With a velvety vegan cheese sauce that’s ready in just a few minutes, this stovetop vegan mac and cheese recipe is a weeknight winner! Mimicking the flavor and look of traditional mac and cheese, it’s an irresistible vegan macaroni that everyone will love!
I love mac and cheese. For reference, when I was little my mom once asked me what my favorite food was that “started with a P” (hoping I would say “pizza”). My answer? “Pah-macaroni-and-cheese!”
And I don’t discriminate when it comes to my macaroni and cheeses. I love butternut squash mac and cheese and truffle mac and cheese and cauliflower mac and cheese and today…we make vegan mac and cheese.
Indulging in a creamy, comforting bowl of mac and cheese doesn’t have to be a laborious affair. This stovetop vegan macaroni is a testament to that.
In just 25 minutes, you’ll be savoring a velvety, dairy-free delight that’s every bit as luscious as its traditional counterpart. Ready to dive into this quick, fuss-free vegan masterpiece? Let’s get cooking!
How to make vegan mac and cheese
Making a vegan mac n cheese is even easier than traditional macaroni, because the sauce requires zero cooking and is virtually foolproof!
- Soak the cashews to help them blend better
- Blend together the vegan cheese sauce
- Cook the pasta
- Stir it all together!
Vegan Mac n Cheese Ingredients
- Cashews: These creamy nuts form the base of our cheese sauce, providing a rich, buttery texture and a subtle nuttiness that mimics the creaminess of traditional mac and cheese without any dairy. Soaking them softens them for easy blending.
- Nutritional Yeast: A superstar in vegan cooking, nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, umami flavor to the sauce. It’s also a great source of nutrients like B vitamins.
- Salt: Essential for enhancing flavors, the salt balances the nutty and cheesy elements, ensuring a well-rounded taste.
- Onion Powder: Adding depth and complexity, onion powder contributes a subtle savory note that complements the other seasonings.
- Turmeric: This is mostly added for color! You could also use a blended up carrot for a similar color.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: The acidity in the vinegar provides a bright contrast to the richness of the cashews, giving a balanced and tangy edge to the sauce.
- Dijon Mustard: This zesty condiment brings a touch of tanginess and pungency, elevating the overall flavor profile of the sauce. It’s my secret ingredient in all of my macaroni recipes!
- Garlic: Offering a robust, aromatic note, garlic infuses a comforting warmth into the sauce.
- Elbow Macaroni: The pasta of choice for classic mac and cheese!
Make Ahead Macaroni?
Once assembled, this vegan mac does not store well. If you’re making it ahead, keep the noodles and the vegan cheese sauce separate until right before serving!
In case you were wondering
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Yes, absolutely! While elbow macaroni is the classic choice, feel free to experiment with other pasta shapes like shells, penne, or fusilli.
Can I make the cheese sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the cheese sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to use it, gently reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Can I freeze the cheese sauce?
Yes, the sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, simply substitute the regular elbow macaroni with a gluten-free pasta of your choice to make this recipe gluten-free. Everything in the vegan cheese sauce is naturally gluten-free!
Level It Up
This mac and cheese is amazing as is, but you can level it up if you’re feeling fancy:
- Make Truffle Mac: Add a touch of truffle oil to totally level up this dish
- Add Vegan Bacon Bits: The salty, crunchy bits compliment this velvety vegan macaroni perfectly!
- Add Air Fried Veggies: While the macaroni is cooking, air fry up some veggies – like mushrooms or zucchini – until they’re a bit browned and crispy. Delicious stirred into the mac!
- 2 cups cashews 1 8.5-oz package, 240 g
- ½ cup nutritional yeast 80 g
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp each onion powder and turmeric
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 15 mL
- 1 tsp dijon mustard 5 g
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup water 236 mL
- 16 oz uncooked elbow macaroni 453 g
- Soak: Soak 2 cups cashews hot water for 10 minutes (if you don't have a strong blender, soak them for longer – up to 24 hours). When finished, drain water.
- Blend: In a blender, combine 2 cups cashews, ½ cup nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp each onion powder and turmeric, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 cloves garlic, and 1 cup water until smooth.
- Cook: Cook 16 oz uncooked elbow macaroni according to instructions on package.
- Serve: Stir together cooked macaroni and vegan cheese sauce. Serve immediately.