Enjoying a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in dishes like macaroni and cheese, and we have three amazing recipes to prove it!
Starting with the basics, here’s a recipe from Vegan Yumminess that emphasizes creaminess above all else. Free of refined oil, it has the taste of indulgence with none of the dairy. It also ventures into the realm of culinary creativity by adding ingredients and seasonings that traditional macaroni and cheese isn’t known for including.
10 ounces (or about 2⅔ cups) of macaroni
¼ cup of peeled/diced carrots
1 cup yellow or russet potatoes, peeled or diced
¾ cup of water
⅓ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup coconut milk
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
¾ to 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Boil the macaroni for about 6 to 8 minutes so that it retains some of its firmness. Drain the macaroni, and then set it aside. In a small pot, boil enough cups of water to fit the chopped potatoes, onions, and carrots. Let them cook for about ten minutes or until the vegetables have softened up enough to be blended together. Transfer vegetables from the water to a blender, adding ¾ cup of water, along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend everything until it creates a smooth sauce. Mix the sauce with the macaroni. Add other seasonings or garnishes to taste.
Alternatively, the macaroni and sauce can be spread in a baking pan with a smattering of bread crumbs. After that, bake the concoction at 350 degrees F for roughly 15 minutes, and bask in the glory of its rich, oven-cooked gooiness.
Taking into account both prep and cook time, only about 20 minutes are required to get this treat on the table. It should be enough to delight 4 to 5 people.
That’s not the only idea for creating a vegan macaroni and cheese dish with all the velvety goodness of the real thing. This recipe from Cookie and Kate takes the same ideas as the previous one and runs in a different (delicious!) direction with them.
8 oz of whole-grain macaroni
1 head broccoli, florets cut into small bites (optional)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons of avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 cup russet potato, peeled and grated
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
⅔ cup raw cashews
1 pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 cup water
2 to 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, to taste
Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. (For the best results with broccoli, add it to the pot when only 2 or 3 minutes of cooking time are left.) Drain everything, then move it to a large serving bowl. Use medium heat to warm the oil over a medium-to-large saucepan. Add the onion and salt. Stirring frequently, allow to cook for about five minutes, or until the onion is soft and semi-transparent. Throw in the mustard, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, red pepper, and potatoes. Make sure everything is combined together, then let it cook for one minute. Pour in water and cashews and let the whole mixture simmer. To keep it from boiling, reduce the heat. Once the potatoes are fully cooked—which may take about 5 to 8 minutes—the mixture is done. Transfer the mixture to a blender, adding the yeast and vinegar.
Blend everything together until they produce a smooth, creamy sauce. To make it thinner, just add ¼ cup of water, and blend again, repeating as necessary until achieving the desired texture. Add more salt, vinegar, or other seasonings to taste. Stir sauce together with the pasta.
After 15 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes of cooking time, this dish should be ready for about 4 people to devour in no more than 40 minutes.
Here’s an option that’s all kinds of healthy. This recipe from Detoxinista is not only vegan, but gluten-free, and no less tantalizing and satisfying than the others. Other than the gluten-free noodles, the idea is more or less than same—using products other than dairy ones to achieve the creamy texture of macaroni and cheese so that your tongue is tricked even if your body is not.
16 oz of gluten-free elbow or shell pasta
¾ cup water
½ clove garlic
1 ½ cups of raw cashews
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon mustard (Dijon or yellow)
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika, for garnish
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Boil the pasta for 6 to 8 minutes or until it’s tender without losing its firmness. Drain the pasta before returning it to the pot. Put the yeast, cashews, mustard, chili powder, garlic, turmeric, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and water into a blender. Blend everything together until it creates a smooth sauce. If a thinner texture is preferable, just blend in 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pot. Season everything to taste.
It takes roughly 20 minutes to prepare everything and then another 20 minutes to cook it. Altogether, then, set aside at least 40 minutes for this dish. Ideally, there should be enough to satisfy 8 people.
Don’t Feel Like Cooking?
Of course, there are times when something even quicker and easier than these vegan mac and cheese recipes sounds more appealing than cooking from scratch. In those cases, Thrive Market offers Annie’s Mac and Cheese, which doesn’t require much more effort to make than the more common boxed brands. Organic, vegan, and delicious, it fits the needs of a vegan in a jiffy.