Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese

Nooch Disclaimer: If you missed my post on Nutritional Yeast, and you’re not familiar with that ingredient, you may want to check it out before reading further because this post is very “nooch” focused.

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I guess I should start by saying that I’ve probably tried every “cheezy” nutritional yeast sauce out there. From tofu-based ones to cauliflower-based (!) ones, I’ve tried them all. And although they weren’t always the best, I’ve eaten them all, because they were smothered over big bowls of pasta. Let’s face it: I never say “no” to a bowl of pasta (except one covered and real cheese and/or meat!)

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Truthfully, those mac and cheese recipes weren’t that bad (except maybe the cauliflower one – it was pretty horrible). They were relatively creamy and as close to the “real” thing as one can remember after being vegan for over 15 19 years. But there was always something missing. Also, many of them called for a lot of vegan margarine, which I try to avoid unless I’m making holiday & special-occasion recipes.

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I was going through my bookmarks last week and came across The Epicurean Vegan’s Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese post about Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe from her cookbook, The Vegan Table.

A cashew-based cheese sauce? This I had to try!

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I have to say (and as you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post) – this is definitely the best vegan cheese sauce that I’ve ever tried. It’s rich and creamy, but also sweet and mellow. The cashews impart a bit of sweetness, but I think it’s the miso that really does the trick. Oh, and I have to say that the addition of truffle oil is pretty awesome. It adds a nice sophistication to a basic comfort food.

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free) Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Notes on my modifications to the original recipe

  • The original recipe makes a lot of sauce! The halved recipe, which provides 2-3 portions, appears below.
  • I used half the oil and it still turned out great, so that’s what I included in the recipe below.
  • I replaced white pepper with regular black pepper.
  • Instead of blending the sauce ingredients in the food processor, I quickly whisk it on the stove – it’s easier and less messy that way.
  • My sauce turned-out a bit darker because although my miso paste is labelled “white”, it’s actually really dark brown.
  • I sometimes uses the sauce in a big bowl of quinoa and broccoli. It’s a healthier option that I had originally read about on Jenn’s website (her version is good but this cashew one steals the show for me).
Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free) Vegan Quinoa and Cheese Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Updates

August 2, 2012 – I have to agree with Epicurean Vegan – this is way better straight-up, rather than baked in the oven. However, as per the original recipe, I’ve included that option in the directions in case you prefer baked mac & cheese.

December 17, 2013 – The response to this recipe via Pinterest and elsewhere has been incredible!  I remade this today and updated the photos, as well as the recipe below by simplifying it a little bit. In addition, here’s some information for those of you who may not be familiar the following vegan terminology:

  • Cheeze – A common way of referring to vegan “cheese”. Learn more about vegan cheeze by reading my Homemade Vegan Cheese post.
  • Nooch – The affectionate nickname for the amazingness that is nutritional yeast. You can buy nooch from Amazon or from most good health food stores, and if you want to learn all about the stuff, check out my post: What is Nutritional Yeast (Nooch)?
4.7 from 22 reviews

Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This rich and creamy macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Vegan and Gluten-Free
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Side
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 8oz macaroni noodles, cooked (use gluten-free, as required)
  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • 1 + ¾ cups almond or soy milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp light (yellow or white) miso paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp truffle oil (optional, but highly recommended)
  • pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place cashews in the food processor and finely grind (just don’t let the cashews turn to a paste). Set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, oil and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until cornstarch dissolves.
  3. Using a whisk or large fork, stir in the ground cashews, nutritional yeast, miso paste, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the cashew cheese to the macaroni noodles, drizzle with truffle oil (if using) and serve.
  5. Optional: For a baked version, preheat oven to 325 and place macaroni mixture in a 8 or 9″ square baking dish. Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with ½ cup herbed bread crumbs. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes until topping is golden brown.
Notes
Adapted from Epicurean Vegan, who adapted it from The Vegan Table


Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

169 Comments

  1. Tricia Bayer-Burkholder says:

    As a VERY recent vegan, a month yesterday, but a vegetarian for 10 years, I look forward to learning a lot on your blog. I have recently discovered Nooch and love it, and after reading your rave review on the cashew based cheese sauce, I must say, I made “Spaghetti No’s” from Isa Chandra’s website – I think Post Punk Kitchen, and it uses cashews in the “cheese” sauce. I can’t believe how good it was and I can’t believe how much my kids love it too! Even the lentil meatballs.

