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!
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
- Vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
- Nutritional yeast
- Almond milk
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
How to make vegan cheese for mac and cheese
- Start by melting the butter in a pan and adding the nutritional yeast and seasonings
- Add the almond milk and bring it to a gentle simmer
- Add the cauliflower and cashews and simmer for about 20 minutes
- Transfer the mixture to a high power blender and blend until super smooth
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!
- Cook your noodles according to the package (I like macaroni or mini shells for mac and cheese).
- Drain the noodles and transfer them to a big bowl. Add the cheese sauce and give it a good stir.
How to make toasted breadcrumbs
- Melt butter in a pan over low-medium heat
- Add breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown (5-7 minutes) stirring frequently
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.
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
Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces uncooked pasta I like elbow macaroni or shells; can substitute with a GF brand
- 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
- 3 cups almond milk
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 3 cups cauliflower
- 1+1/4 cups raw cashews
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs can substitute with a GF brand
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 the pot the sauce was made in over low-medium heat. 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).
- Place mac and cheese in a bowl. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and enjoy!
- Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week.
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23 thoughts on “The BEST Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe!”
I’m definitely interested in trying this. I’ve never been one for cheese substitution, but this just looks so darn good.
Yes some cheese substitutes can have a weird flavor! This recipe does not, my friend!
Kinda crushing on this cheesy goodness right now. I’m not vegan but if a dish is vegan and sounds/looks/smells amazing I’m diving! I cannot wait to try this as it looks so decadent!
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!
Thanks so much, Eva!
This vegan mac and cheese looks exactly like the real deal. My kids will never know they are eating a vegan dish.
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!
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 😀
This recipe just looks so easy to make and delicious! I love that you added bread crumbs as well! Perfection!
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.
Anything with panko is my favorite!
I am not even vegan and I love this!!! We especially like it with some steamed broccoli and have it for a light dinner!
Love love love adding broccoli to my mac and cheese!
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!
I made this as a gift to a vegan friend who’s sheltering in place alone and she loved it!!
That’s so kind of you! Really happy she enjoyed it!
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.
Thanks so much, Emily! So happy you enjoyed it 🙂
Can you use frozen cauliflower or is it best to use fresh?
Frozen cauliflower should work great!
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!