Updated: Jul 17
In this post, I'm thrilled to share a tantalizing recipe for my favourite vegan Mac and cheese!
Whether you follow a vegan lifestyle or are simply seeking wholesome alternatives, this plant-based twist on a classic dish will leave you astounded.
Mac and cheese is a beloved comfort food, renowned for its creamy, cheesy goodness that satisfies both the palate and the soul. Our vegan version captures the essence of the original, featuring entirely plant-based ingredients. So, if you're longing for a comforting favorite or are eager to explore a new approach to Mac and cheese, you're in for a delightful surprise, as the cheese sauce in this recipe is made from vegetables & nuts!
Not only is this recipe cruelty-free, but it also showcases the remarkable versatility and flavors achievable without animal products. The not-so-secret secret to making the sauce so cheesy and creamy is to use Potato, carrots, and cashews to make the creamiest vegan sauce which everyone would love (unless you’re allergic to nuts!!), while the cheese flavour is incorporated by nutritional yeast.
Crispy, creamy, cheesy.
To me, the hallmarks of a good Mac & Cheese is the above 'Crispy, creamy, cheesy' mantra (which I just made up), and this recipe creates the perfect combination of all three!
The crispy outer layer is made by a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and vegan butter, while the creaminess is delivered through the combination of soft boiled potato, carrots, and cashews. Arguably the most important factor of a Mac & cheese is the cheesiness of the sauce, and this recipe uses nutritional yeast - a stable in many vegan dishes, boosting protein and B12, as well as adding its unique cheese-like flavour.
Vegan Macaroni & Cheese Recipe:
1 large potato 🥔
2 medium carrots 🥕
500g macaroni 🍝
1 cup non dairy milk (I used Alpro not milk) 🥛
1/4 cup olive oil 🫒
1/2 lemon juice 🍋
1/2 cup nutritional yeast 🦠
1 tsp salt 🧂
1 tsp garlic powder 🧄
1/2 tsp onion powder 🧅
3/4 cup cashew nuts 🥜
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used flora) 🧈
1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs 🥖
(optional) vegan bacon lardons 🥓 (I used La Vie)
Start by washing then cutting up the potato and carrots into large chunks - don't worry about peeling them, leaving them on boosts the nutrients and fibre of the recipe!
In 2 separate pots, cook the macaroni until al-dente (it will continue cooking in the oven), and simmer the potato and carrots until soft (about 20 minutes). I suggest keeping lids on the pots to reduce the energy needed.
While the pasta and vegetables are cooking, preheat the oven to 180° for a fan oven, ~ 200° for non-fan.
Melt the vegan butter in the microwave, and mix in the panko breadcrumbs, then leave to one side.
Once the vegetables are soft, add the cashew nuts to the same pan for ~2 minutes to let them soften up.
Drain the vegetables & cashews and add to your blender, along with the non-dairy milk, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Blend in short bursts, but take caution as the mixture will probably be very hot! You can add some of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
Drain the macaroni, and pour in the cheese sauce, mixing thoroughly. Add your vegan bacon lardons to the pot and stir in. If you like your lardons crispy, I'd recommend frying them first before adding to the pasta.
Transfer the pasta to your oven baking dish, then layer the panko breadcrumb mixture on top.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown and crispy.
And that's it! I love this recipe as it fulfils my occasional junk food craving, while also containing vegetables, so I don't feel like I'm cheating on my diet! This is a great recipe to meal prep for the week, as I find it creates 6-8 servings, and should last 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
I hope you like this recipe! Please leave a comment if you try it, to let me know your thoughts!