    Anyway, I look very forward to trying your quiche recipes and thanks so much for making it easier! My husband is a very supportive omnivore whom I hope goes vegan one day – he does love my vegan cooking and eats it regularly. It would be so much nicer though if family and friends didn’t treat you as a freak. I’m getting used to it though because it’s only myself I had to convince. :)

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Tricia – Thanks so much for your comment and congratulations on going vegan! It’s great that you have a strong vegetarian foundation, that will certainly help you. Cheese is super hard to “kick” so things like Nutritional Yeast are a great way to indulge in cheese-like recipes. I haven’t tried either of the recipes that you mentioned but will have to give them a try – thanks for recommending them! Let me know what you think of the quiche. With time, your friends and family will learn to better accept your choice to be vegan. It does seem extreme at first, but once they taste all the yummy food you’re making, it will be easier for them to understand, or at least appreciate :) Again, good luck, and feel free to send more recipe recommendations my way!

      Reply
  2. Rob says:

    I’m not a vegan but after trying this recipe I’m thinking maybe I should be… ;)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Rob – Woah, that’s huge! Thanks so much for your comment – so glad to hear that you liked it. If people only knew how yummy vegan can be… :)

      Reply
  3. Izzy says:

    Just wanted to thank you SO much for posting this, it helped me find the recipe. It was sooooooo good I threw you a shout-out!

    http://crashtestvegetarian.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/rotini-and-cashew-cream-sauce/

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Izzy – So glad to hear that you liked this. You’re right, it’s not traditional mac and cheese and sweeter than the usual mac and cheeze… but I love it so I don’t care! I’ve eaten it on quinoa, steamed broccoli… any excuse, really :) Thanks for the shout-out and link back to my site!

      Reply
  4. I love Vegan Mac & Cheese. Every mac & cheese dish I see in a restaurant, cafe, even in a home cooking kitchen, I devour it right away! But usually I don’t like to cook pretty often (as much as you), I always go for Amy’s Kitchen vegan mac and cheese (plus, it contained Daiya cheese and it’s completely soy-free, I think…), it’s a quick 5-6 minutes microwavable meal plus it tasted orgasmic.

    xxxx from Vienna

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Rika – Thanks for the tip, I’ll look for that while I’m here in Canada! :)

      Reply
  5. Susan Johnson says:

    How long do you think the sauce lasts? I am making the recipe but do not intend to use it all today. Have not tried it yet!
    Thanks,
    Susan

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Susan – Gad to hear you’re trying this yummy recipe. The sauce should be fine for a few days in the fridge, although you may need to re-blend it quickly before re-using. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  6. Susan Johnson says:

    OMG! Fantastic! Let you know how it fairs a few days in the frig, My husband liked it! Which is surprising.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s so awesome! I haven’t even tried it on my fiance yet… he hates nutritional yeast… but maybe it’s worth a try :)

      Reply
  7. Julie says:

    I’m so psyched to try this recipe, thank you! I have been vegan for 8 weeks now and actually, didn’t find myself having a hard time giving up cheese at all…at first, ha! I’ve tried many of the cheeze products out there but have yet to find one I really embrace and want to buy again. I do miss extra feta and sharp cheddar, so am really looking to find one of those some day that I like (did find a good soy feta with Mediterranean herbs already in it that’s pretty darn tasty, gotta admit). I love nutritional yeast and have for years, and have been looking into more recipes that utilize that for cheesiness. Wish I had a bowl of this right now (but honestly, with quinoa and broccoli since I watch carbs being diabetic)!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Julie – Thanks so much for your comments. Congrats on going vegan – the first month or so is the hardest so that’s a big accomplishment! I’ve had soy feta before (really yummy) but I have yet to find a store-bought cheddar that I like. You may need to make your own – there are lots of recipes out there (although I’ve never attempted it, it looks easy enough). That’s great that you already like nutritional yeast – another thing that should make the vegan thing easier for you. I made this with quinoa and kale this weekend – way healthier than straight-up on pasta. Anyway, good luck and keep in touch! :)

