This Vegan Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy, and made with absolutely no cashews! It's quick and easy to make, with just 20 minutes needed! Nut-free and gluten-free.
This vegan mac and cheese is SO delicious and truly irresistible, you'll never guess that it's made without cashews! Dare I say, it's even better than regular mac and cheese. Yes, I said it.
Once you make it, there is no going back to any other recipe. You'll find yourself making this vegan mac and cheese time and time again. It's the kind of tastiness that leaves you licking the plate even after you've eaten 2 servings.
Ingredients and notes
- Vegan butter. To give some clarity, you can use any margarine that doesn't have animal products in it. Margarine and vegan butter are almost the same thing.
- Vegan cheddar. You can use any vegan cheese you like that melts well.
- Frozen peas. I like to add them to have some veggies, but they're totally optional.
- Flour. You can use any kind of flour you like including gluten-free all-purpose flour or tapioca flour.
- Milk. We use soy milk, but any unsweetened plant-based milk will work.
- Nutritional yeast. It can be found at most big food stores, or at a health food store. It gives cheesiness and a savory, umami flavor.
How to make vegan mac and cheese without cashews
Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to packaging instructions, until al dente. Add frozen peas in the last 2-3 minutes. Then, drain and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Make the roux by melting butter over medium heat. Then, add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Turn the heat to low and add flour. Using a whisk, mix until a paste is formed. Slowly pour the milk, while whisking constantly to prevent clumps. Then, add dijon mustard and spices, and stir.
Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and shredded cheese, and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese fully melts.
Add the cooked pasta and peas in and toss until they're well coated with the cheese sauce. Serve right away, and sprinkle with some vegan parmesan for even more flavor (optional).
- Make the roux on low heat. If you burn the roux, there is no going back, so make sure not to cook it on too high heat.
- When adding the milk, whisk constantly. This will ensure that no big clumps of flour will remain and that the cheese sauce will turn out smooth and creamy!
- Cook the sauce until the cheese fully melts. Vegan cheese takes longer to melt than dairy cheese, so you'll need to keep cooking and stirring the sauce for 3-4 minutes for the shreds to melt.
- Remove the cheese sauce from the heat immediately after it's ready. The more you cook it, the more it thickens, which can lead to dry mac and cheese. Cook it just enough so that the cheese melts, then remove from the heat.
If you don't want to use nutritional yeast, it's best to substitute it with 1-2 tablespoon white miso paste. It will still give you that savory, umami flavor that we're looking for. However, if you have neither of them on hand, it's fine to omit it.
You can make the cheese sauce 5 days in advance, and reheat it on the stove with a few splashes of milk before using it.
This recipe lasts for a good 5 days in the fridge! And it reheats well.
Yes! You can freeze this recipe for up to 3 months. Make sure to let it thaw overnight before reheating.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
Vegan Mac and Cheese without Cashews Recipe
- 8 oz elbow macaroni (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
- 3 tablespoon vegan butter/margarine
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoon flour of choice (all-purpose, gluten-free all-purpose, whole wheat, tapioca, etc.)
- 2 ½ cups non-dairy milk, unsweetened (we use soy milk)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste
- 3-4 tablespoon nutritional yeast (or more if desired)
- 2 cups shredded vegan cheddar* (or another vegan cheese of choice)
- Fill a large pot with water and salt generously. Cook pasta according to packaging instructions, until al dente. Add the frozen peas in the last 2-3 minutes. Drain well, and drizzle 1-2 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
Make cheese sauce
- To the same pot, or to a rimmed skillet, melt vegan butter over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until lightly golden.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the flour, whisking until a paste has formed. Slowly start pouring the milk, whisking constantly to prevent clumps, until creamy.
- Add dijon mustard, garlic powder, nutmeg (optional), salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Stir.
- Add nutritional yeast, and shredded vegan cheese and mix. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted. Add a splash of milk or water if the cheese sauce is getting too thick. Once ready, remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked pasta and peas, and using a spatula, carefully toss until everything is well coated. Taste and adjust the flavor if needed, adding more salt for saltiness, lemon juice for tanginess, or black pepper to taste. Serve!