If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to the classic mac and cheese that still packs on flavor, then this recipe is tailored just for you! This Vegan mac and cheese is a delicious plant-based twist on the classic comfort food.
Not only are all of the ingredients used in this vegan version 100% plant-based, but they come together to make an incredibly thick, creamy sauce which smothers your favorite noodles. This recipe was inspired by a recipe I saw in the Slutty Vegan Cookbook.
As if that wasn’t enough of an incentive, this recipe takes just minutes to prepare and requires no special cooking methods--it's simple, filling comfort food done right!
Soul food is soul food whether vegan or not. It's what you put in it that matters and I ain't necessarily talking about the actual food ingredients. Good soul food cooking goes beyond a mere recipe and requires the cook/chef to put some of themselves in the dish.
Beats and Eats (music to pair with Vegan Mac and Cheese)
The Chi-Lites' "Go Away Dream" is a classic comfort song. It's got that nice falsetto lead backed with some serious harmonizing by the rest of the group. This vegan mac and cheese behave in a similar way. The star is the cheese sauce but those spices and the crust play their roles perfectly.
Ingredients You'll Need for the Best Mac n Cheese
- Vegan macaroni or pasta
- Vegan butter
- All-purpose flour
- Coconut milk
- Unsweetened almond milk or some other dairy free milk
- Vegetable broth
- Shredded Vegan cheese
- Dijon mustard
- Nutritional yeast
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Ground Allspice
- Black Pepper
How to Make the Best Vegan Mac and Cheese (step by step)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the Cheese Sauce
Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl or ramekin.
In a large saucepan melt the butter on medium heat. Add the flour and mix well. Add the coconut milk, almond milk, and vegetable stock. Whisk to a smooth consistency then add the cheese and whisk some more until it thickens.
Remove the pan off heat then whisk in the nutritional yeast, plus mustard, and dry spice mix.
Cook the pasta
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan or pot and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta then add it back to the pot. Add the cheese sauce to the pot and stir, mixing well.
Bake the Mac and Cheese
Butter a small-to-medium sized baking sheet.
Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into the baking dish and make sure the pasta is mixed well.
Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and mix with the bread crumbs. Layer the buttered bread crumbs over the top of the macaroni.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. The crust should be golden brown in color.
Cooking Tips, Considerations, and Substitutions For Making Vegan Mac & Cheese
Vegan mac and cheese can be a delicious and healthy alternative to the traditional version. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect vegan mac and cheese:
- Choose the right pasta: Opt for a pasta shape that has no eggs in the ingredients, such as elbow macaroni, fusilli, or penne.
- Use plant-based milk: Use a non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or oat milk for the sauce. Choose an unsweetened and unflavored variety for the best result.
- Select vegan cheese: There are many vegan cheese options on the market, including ones made from cashews, soy, or coconut. You can also make your own vegan cheese sauce using nutritional yeast.
- Don't skimp on flavor: Add spices and herbs to your vegan cheese sauce for extra flavor. Garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, and mustard are all good options.
- Be patient: When making the cheese sauce, take your time and whisk continuously to prevent lumps from forming. It can take a few minutes for the sauce to thicken, so be patient.
- Add some veggies: To make your vegan mac and cheese healthier, add some veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach to the pasta if that's your thing. It's definitely not mine as I like my mac and cheese with just mac and cheese.
- Top it off: Once your mac and cheese is ready, add some breadcrumbs or vegan Parmesan cheese on top and bake for a few minutes for a crispy finish.
By following these tips, you can make a delicious vegan mac and cheese that everyone will enjoy.
When making vegan mac and cheese, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure the best results:
- Use nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor: Nutritional yeast is a key ingredient in vegan mac and cheese, as it provides a cheesy flavor and golden color. Look for fortified nutritional yeast, which is a good source of vitamin B12.
- Adjust seasonings to taste: The seasonings in this recipe can be adjusted to suit your preferences. If you like a stronger garlic flavor, for example, you can add more garlic powder. Similarly, you can adjust the amount of smoked paprika or black pepper to your liking.
- Experiment with different add-ins: Once you have the base recipe down, you can experiment with different add-ins to customize your vegan mac and cheese. Some popular options include roasted red peppers, vegan bacon bits, or sautéed mushrooms.
Making vegan mac and cheese requires some substitutions for the traditional ingredients. Here are some of the most common substitutions you can use when making vegan mac and cheese:
- Vegan butter: Use a vegan butter or margarine in place of dairy butter to make the cheese sauce.
- Cornstarch or arrowroot powder: Use cornstarch or arrowroot powder as a thickener for the cheese sauce instead of traditional flour.
- Mustard: Adding a small amount of mustard to the cheese sauce can help to give it a tangy flavor similar to traditional mac and cheese.
- Garlic powder and onion powder: Use garlic powder and onion powder to add flavor to the cheese sauce.
