until the sauce is completely smooth.

Then pour the sauce into the pot with the drained pasta. Transfer the pasta to a 9″ x 13″ pan, or an equivalent sized casserole dish. Sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs on top, and then sprinkle on some additional paprika.

Bake the mac & cheese for 30 minutes, until it is hot throughout, and the breading is starting to brown.

Finished recipe fresh out of the oven

Can I make this macaroni and cheese ahead?

Yes! You can make this recipe a day or two in advance. I would recommend storing the sauce in a jar and the cooked pasta in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Then, when you’re ready to bake it, mix the sauce into the pasta, transfer it to your baking pan, and add the topping. Add an extra 5 or 10 minutes to the baking time, since the pasta and sauce will be staring out cold.

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

You sure can! Use your favorite gluten free pasta, and top with gluten free Panko or some gluten free bread crumbs.

Special tips and instructions:

  • If you don’t have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec, add your cashews to the pot of veggies and boil them along with potatoes, carrots, and onion. This will soften them enough to blend smoothly.
  • Don’t overcook your pasta. It will continue to cook and absorb moisture from the sauce in the oven, and you don’t want mushy mac and cheese.
Plate of Vegan Mac & Cheese with casserole dish in background

Add-in ideas for this vegan baked mac and cheese:

Storage of leftovers:

Leftover mac and cheese will keep for up to 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator. You can reheat it in the microwave or in the oven. I like to add a little non-dairy milk to it before reheating, since it becomes a bit dry in the refrigerator.

For other recipes with vegan cheese, see:

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating and feedback below. It only takes a few seconds, but helps other visitors to my site and helps my site gain other readers. Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment!

And come join my Oil Free Vegan Recipes and Support Facebook group, where you can share your favorite oil free vegan recipes, and give and receive support on your plant based journey.

Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese on a plate with fork
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4.67 from 9 votes

Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese

This Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese is so rich, creamy and wonderful! It's the perfect comfort food.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Oil Free, Pasta
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 441.4kcal
Author Teresa Sklenicka

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 cups peeled and diced yellow potatoes
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Panko breadcrumbs for topping
  • Paprika sprinkled on top

Instructions

  • Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the diced vegetables and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
  • When the vegetables are done cooking, add them along with the cooking liquid to a blender. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the breadcrumbs and additional paprika). Blend all the sauce ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the sauce into to the pot of cooked and drained pasta. Stir to combine. Transfer the pasta to a 9” by 12” glass casserole pan.
  • Sprinkle the top with Panko bread crumbs and additional paprika.
  • Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes.

Notes

If you don’t have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you will want to soak the cashews in hot water for a few hours before making the sauce.  Or you can add the cashews to the pot and boil them with the potatoes, carrots, and onions.
To make this recipe gluten free, use the gluten free pasta of your choice.

Nutrition

Serving: 275g | Calories: 441.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 72.9g | Protein: 19.2g | Fat: 8.9g | Sodium: 479.8mg | Fiber: 7.7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1716.37IU | Vitamin C: 6.97mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4.23mg

Nutrition calculations are approximate.

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By on August 13th, 2019

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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10 thoughts on “Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese”

  1. 5 stars
    This is the second time I have made a Vegan Mac & Cheese recipe. The first was a flop. THIS is amazing!!! Total game changer! I highly recommend it!! So happy to find a tasty Mac & Cheese! Thank you so much for creating it!

    Reply
      • That was another reader’s comment. I believe they were saying that their first try at making a vegan mac & cheese with another recipe was a flop, but this one worked for them. This recipe has always worked well for me. I actually made this for my family’s dinner last night, and just had leftovers for lunch today.

        Reply
  2. Iam going to make with white beans and half potato and half purple sweet potato what do you think I will let you know what it tastes like

    Reply
    • Go for it! Experimenting with different ingredients is what cooking is all about! Let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
    • I haven’t tested it with other nuts. You could try almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, tahini, or a combination of these.. Some of these will have a more dominant flavor. You could also try substituting silken tofu or some white beans. If you try one of these alternatives, let me know how it turns out. I’d love to know.

      Reply

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