If you’ve ever searched the internet for vegan mac and cheese, then you probably know that there’s tons of recipes out there. I’m guessing you’ve also noticed that they’re all extremely similar. They usually include cashews, some sort of orange vegetable (like carrots or sweet potatoes), and nutritional yeast. All these ingredients are blended up and poured onto pasta, and voila! You’ve got healthy vegan “mac and cheese.” But what about the people who don’t want something healthy? What if you just want some good old mac and cheese, minus the dairy? If that’s you, then I’ve got you covered.
Mac and cheese was a staple food item all throughout my childhood. It was the first dish I learned how to cook, and it’s the food I was most reluctant to give up when I went vegan. I tried the carrot-cashew versions, and I wasn’t satisfied. It tasted fine, but nothing like the rich, creamy mac and cheese that I remembered. One day, I stumbled across an Instagram post that featured a vegan cheese sauce made primarily with vegan butter. This was intriguing; I had never seen a vegan cheese recipe that looked so decadent! I decided to make some vegan mac and cheese using this recipe, and I brought it to a family party full of omnivores. I didn’t mention that it was vegan, and guess what? Nobody noticed anything “off” about it; in fact, they all loved it!
Ultimate Vegan Mac and Cheese
Let’s be honest: vegan “cheese” sauces made with cashews and carrots just aren’t as good as the kind filled with vegan butter. This recipe may not be healthy, but it sure is delicious!
- 1 lb dry pasta of choice such as shells or elbows
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 6 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Return the pot to the stove and place over low heat. Add butter and melt.
Once butter has melted completely, whisk in flour to form a smooth paste.
Increase heat to medium and slowly pour in milk. Whisk until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, whisking constantly.
Transfer cooked pasta to a serving dish and pour cheese sauce over top, stirring to coat.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve while warm.
- Sauce will seem extremely thin after adding milk. Don’t add more flour if it doesn’t thicken right away – just be patient and keep whisking!