      Reply
  8. Ines Magnosi says:

    Julie – thank you for posting the Mac and Cheese recipe. I have been looking for a great one for a long time. My daughter just loooves mac and Cheese. How did your sauce get creamy. Mine turned out to be just watery. I followed the direction as indicated ( used rice milk for the milk product). Any one has an idea if it is the rice milk?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Ines – Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure why, but it sounds like the rice milk may not have been creamy enough for this recipe. You may want to try almond milk next time if you can’t use soy. So sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you :(

      Reply
  9. Erin says:

    Is there anything you can substitute the miso with? My local grocery store doesn’t carry it, and I live pretty far away from any other stores that might. Also don’t want to have to order on-line and pay shipping. This looks so good and I am dying to try it.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Erin – If you absolutely can’t find it, then feel free to leave it out. A lot of the other famous vegan “cheese” sauces don’t contain miso and people still love them, so you should be OK. However, personally, I always find that those sauces are missing something. The miso adds a sharpness that really makes this taste like cheese to me. So, make it without, see what you think… and place an online order for some light miso paste to try it next time. It’s so versatile and you’ll find that a lot of vegan/healthy recipes call for it.

      Reply
  10. Connor Joanna says:

    My boyfriend, who loves his cheese, says that this is better than regular macaroni and cheese, and we have to make it all the time. Heavenly.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s fantastic! Thanks for the feedback. I have an even better recipe coming soon… probably next week… stay tuned! :)

      Reply
  11. Thomas D says:

    Hi Vegangela,
    Longtime vegetarian/vegan here. So what are you thoughts on vegan males wearing nail polish. I’m certain your enlightened readership would love to know! Cheers!!!!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Thomas – I don’t really have an opinion on it either way. I guess it’s cool as long as the polish is vegan?! I had an ex who wore polish and eyeliner all the time, and I thought it was quite hot!

      Reply
      • Thomas D says:

        Wonderful response…thank you. So I’ll be making that Mac&Cheese recipe with some alteration. I’ve always had a problem over the years with nutritional yeast from tasting like cheese to cardboard. I’ll be adding mashed Cannellini beans to the recipe with whole wheat bread crumbs as a topping for baking in an oven. Will let your fine readership know how it turns out as I’m making it as an entree for Christmas dinner…Cheers all and Happy Holidays!!!!!!

        Reply
        • vegangela says:

          Yum, sounds delicious. Definitely keep me posted :)

          Reply
  12. Kat says:

    Just made this for the first time and it was great! Made it as a side with chili. My husbands words were, “this is ridiculous! It’s better than most mac and cheeses.” Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Kat – Wow, that’s incredible feedback! I’m so glad that you and your husband liked it so much :)

      Reply
  13. I lead a discussion group, called a Vpod, and we were talking about wanting a vegan mac and cheese recipe. This recipe looks so good! I will be sharing it with my group when we meet on Friday night at 6:30. Want to join us? Just email me and I’ll give you the number to call. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi there! Sorry, I’ve been traveling and just now getting caught-up on comments. Hope the discussion went well! :)

      Reply
  14. Christian says:

    Im so excited about your recipes my husband and I just watched forks over knives and we are going vegan that movie really impacted us .

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Christian,
      That’s so awesome! Congrats on the decision to go vegan and I’m honored to hear that my recipes will be of help along the way. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m traveling right now but will try to get back to you ASAP!

