Best Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe

best vegan mac and cheese
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When I started my hunt for the best vegan mac and cheese recipe, I didn’t think it’d be too difficult but I wasn’t sure if I could find one that was cheesy enough to work in mac and cheese. There are a few levels of cheese, ya know? Mac and cheese is the ultimate level, so the cheese has to be damn good. This recipe checks all the boxes and doesn’t use any crazy ingredients that you have to forage the forest for, so I know you’re gonna love it.

vegan cheese sauce recipe
It took some tweaking to perfect this recipe. I was inspired by several recipes, but my favorite was from Healthier Steps. The rest of the fam doesn’t like red peppers (or black pepper), so I skipped those ingredients and added a few of our own.

I didn’t even wait for it to cool down before I took a huge bite! I knew right away that I definitely nailed the cheese recipe.

Some recipes say you need to soak cashews overnight, but I usually just soak them for about an hour in warm water and they’re perfect. Soaking overnight will make them softer, so if you don’t have a very good blender, that will be your best option. If you have a high-speed blender or food processor, soaking for an hour is fine.

Best Vegan Mac and Cheese | Ingredients

8 ounce box elbow noodles
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least an hour)
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons coconut milk (in the can)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
paprika and parsley flakes for garnish


Soak cashews for at least an hour. Drain.

Cook pasta according to box directions. While the pasta is cooking, prepare your vegan cheese sauce.

Best Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe
In your blender of choice (I use a Ninja IQ), combine cashews, water, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard, and cayenne pepper. You don’t have to use exact measurements with this recipe, as it’s pretty difficult to screw up. 😉

vegan cheese sauce | the heated beet
It took about 2 1/2 minutes for the sauce to get to the consistency that I wanted it. Add a little extra mustard or a dash of vinegar if you want some more bite; add more cayenne if you’d like some more kick.

vegan mac and cheese | the heated beet
Drain pasta noodles. Pour sauce over cooked pasta noodles, stirring until all noodles are coated. Garnish with paprika and parsley flakes. I love smoked paprika but regular paprika will work in a pinch, too!

This is a great recipe to take to a potluck, because nobody needs to know they’re eating vegan food, right? Let them fall in love with it first!


best vegan mac and cheese | the heated beet

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