By using these substitutions, you can make a delicious and healthy vegan mac and cheese that everyone will enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Making Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese
What does vegan mac n cheese taste like?
Vegan mac and cheese can taste quite similar to traditional mac and cheese, but with some differences in texture and flavor due to the use of plant-based ingredients.
The cheese sauce can be made from a variety of non-dairy ingredients like cashews, nutritional yeast, or soy-based cheeses, which can provide a savory and slightly nutty flavor. Additionally, some vegan mac and cheese recipes may include spices and herbs like garlic powder, mustard, or smoked paprika to enhance the flavor profile.
The texture of vegan mac and cheese can also differ from traditional mac and cheese. The cheese sauce made from plant-based ingredients may be slightly thinner or have a different mouthfeel than traditional cheese sauce. However, adding vegetables or other ingredients to the dish can help to create a more complex and satisfying texture.
Overall, the taste and texture of vegan mac and cheese can vary depending on the recipe and ingredients used, but it can be a delicious and satisfying alternative to traditional mac and cheese.
Can I leave out the nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a key ingredient in many vegan mac and cheese recipes as it adds a cheesy flavor to the dish without the use of dairy products. However, if you do not have nutritional yeast or do not like the flavor, you can certainly make vegan mac and cheese without it.
In this case, you may want to adjust the other ingredients in the recipe to compensate for the missing flavor. For example, you could add a bit more salt, mustard, or other spices to the cheese sauce to enhance the overall flavor.
Keep in mind that the resulting dish may not taste quite as "cheesy" as a recipe that includes nutritional yeast, but it can still be a tasty and satisfying dish. You may also want to experiment with other non-dairy cheeses or cheese substitutes, such as cashew cheese or vegan cheese shreds, to see what works best for your taste preferences.
What is vegan macaroni made of?
Vegan macaroni is made of the same ingredients as traditional macaroni, but without the use of eggs. The main ingredients in vegan macaroni are semolina flour and water.
Semolina flour is a type of durum wheat flour that is used to make pasta. It is a high-protein flour that gives pasta its characteristic chewy texture. Water is added to the semolina flour to make a dough, which is then shaped into macaroni using a pasta maker or by hand.
Vegan macaroni is a popular ingredient in vegan mac and cheese recipes. It is a versatile pasta shape that can hold onto sauces and other ingredients, making it a great choice for a variety of dishes.
What is the best vegan cheese?
I'm partial to Vevan Ched-Shred Vegan Cheese. They make a great vegan cheddar cheese. It has good flavor and melts well which is key. The best vegan cheese can depend on personal taste preferences and the specific recipe or use. Here are some popular vegan cheese options:
- Cashew cheese: Cashew cheese is made from blended cashews, nutritional yeast, and other seasonings. It has a creamy texture and a mild, slightly nutty flavor.
- Soy cheese: Soy cheese is made from soy milk and other ingredients. It can have a flavor and texture that is similar to dairy cheese.
- Almond cheese: Almond cheese is made from blended almonds and other ingredients. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and a crumbly texture.
- Coconut cheese: Coconut cheese is made from coconut milk and other ingredients. It has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet, coconutty flavor.
- Vegan cheese shreds: There are many brands of vegan cheese shreds that are designed to melt and stretch like dairy cheese. These can be a convenient option for topping pizzas or making grilled cheese sandwiches.
Ultimately, the best vegan cheese is the one that you enjoy the most. Experiment with different types and brands to find the ones that work best for your taste preferences and recipes.
Make this vegan mac n cheese recipe
You won't be sorry you made this vegan mac and cheese recipe. It's cheesy, creamy, and delicious and rivals any regular mac and cheese! Plus, it's easy to make and only requires a few simple ingredients. So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try today!
If you make this soul food mac and cheese or any other recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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For the Cheese Sauce
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon more Vegan butter
- ⅓ cup All-purpose flour
- 52 oz unsweetened Coconut milk 3 cans
- ½ cup Unsweetened almond milk or some other dairy free milk
- ½ cup Vegetable broth
- 8 ounces Shredded Vegan cheese
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup Nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Pasta and Crust
- 1 pound Vegan macaroni or pasta
- 3 tablespoons Vegan butter melted
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the Cheese Sauce
- Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl or ramekin.
- In a large saucepan melt the butter on medium heat. Add the flour to make the roux and mix well 2-3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, almond milk, and vegetable stock. Whisk to a smooth consistency then add the cheese and whisk some more until it thickens after a few minutes.
- Remove the pan off heat then whisk in the nutritional yeast, plus mustard, and dry spice mix.
Cook the pasta
- Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan or pot and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta then add it back to the pot. Add the cheese sauce to the pot and stir, mixing well.
- Bake the Mac and Cheese
- Butter a small-to-medium sized baking sheet.
- Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into the baking dish and make sure the pasta is mixed well.
- Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and mix with the bread crumbs. Layer the buttered bread crumbs over the top of the macaroni.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. The crust should be golden brown in color.