      Reply
  15. Tracy says:

    I just tried this recipe for the first time and I loved it! I am not a proclaimed vegan (yet), but have recently decided to try giving up cheese for at least 14 days to see if it makes a difference in how I feel (I eat a ridiculous amount of cheese). So far so good. I have a friend who has been vegan for years and she warned me that she had to go through tons of horrible mac and cheese recipes before finding one she liked, but I thought this recipe sounded good so I decided to try it anyway. I’m glad I did. I couldn’t find miso paste nearby so I left it out. I also didn’t use the lemon juice as I am not a big fan of too strong a lemon flavor. I used macaroni noodles made from corn and quinoa flour (because I am also trying to add more whole grains to my diet) and I added in some sweet peas. It was delicious!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad you liked it. It’s my all-time fave vegan mac and cheese recipe. Try to seek-out the miso if you can (in the Asian section of you grocery store). It makes a big difference and adds a rich cheesy flavor :)

      Reply
  16. Thurstonmom says:

    I will definately by trying this! Just bought a ton of raw cashews and am looking for ways to use them up. And, always on the look out for new Vegan mac and cheese, got to love the NOOCH!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Excellent!Let me know what you think of it :)

      Reply
  17. Linnea says:

    I knew that I wanted to make a cashew mac and cheese sauce and when I googled it, yours was the second link. And then I was like, “Oh! That’s Angela! We made amok in Cambodia together!”

    I made it last night for my husband and it was wonderful! Not too noochy (which is often my complaint), but creamy and wonderful. I didn’t have any non-dairy milk, so I just threw in some extra cashews and a little less water and it turned out great :) I definitely plan to use this in the future!

    Linnea

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Linnea! Thanks so much for stopping by! What a small world! I’m adding your blog to my RSS reader now :) Keep in touch and I’ll try to get to my comments sooner in 2013!

      Reply
  18. Shellybean says:

    Hi there, great recipe! I’m new to the dairy free world, and had recently made an attempt at vegan macaroni & “cheese.” Unfortunately, it had turned out horrible tasting. Now the only thing that I could find in my grocery store (which was not a health food store, BTW) was a product called, Imported Brewer’s Yeast. The smell of it was really strong. At first I had thought maybe it was the tahini (spelling?) that the recipe had called for; but after testing it again, and making a second “cheese wiz” version using this Brewer’s yeast product, I’m thinking that was the culprit???

    Can anyone help me out? Thanks so much! And great site!

    Reply
  19. Nathan says:

    I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now and decided to get a huge batch of nutritional yeast and try out a mac & cheese recipe. I found your recipe and have just finished baking a huge batch. (Had to leave out the onion powder, didn’t have any in the rack!)
    I really wasn’t expecting much but OMG! It is The. Best. Tasting Mac & Cheese I have ever had. Ever! Granted, it’s my first vegan taste of it but it blew me away! This is seriously going in my go to collection of awesome recipes. Thank you so much for this ultimate comfort food!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YAY! So glad to hear it. Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  20. Ashley says:

    I wanted to like this! The sauce actually looked like cheese sauce and was so smooth. Unfortunately, I took a bite and could barely stomach it. Didn’t taste cheesy to me. I followed the recipe all except the truffle oil because of the $10 price tag. My husband and kids couldn’t eat it either. We are not vegan, but we love to cook and try new recipes.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m really sorry to hear that. Nutritional yeast is an acquired taste for most people :(

      Reply
  21. Jette says:

    This is a great basic recipe! Red miso is definitely the way to go, it gave some much-needed color to what otherwise looked like a buerre blanc. An additional pinch of salt, a tablespoon of white wine mustard and a teaspoon of hot sauce kick up the flavor beautifully. My 5 year old loved this. Definitely a keeper.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for the tip about the miso. Love your additions, I will try that next time :)

      Reply
  22. Vanessa Taylor says:

    Hi there!

    Thank you for such a fabulous recipe! It is wonderful! I followed it to the letter with no substitutions. However, my sauce did not come out that cheery orange colors yours is. It’s more like a white cheddar sauce. Do you have any tips?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Vanessa – what color is your miso? I was using a really dark miso when I shot those photos, but I now use a lighter miso and the sauce comes up much lighter. You could always add some paprika if you wanted more color..?

