This easy vegan mac and cheese is the perfect cozy meal to make as the weather starts to cool down. It is such a comforting and filling dish that you are guaranteed to love! Made with any pasta of your choice, cashews, a potato to help make the “cheese” super creamy and smooth, vegan cheese, and a few other pantry staple ingredients.
Ingredients you will need to make this easy vegan mac and cheese and substitutions
- Potato. One potato peeled, cubed, and boiled is what is going to make your sauce thick and creamy. It also adds such a delicious flavour!
- Cashews. This will be added with the potato to make your sauce. It helps to give a cheesy flavour for the mac and “cheese”.
- Plant milk. This will help to thin out your sauce. You can use any plant milk of choice, I normally alternate between oat milk and almond milk. Remember to make sure the milk is original unsweetened! Otherwise your mac and cheese will be a little too sweet!
- Olive Oil. This will also be used in the cheese sauce to thin it out and add a little bit of flavour. I also suggest drizzling some extra olive oil on top of the mac and cheese before baking in the oven.
- Garlic Clove. For some added flavour in the sauce. If you don’t have/want to use a garlic clove, feel free to use garlic powder.
- Pasta Water. This is one of the most important ingredients to add in your sauce! The starchy pasta water will really help to thin out the sauce while making sure it is still super creamy and velvety smooth to go with your pasta. If you accidentally drain your pasta and get rid of the water, you can definitely still use regular water. However, it is recommended to reserve that pasta water for optimal flavour and texture.
- Nutritional Yeast. This will help to add a cheesy flavour.
- Vegan Cheese. I like to use either Cheddar or Mozzarella, but you can use any flavour of choice. Make sure to reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese before baking.
- Pasta of Choice. I like to either use shells, elbow macaroni, or cavatappi shaped pasta. You can use any shape you’d like! I use pasta made with durum wheat flour (regular white pasta), however you can try to use chickpea pasta or rice pasta if you’d like. I personally have not tried making it with this type of pasta, but it should work. The only thing is the pasta may break easily, but the flavour will definitely still be amazing!
- Vegan Butter. This will be used to grease the baking dish you will put your mac and cheese in. You can definitely use oil to grease the dish if you prefer this.
- Spices. I use a mix of salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, and onion powder.
- Breadcrumbs. This adds an extra crunchy top layer to your mac and cheese. I personally love getting a top piece of pasta that is full of the creamy sauce and had some crispy breadcrumbs baked on it. Nothing compares to that!
Tips on making the best vegan mac and cheese
- Make your sauce first. I would suggest boiling your potato and cashews before boiling the pasta. It may take a little longer to do these steps, and you want to avoid having soggy pasta!
- Cube your potato so it boils quicker. I prefer cutting my potato into smaller pieces and boiling it, since it will only take about 10 minutes to become fork tender.
- Boil your cashews. I know most people say the best way to make your cashews soft is to soak them in water overnight, but I am here to tell you that all you need to do is boil your cashews for 10 minutes! This works like a charm for me and they are super easy to blend afterwards. Plus, it saves so much time!
- Reserve that pasta water! Don’t forget once you boil your pasta to reserve some of the water. You can use a ladle and scoop the water into a separate plate. This will be used when making your sauce, so remember to set that aside!
Can I add anything else to this vegan mac and cheese?
You can definitely add in some vegetables! I have also made this mac and cheese with spinach and broccoli, and the taste was amazing!
How to store this healthy easy mac and cheese
This mac and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. I have never personally tried to freeze this mac and cheese, but it should last in the freezer for up to one month!
- If you’re looking for more delicious pasta recipes, you will love this Easy Vegan Cherry Tomato Pasta! Quick and easy, packed with protein and so delicious.
- My Easy Vegan Burritos (High Protein) are another perfect weeknight dinner that also double as meal prep for lunch the next day! They come together in 30 minutes and are an easy way to get in lots of protein, veggies, and carbs.
- Craving a fun and delicious appetizer/easy dinner? You will love my Vegan Savoury Hand Pies (Panzerotti)! These are absolutely delicious and such a fun meal idea!
Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1 box pasta of choice (450-500 gram box)
- 1 medium potato peeled chopped and boiled under fork tender – boil in about 1.5 cups of water
- 1 cup cashews, in 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup plant milk of choice, original unsweetened
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 tbsp pasta water
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese, flavour of choice
- Vegan butter, to grease baking dish
- Extra cheese to add to pasta before baking
- paprika, to top
- Breadcrumbs, to top
- Peel and chop 1 medium sized potato. Bring about 1.5 cups of water to a boil in a small pan and place the cubed potato inside. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes, or until you can pierce with a fork. Drain water and put potato cubes in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same small pan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, and add your cashews to boil for 10 minutes. Drain from the water, place in a bowl and set aside.
- Boil your pasta as directed on the packaging. Remember to reserve some pasta water to add to your mac and "cheese" sauce!
- While your pasta is boiling, make your mac and "cheese" sauce by combining the boiled potato, cashews, plant milk, olive oil, pasta water, spices, and vegan cheese. Blend until creamy.
- Once pasta has cooked, drain the excess water and add your "cheese" sauce to the pasta. Stir well until all of the pasta is coated in the delicious sauce.
- Take a large dish, I used the rectangular casserole dish by Le Creuset (the 3.8L size) and brush it with melted butter.
- Pour your pasta into the casserole dish, add some extra vegan cheese and mix together, then flatten the pasta with a spatula into the casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs, paprika, and some olive oil.
- Bake at 375ºF for 10 minutes, then broil for about 2-3 minutes or until the top gets golden and crispy.