- 8 ounces whole-grain macaroni elbows
- 1 head of broccoli, florets cut into small bites (about 1 ½ to 2 cups), optional*
- 1 ½ tablespoons avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup peeled and grated russet potato (4 ounces, about 1 small or ½ medium potato), preferably organic
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
- Small pinch of Frontier Co-op red pepper flakes
- ⅔ cup raw cashews**
- 1 cup water, more as necessary
- ¼ cup Frontier Co-op nutritional yeast
- 2 to 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, to taste
Did you know that this seven-year-old vegetarian food blog did not have a macaroni and cheese recipe until today? It’s true. I’ve failed you on the mac and cheese front, but I’m making it up to you with this vegan (I repeat: dairy free) mac and cheese recipe.
From one cheese lover to another, I’m here to tell you that this mac and “cheese” is remarkably cheese-like and absolutely delicious.
I’ve been slowly working on this mac and cheese since I published my vegan queso recipe two months ago. The first time, I tried to use pasta cooking water instead of my queso’s secret ingredient (grated potato), and it was just ok.
Then, I added the potato back, and the potato starch makes this cashew-based queso super silky and creamy. It’s remarkable!
The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
Nutritional yeast is key, in addition to the grated potato. It offers some cheesy flavor and color. Frontier Co-Op just started offering it in smaller bottles, and after using it in this recipe, I really believe their product is superior. It has less funk than the regular store-bought brand, so if you haven’t enjoyed nutritional yeast in the past, please give it a shot.
I kept tweaking the amounts and spices until we had just the right amount of sauce for one-half pound of pasta. I’ve finally nailed it. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list—it’s all basic pantry ingredients!
I couldn’t help but incorporate some broccoli for some extra flavor, color and health benefits. Keep it or leave it out—I’ve included guidance for either option in the recipe below.
Vegans, dairy-free friends, and cheese lovers who crave a more redeeming mac and cheese recipe, this recipe is for you. (And for those who also appreciate traditional, cheesy mac and cheese recipes, you don’t want to miss my new stovetop mac and )
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! If you’re transitioning to vegan or dairy-free recipes, don’t miss my vegan sour cream and vegan Parmesan.