      Reply
  23. Bonnie MacEvoy says:

    I made some changes; these worked very well for us:
    Ingredients
    ½ cup + 2 tbsp raw cashews, covered by boiling water for 20 minutes, then drained
    ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    1 tsp onion powder
    ½ tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp salt, to taste
    1/4 tsp white pepper
    1 1/2 cups plain soymilk (less milk to make up for the soaked cashews and increased lemon)
    1.5 tbsp cornstarch
    3 Tbsp canola oil
    1 1/2 tbsp light (yellow or white) miso paste
    1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    8oz pasta, cooked
    1 cup steamed spinach leaves
    1 peeled, diced tomato, steamed (stir in spinach and tomato just before serving)
    Several dashes pepper sauce by each guest as desired

    Instructions unchanged

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Sounds great! Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I like the addition of spinach and tomato. Yum!

      Reply
  24. Ali says:

    Hi VegAngela!

    I just tried this recipe last night and my boyfriend (who is the opposite of a vegan) and I both loved it! As you mentioned, there was a fair amount of sauce left over so I just used it as a coating on kale and made kale chips. HOLY MOLY. Amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad to hear that you both liked it. AWESOME idea with the kale chips. I will definitely try that! Thanks for stopping by :)

      Reply
  25. april dulac says:

    This sounds really yummy. might try it with brown rice pasta.

    Question: what kind of non dairy milk will work best with this? I do not like getting soy anything since there is so much out about it not being very good for you. I have not had rice or hemp milk. I don’t want to use almond milk as hubby doesn’t like it and i am unsure how coconut milk will do.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi April – That small amount of soy is not likely going to be dangerous, but failing that, I would use almond or rice milk. The flavor of the almond milk will be masked by the other ingredients. Good luck!

      Reply
  26. Linda says:

    This was absolutely delicious, what a gem of a discovery! Thank you so much. I also love the Australian references and accessible ingredients :)
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! It’s still my “go-to” comfort food recipe :)

      Reply
  27. thartley says:

    I made this lastnight and it went over pretty well. I’ve never cooked with raw cashews. Should the cashews here be soaked in water before grinding? I didn’t soak mine and my sauce turned out quite gritty. Still very edible, people went for second helpings.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yes, you can definitely soak them to make the sauce creamier. Glad you liked it!

      Reply
  28. kari says:

    Thank god I found this! I have been vegetarian for over 15 years, but cheese and milk has been my staple…I ate cheese every single day for those 15 years. This year, my husband and I finally decided to go vegan and cheese was something we were having a hard time replacing. We had tried one version of mac and cheese we found online that wasn’t that good. But this recipe WAS AMAZING!

    I added some extra nutritional yeast flakes. I left out the truffle oil, and replaced the miso with soy sauce and tahini. I think I added more lemon juice than in the directions – not sure, I just kept squeezing and tasting so… I also added some mustard because I like the vinegary taste of mustard – and it turned out perfect. To me, it tasted just like cheese. No I’m lying. It actually tasted better than cheese to me. My husband was ecstatic when he tasted it.

    So thank you. It will be a recipe I use for nachos or any other cheese-needed dish, and it will allow me to be a totally satisfied vegan.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YAY, isn’t this the best recipe? I wish I could take credit for it! Your modifications sound great. I really need to add mustard next time. Thanks for taking the time to write! :)

      Reply
  29. april dulac says:

    what can we use in place of canola oil?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You could use a light olive oil or regular vegetable oil…

      Reply
  30. Matt says:

    Hi I am farely new to being vegan but have also been open to it. I have always loved mac and cheese and googled a vegan version and up came to this glorious recipe. I didn’t have corn starch so I added whole wheat flour. Added a little Aardark habanero hot sauce on it with a side of greens and I am very impressed. Creamy, savory with a touch of heat. Very good. Thanks for the great recipe! :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yum, great substitutions. So glad you liked it! It’s a staple in my home :)

      Reply
  31. Janeth says:

    Cant wait to try this mac and cheese recipe. I have tried a few before and failed miserably. So I just gave up!!
    I will def be back to post the result. Thanks for sharing. I just made delicious vegan biscotti.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Vegan biscotti = yum! Let me know if you try this recipe… it gets great reviews from all over… :)

      Reply
  32. Courtney says:

    How much white pepper should be used? Herbed bread crumbs? Thanks.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Good catch in regards to the white pepper. Should be 1/16 tsp white pepper for the halved version. It already says 1/2 C for the bread crumbs.

