I’m comin’ at ya with another recipe post! This is the vegan mac & cheese that I make at least once a month. Is there any more quintessential comfort food than mac & cheese? I DON’T THINK SO. Anyway, I’m writing this post late at night from my self-isolation and if I keep writing I’m going to get pretty loopy, so I’m just going to move on to the recipe. (Bonus: You should have most, if not all, of these ingredients in your pantry right now! :)) (Another bonus: This mac & cheese is whole-heartedly omnivore approved. Though it doesn’t taste exactly like traditional mac, it’s very delicious in its own way.)
Important note: This recipe was very much inspired by/based on the VegNews Best Ever Vegan Macaroni & Cheese, but I’ve adapted it enough that I feel OK with claiming it as my own. Still, I would be nowhere without this OG inspiration! (And by “nowhere” I mean eating subpar vegan mac & cheese. No thank you.)
My best vegan mac & cheese
- Serves: 4-6 (depending on how much you eat……)
- Time: 45 minutes
- 16 oz. small pasta (I suggest macaroni, obvi, but you do you)
- 2 cups potatoes, chopped (~ 1 medium or 2 small potatoes)
- 1 scant cup onion, chopped (~ half an onion)
- 1/2 cup carrot, chopped (~ 1-2 carrots)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 cup vegan butter
- 1/3 cup neutral oil (I use canola or coconut)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of ~ 1 lemon)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- Optional: Smoked paprika (a few shakes, for smoky flavor)
- Optional: Turmeric (a pinch, just for color)
- Optional: 3 cups broccoli, chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add your pasta and cook according to package directions.
- If using broccoli: Add the chopped broccoli to the boiling pasta when you have ~ 4 minutes left to cook it.
- While pasta water is boiling, chop your vegetables and add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic to a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are fork-tender.
- While the vegetables and pasta are boiling, add the remaining ingredients (cashews, vegan butter, oil, mustard, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and optional spices) to a high-speed blender.
- When the vegetables are tender, add them + the water they cooked in to the other ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
- Sample the cheesy sauce and adjust, adding more salt, pepper, etc. to taste, then blend again. (You can also add cayenne, red pepper flake, or other spices at this stage, but I figured if you’re going to do that, I don’t need to tell you to do it. Ya know?)
- Combine your luscious sauce with the drained pasta (and broccoli, if using) until it’s evenly coated. Serve with a protein, like Field Roast sausages or smoky tempeh. Bon appetit!
This recipe is pretty forgiving and tastes delicious in every iteration! With that said, here are a few substitutions you can make as needed.
- If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you should soften the cashews (soak them in hot water for a few hours or boil them for 20 minutes) before adding them to the regular blender. If you only have a small, smoothie-sized blender, you can make the sauce in batches (with some of the vegetables & water in each) and stir them together at the end.
- The vegan butter & oil can be swapped for other fats in whatever proportions you have on hand. My happy medium is half-solid at room temp (butter) and half-liquid (oil), but feel free to switch it up.
- Also, if you’d like to lower the oil content in this dish, you can reduce the oil and butter to 1/4 cup each and/or swap some of them for more cashews. The sauce just won’t be quiiiite as creamy. Add a splash of water if needed to thin out the sauce.
- If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can use apple cider vinegar instead. I prefer the lemon, but ACV will do the trick as well to add a cheesy tang.
- I haven’t tried this, but it occurs to me that you could substitute cauliflower for the potato for a lower-carb option. I might have to test this substitution next time…stay tuned!
Please let me know if you make this recipe or if you have any questions about it. Hope you enjoy!