The BEST Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe!

Nothing beats a bowl of noodles enrobed with a cauliflower cashew “cheesy” sauce. This vegan mac and cheese recipe is the definition of comfort! Topped with toasted breadcrumbs, it’s NEXT LEVEL!

closeup of fork with vegan mac and cheese

Okay, I’ll give you a minute.

To soak this recipe in.

VEGAN mac and cheese! It’s quite a challenge. To make a dish that relies solely on dairy to give it all the flavor. But alas, a cheesy dish without the cheese!

What gives this vegan mac and cheese recipe a cheesy taste?

Well, a few ingredients, but cauliflower and cashews give it a good base.

ingredients for vegan mac and cheese

Ingredients for vegan mac and cheese

  • Vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • Cashews
  • Cauliflower
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Almond milk
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

vegan cheese sauce for mac and cheese with cashews and nutritional yeast

How to make vegan cheese for mac and cheese

  1. Start by melting the butter in a pan and adding the nutritional yeast and seasonings
  2. Add the almond milk and bring it to a gentle simmer
  3. Add the cauliflower and cashews and simmer for about 20 minutes
  4. Transfer the mixture to a high power blender and blend until super smooth

hand pouring vegan cheese sauce over bowl of macaroni

How to make this vegan mac and cheese recipe

Now that the cheese sauce is made, it’s time to combine it with some noodles!

  1. Cook your noodles according to the package (I like macaroni or mini shells for mac and cheese).
  2. Drain the noodles and transfer them to a big bowl. Add the cheese sauce and give it a good stir.

toasted panko breadcrumbs in pan

How to make toasted breadcrumbs

  1. Melt butter in a pan over low-medium heat
  2. Add breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown (5-7 minutes) stirring frequently

two bowls of vegan mac and cheese with breadcrumbs

Add-ins for Vegan Mac and Cheese

Don’t get me wrong, mac and cheese is pretty magical on it’s own. However, you can really take your mac and cheese to the next level by adding some ingredients!

  • Steamed broccoli (highly recommend)
  • Cooked and chopped asparagus
  • Diced green chilis (highly recommend)
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Hot sauce! (Tabasco, Frank’s red hot, or even Sriracha are all solid options)

Can vegan mac and cheese be made gluten-free?

YUP! One of my favorite pasta is actually Banza chickpea pasta. Just use this instead of regular pasta to make this recipe GF

You can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of panko.

vegan mac and cheese topped with breadcrumbs in a white bowl.

This vegan mac and cheese recipe is so easy to make and the BEST substitute for the real deal! Don’t take it from me, try it for yourself! 😉

If you tried this vegan mac and cheese recipe, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!

If you like this recipe, you’ll LOVE:
Creamy Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Vegan Cheddar Bay Biscuits

closeup of fork with vegan mac and cheese

Vegan Mac and Cheese

So EASY to make and so comforting! An amazing cheese sauce made with nutritional yeast, cashews, and cauliflower mixed with macaroni is the best plant-based comfort meal. Topped with buttery breadcrumbs, it's NEXT LEVEL!
4.67 from 12 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese, homemade mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 361kcal
Author: Amanda

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces uncooked pasta I like elbow macaroni or shells; can substitute with a GF brand

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup vegan butter I like Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 cups cauliflower
  • 1+1/4 cups raw cashews

Breadcrumbs:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs can substitute with a GF brand

Tools:

Instructions

To Make Cheese Sauce:

  • Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add nutritional yeast, garlic, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir until seasonings are well mixed and fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Pour in almond milk and dijon mustard, Scraping bottom of the pan for any brown bits stuck. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Add cauliflower and cashews and simmer for 20 mins.
  • Transfer to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To Make Pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water. Set the cooking water aside.
  • Place cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Pour cheese sauce on top and mix until well combined. Use the reserved cooking water to thin out the sauce if needed.

To Make Breadcrumbs:

  • In a small nonstick pan, melt 2 Tablespoons butter.
  • Add breadcrumbs and cook until toasted and golden brown (about 5-7 minutes).

Assemble:

  • Place mac and cheese in a bowl. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and enjoy!
  • Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week.

Notes

The cheese sauce can be freezed in the freezer for about 3 months. Simply let thaw in the fridge overnight and heat up in a sauce pan when ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (1/8 recipe) | Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.8g | Protein: 12.9g | Fat: 16.5g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 3.4g | Sugar: 1.9g | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 5mg

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24 thoughts on “The BEST Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe!”

  1. 5 stars
    I’m definitely interested in trying this. I’ve never been one for cheese substitution, but this just looks so darn good.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my, those golden crumbs on top are such a clever addition!It’s somethingI love to add to any broccoli dish so the fact that you use broccoli as cheese replacement and then add those is a clear sign I will love this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    I love mac’n’cheese so much that I can eat it in any version. There is just something about it that really makes me excited 🙂 Love how yours looks!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve seen so many variations to vegan mac n’ cheese. I love seeing everyone’s unique take on it. This sounds awesome and the sauce looks divine! Definitely pinning for later 😀

  5. 5 stars
    What a clever way to make a rich cheesy sauce — using cashews. I’m not a vegan but I’m buying the supplies to make this casserole of goodness. And the panko crumbs is the perfect finish.

  6. 5 stars
    I am not even vegan and I love this!!! We especially like it with some steamed broccoli and have it for a light dinner!

  7. 5 stars
    What a unique way to turn a classic comfort food into a vegan version. This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks so much!

  8. 5 stars
    This vegan mac and cheese is so so good! You can’t even tell it’s not real cheese. I was looking for a dairy free version of the classic and this hits the spot. Will definitely be making this again.

  9. 1 star
    I tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out very bad. I have been vegan for over a year now so i have no problem eating noosh . The problem was that the mustard was very strong in this recipe. I had to throw out all of the mac and cheese because my family wouldn’t eat it.

    • I’m so sorry this recipe did not work out for you! The mustard acts to balance out the flavors. Per the recipe, I recommend tasting and adjusting the seasonings before mixing it with the cooked pasta. This allows you to get the sauce to your liking. You can always add a bit of water or salt to balance out the mustard (although you really shouldn’t taste it as it gets cooked down substantially). You can always omit the mustard or reduce the amount. I hope this helps if you choose to make this recipe again. Again, I apologize that this did not work out for you!

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