      Reply
  33. Laura says:

    I just made this tonight and it was incredible!! I made it exactly as written, except I didn’t have a food processor, so I did the whole thing in a blender. It tastes INCREDIBLE!! The best vegan cheese sauce I’ve ever had. The only issue is that it’s not at all creamy because of the blender.. :( I sorta of saw that coming…I guess I’ll buy a mini food processor for next time. Until then, this is more like an alfredo-y sauce :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Glad you liked it! It’s such a staple in my house too! It’s definitely worth getting a food processor. I use mine almost every day. Thanks for stopping by :)

      Reply
  34. Leticia says:

    Hi Angela!
    I’ve made this recipe three times since the year started and totally love it! They are addictive!
    I use about half the amount of salt because even though I like salt, the first time they turned out to be too salty for me. I also prefer the baked version.
    And btw, today there is a post on The Kitchn about Mac and cheese and people are posting links to their favorite recipes so I had to share yours :)
    Thanks for such great recipes, love your blog!

    Reply
    • alice says:

      Hi there, I’m a vegetarian for about 10yrs now, not vegan, but recently obsessed by nutritional yeast, have it on toast and everything! Can’t wait to try this recipe as a healthier option to actual cheesy, milky sauce..but wondering could I use some fresh onion and garlic instead of powder or is there some reason why should use powder? And if I did use fresh how much do you think? Does fresh generally taste stronger than powder or vice versa (never used powder before)? Technically I can buy some powder if need just wondering if I can avoid buying extra ingredients!

      Thanks (“,)

      Reply
      • vegangela says:

        Hi Alice! Glad to meet another nutritional yeast lover – I put it on everything too! You can absolutely use fresh onion and garlic in this sauce, I do that myself sometimes. A medium sized onion and 1 clove of garlic fried-up and added to the sauce should do the trick. Let me know what you think of it!

        Reply
  35. Nicole says:

    My 8 year old son says “Tell the lady she’s very creative!” He’s a ‘ use to eat everything’ turned ‘die hard cheese fan/picky eater’. Couldn’t find miso paste in my area, and left out the lemon juice, for his sake. My daughters and I REALLY liked it like this. I recommend making the sauce, then cooking the noodles. This gives the sauce opportunity to cool and thicken. By the time you toss the two together, the sauce sticks instead of runs. Thank you very much for posting this recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Ha ha, your son is hilarious! I’m glad that everyone liked the dish. That’s a good suggestion about the pasta. I often make the sauce for leftover pasta, and I know it works with cooled noodles. Thanks for taking the time to comment – take care :)

      Reply
  36. Eloïse says:

    I tried this tonight and it was really good! I had other vegan Mac and cheese before but I prefer this recipe. The only thing I did different is add paprika and turmeric, mostly for colour, And I added canned diced tomatoes cause I like to eat my Mac and cheese with tomatoes! I will make this again! Thanks for an awesome recipe. Me and my hubby are new at this and recipes like this will for sure convince him to stick being a vegan.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I love the addition of canned diced tomatoes. I will have to try that! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  37. Jamie says:

    Hi Angela! I’m brand new to the vegan world and love your blog so far! I notice a lot of your recipes call for a food processor.. I, unfortunately, only have a blender.. will this work?

    Reply
  38. Katie says:

    This is honestly the best cheese-like sauce I’ve had. Hands down. I didn’t expect it to taste so good and handle my mac and cheese craving, but it did. I feel so grateful to have found your recipe. My search is over and so is eating cheese!

    Reply
    • Katie says:

      Have you tried freezing this sauce? I’d like to make a double batch and then freeze half for future meals…

      Reply
      • vegangela says:

        You know what… I haven’t. I’ll have to remember to make extra sauce next time so I can try that. Do let me know if you get to it before I do!

        Reply
        • Katie says:

          The last time I made a batch of this I had one cup left that I froze. It was in the freezer for probably a month and a half or so before I used it. I defrosted it in the microwave and then heated it to hot.

          It was identical to the fresh sauce! Super creamy and smooth, not at all separated, and really delicious. Even cold it was tasty. I’ll definitely be making larger batches and freezing the sauce for future quick meals.

