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The Best, Creamiest Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

The ultimate vegan mac and cheese! Made with cashews, this creamy, velvety, easy, and satisfying plant-based mac and cheese will become your go-to favorite. Plus, it only takes 30 minutes to make this indulgent dish, and requires very simple ingredients!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Gluten-free, pasta, plant-based, mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, vegan macaroni and cheese, homemade mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese recipe, cashew mac and cheese, best vegan mac and cheese, vegan cheese, vegan food, vegan meals, vegan dinner, easy vegan meals, quick vegan meals
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 386kcal
Author: LM

Equipment

  • High speed blender, such as a Vitamix or Ninja.

Ingredients

For the vegan cheese sauce:

  • 1/2 cup whole, raw cashews *DO NOT use roasted, salted cashews
  • 4 cups very warm water divided
  • 1/2 tsp. Better-Than-Bouillon No Chicken Base
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. tapioca starch *aka tapioca flour
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

For the sautéed veggie topping

  • 1 tbsp. vegan butter *we like Miyoko's or Earth Balance.
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli or broccolini *If using regular broccoli, remove stems
  • 1/2 tsp. harissa spice blend

Other ingredients:

  • 2 cups. cooked pasta *use GF if sensitive.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

To assemble vegan cheese sauce:

  • Soak cashews in 2 cups of the warm water for at least 15 minutes, or up to 2 hours. The longer you soak them, the smoother your sauce will be.
  • Drain off the water and add the soaked cashews to the bowl of a high-speed blender.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of warm water.
  • Stir in the No Chicken Base until dissolved.
  • Add the remainder of the vegan cheese sauce ingredients, and blend for at least 5 minutes until completely smoothed. Increase the speed gradually, and scrape down the sides of the blender as you go to ensure that all cashew pieces have been broken down. The consistency should be that of whole milk.
  • Taste to ensure your desired levels of salt and tanginess from the vinegar.

To make the sautéed veggie topping:

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan, melt the vegan butter over medium heat until bubbling.
  • Add chopped onion and sauté until onions are translucent.
  • Add stemmed broccoli and harissa spice blend, and sauté until it just becomes tender and the onions are starting to caramelize. Be sure not to overcook your broccoli! Otherwise it will be too mushy and won't provide any texture to the pasta dish.
  • Remove to a plate, keep warm, and set aside until ready to use.

To assemble mac and cheese:

  • To the same sauté pan, add the blended cashew cheese sauce and heat over medium-low heat.
  • Stir continuously until sauce begins to simmer and thicken. Note: when the sauce first begins to thicken, it will appear to be lumpy. This is normal! Continue to stir rapidly until sauce smoothes out to a smooth, creamy texture, much like qudeso dip.
  • Once the sauce is simmering gently and fully thickened, add cooked pasta gradually while stirring to ensure that the pasta is fully coated in the sauce.

To serve:

  • Portion mac and cheese into bowls and top with sautéed broccoli and onions. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 448mg | Potassium: 734mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1088IU | Vitamin C: 138mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!