A Vegan Mac and Cheese that you don't need to feel guilty about! This healthy mac and cheese contains hidden veggies but it is so creamy and delicious that you'd never know. And it's ready in under 30 minutes from start to finish!
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! There's really nothing that compares to a big bowl of creamy mac and cheese on a cold night.
But this vegan mac and cheese is something different altogether. It has all the cheesy comfort of the original, but it is a whole lot lighter and 100 times more waistline friendly.
The secret? Well, for a start, there's no cheese in this mac and cheese.
We've all heard of cauliflower mac and cheese but the addition of butternut squash adds a lovely golden hue and a subtle sweetness to counter the slight bitterness of the cauliflower.
It even looks like a certain well-known brand's (ahem - Kraft) all too familiar yellow cheese sauce.
Completely devoid of chemicals and food colors, this dairy-free cheese sauce looks rich and cheesy. And it tastes it too.
The best part though, is that it is a cinch to prepare! Dinner will be on the table in under 30 minutes from start to finish.
How to Make Vegan Mac and Cheese
The first step to making this vegan mac and cheese is to cook the veggies.
Place potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, garlic, shallot, and cashews into a pot of water and bring to a boil.
When the veggies are cooked, we'll process them all in the blender to create our dairy-free cheese sauce.
The butternut squash will give your vegan mac and cheese a gorgeous orange color, and the cashews will lend a perfect creamy consistency.
Next, add the nutritional yeast, white miso, smoked paprika, olive oil, and lemon juice and blend until nice and creamy.
Finally, we'll cook the macaroni and toss it with our vegan cheese sauce. I love the traditional elbow macaroni pasta for my vegan mac and cheese, but you can use any shape you like!
If the sauce is too think, add a bit of the macaroni cooking water to thin it out.
Tips for the Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
Be sure to use dense, starchy potatoes for the vegan cheese sauce. I have found that russet potatoes work best for this recipe.
If you're not up to the task for peeling your butternut squash (I know it's a tough job!), you can buy pre-chopped butternut squash at most grocery stores.
Be sure not to overcook the pasta - overcooked macaroni will absorb the dairy free cheese sauce more quickly.
If you're not going to eat the vegan mac and cheese right away, I recommend preparing some additional sauce and adding it before reheating. This will keep your mac and cheese from getting too dry.
If you can't find white miso paste, you can use a dash of soy sauce to give your vegan mac and cheese that bit of umami flavor. But it really is worth picking up some white miso - I always keep it in my pantry!
Butternut squash is also known as "butternut pumpkin" in some regions. They are the same thing.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
If you love the idea of a vegan mac and cheese, but are looking for something a little simpler (and less veggie-centric), be sure to try out this Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese which uses dairy-free cheese to make a simple sauce with just a few ingredients.
And be sure to check out my most popular vegan pasta recipes here. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
- One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Mushroom Bolognese
- One Pot Thai Green Curry Noodles
- Creamy Mushroom Vegan Alfredo
And for more delicious recipes, don't forget to grab a free copy of my Top 15 Reader-Favorite Recipes before you go!
Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup potato 200g, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup cauliflower 100g, roughly chopped
- 1 cup butternut squash (butternut pumpkin) 200g, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp shallot peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup nuritional yeast
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 10 oz macaroni 300g
- salt and pepper to taste
- baby spinach or arugula (rocket) optional
- Place the potato, cauliflower, butternut squash, garlic, shallot and cashews in a saucepan and cover with as much water as needed so that the vegetables are covered. Add a little salt to season and bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until fork tender. Do not drain.
- Place in a blender with 1 ½ cups of cooking water with the all the rest of the ingredients except the macaroni. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- While the sauce is blending bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the macaroni and cook according to packet directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce until well combined. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you'd like slightly looser sauce Add your favourite greens (if using) and serve.
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