          Thank you again for creating and sharing The Perfect Un-Cheese Sauce!

          Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Isn’t it the best? I’m grateful for it myself, since I make it so often. Thanks for your comments, have a great day :)

      Reply
  39. Groceries says:

    Our family is omnivorous, but we try to eat vegan, vegetarian and pescetarian for a few meals each week.

    We tried this with Tinkyada brown rice rotini, and it was delicious.

    I would definitely leave out the salt and serve with steamed or grilled veggies.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow, I’m glad to hear that this was a hit at your omni table! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  40. Miss Peppi says:

    Please excuse the following moment of bad spelling and overuse of both capitalization and exclamation points, but…

    THIS RECIPE IS AMAZEBAAAAAAALLLLSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *ahem*

    I’m an omnivore, however, my diet is mostly comprised of vegan and vegetarian dishes.
    Cheese has oft been a major weakness of mine, but a lactose sensitivity (which seems to trigger flare ups of eczema) has forced me to avoid dairy. This recipe may very well be one that will forever banish those cravings (at least for the most part – it’s hard to find a vegan replacement for a nice blue or brie :p)

    Thank you for sharing the blueprints of this culinary delight!

    P.S. I’m typing this whilst enjoying a giant bowl of quinoa and steamed broccoli drenched in said amazeballs sauce :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      HA HA! Best comment ever. I agree, this recipe is a life-changer. And I love how you’re enjoying it wit quinoa and broccoli – it’s my comfort food when I still want to be healthy :)

      Reply
  41. Jennifer says:

    I’m not vegan, I didn’t have all the necessary equipment and ingredients and didn’t do it properly, and I still loved this. Very awesome.

    I have no food processor so I chopped the nuts by hand, made a mini version and approximated the scale-downs of the ingredients, made the liquid portion of the mix in the microwave lol (I used silk unsweetened vanilla almond milk), used grapeseed oil. I also used gluten free brown rice pasta. Still awesome. I added tons of spinach (brocolli would be awesome with this too), tons of freezedried italian herb mix, and some chili sauce. Yum yum, I’m eating this as I speak/type. ;)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow, you’re so creative! I love your modifications. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  42. Sheena says:

    HOLY CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER ANGELA!!!!!!

    It took me three tries, because of stupid mistakes of my own, to get this right, but today – and with TRUFFLE OIL (GOD AS MY WITNESS I SHALL NEVER HAVE A PANTRY WITHOUT TRUFFLE OIL AGAIN!!!!) – all I can say is that I’m thinking of divorcing my husband and MARRYING this Mac n’ Cheese!!!
    I could CRY it’s so DELICIOUS and fills my heart with every single memory of my mother’s KD love (she didn’t know better, eh? ) like nothing else ever has! THANK YOU for putting this into the world where I could find it and with all the explanations and information and photos – they helped me track my boo boos and get it right this time and I’ll be shocked if I dont’ make this every week!
    HUUUUGE HUGS,
    Sheena :D !

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Ha ha ha. Best comment I’ve had in a while! Isn’t this recipe the best? I wish I had come up with it myself! And yes, I totally agree about truffle oil. It makes everything so much better! It’s important to have a few recipes like this one on-hand for when you’re craving serious comfort food. Let me know if you think I should revise the recipe to make it easier to follow. Anyway, thanks for your awesomely energetic comment, it just made my day :)

      Reply
  43. Annie says:

    Hi,
    I just have the INTENTION to be vegetarian but the vegan recipes always look sooooo tasty to me :) I will try this one, that’s for sure. This is a shame, but I love Kraft Dinner :-P. The home made cheese sauces always required specific cheeses that I don’t always have in my refrigerator, but I always have all the ingredients for this vegan mac&cheese !!

    Can’t wait to taste it :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Annie – Did you try it? Let me know what you thought :)

      Reply
  44. Laura says:

    I really love this recipe, with the truffle oil of course, and can attest to it being EASY. This is very irresponsible of me, but I came home from the bar one night (I was on foot – at least I’m not THAT irresponsible) and I was so drunk I made this recipe and I don’t remember making it. My husband reminded me the next day. So yeah, we ate the whole thing so I have no idea how good of a job I did. That’s not a regular occurance mind you, 99% of the time when I make the recipe I am completely sober. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      HA HA! I love this comment! Good for you for pulling this off post-bar :)

      Reply
  45. Michelle Dugal says:

    I just have to tell you that my husband and I have tried some of the recipes that you have posted and have enjoyed all BUT this mac and cheese is the best dairy free, cheese free recipe we have ever tasted Thank you so much for sharing.

    Michelle and Happy Hubby (-;

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you both liked it! Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  46. I make this dish at least once a month! What it lacks in the “good for you” department, it more than makes up for in taste.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Ha ha, so true! I’m adding your blog to my RSS reader, by the way :)

      Reply
  47. Vanessa says:

    I have been vegan for 17 years and tried a LOT of mac and cheese recipes. This is by far the very best!!

    My husband and I made it for dinner last night and both loved it! We are forcing ourselves to wait at least a few days to make it again! Thank you so much for this recipe! I didn’t have truffle oil so I better hurry up and pick some up before our next batch!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YAY! I’m glad you liked it, and I totally giggled that you were forcing yourself to wait a few days to make it again. I’m the same way :)

      Reply
  48. Just wanted to say, that I just created my own sauce based on this recipe and it was delicious. I seasoned the sauce with garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, to make a creamy sauce for wholewheat spaghetti topped with garlic roasted mixed mushrooms, and it was delicious. I didn’t use lemon or miso. Basically it is a great base sauce for creamy pasta sauces.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s awesome! I’ve used the sauce on quinoa before, but never as a creamy sauce with spaghetti and veggies. Love your take on it! Thanks for sharing :)

      Reply
  49. Julia says:

    I absolutely love the taste of real cheese, but I’ve been experimenting with nutritional yeast in my cheese-based recipes for a while now. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I also love the addition of truffle oil – it really makes a dish special.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Julia, let me know what you think of it :)

      Reply
  50. Derek says:

    There is a restaurant near my place that has the most FANTASTIC vegan mac and cheese – it’s baked with bread crumbs and has peas and mushrooms mixed in – and I’ve been dying to figure out their recipe. Honestly, I think this is it. I made the recipe exactly as listed above, sauteed some sliced white baby bellas and frozen peas on the side in a little veggie oil, mixed them in with the pasta and cheese sauce at the end, added a dash of salt and black pepper to taste and WOW! Now I just need to go back to my favorite vegan-friendly hangout and confirm my suspicions. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Lucky you that you can get vegan mac and cheese at a restaurant, but even better than you can now make it at home. I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to write. I love the addition of onions, mushrooms and peas!

      Reply
  51. Amanda says:

    The recipe doesn’t say when you add the ground cashews?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Whoops! I’m so sorry about that. You whisk them in with the soy milk and other ingredients. I’ve updated the recipe. Thanks for letting me know!

      Reply
  52. Jill says:

    I am not very adventurous in the kitchen. I get anxious in there and worse at the supermarket! I have a few dishes I am comfortable making and that’s about it. I have a vegan potluck every few months and my non vegan friends bring great stuff. I feel obliged to represent and come up with something even a non vegan will like. For Christmas Eve the theme I picked was comfort food. I saw your Mac n cheese recipe and read most of the reviews I printed it out and studied it and went to the market and bought everything. It stressed me out that I had to go two places!! (I also made the last min cheesecake. A little ambitious for me). I thought about it for two days before I committed to myself to make it. When I went to market I gave myself one last out if the prepared section had something good. It would have been easier I reasoned. Well I made both. And I might add doubled the recipe and did one in oven with the breadcrumbs and one without. I bought the truffle oil but did not use it because a friend said he did not like truffles and I have never had it. (When I was a kid I did not like anything!) it looked like I made way too much and I was worried my guests wouldn’t like it and that I wouldn’t like it! I dreaded leftovers no one wanted! So in the end the crunch top/breadcrumbs was very popular. Everyone loved both variations I had one smallish bowl left of the smooth. The pie was a huge hit and people said it was “so light”. I was very proud that I made these dishes. I am going to return the truffle oil which was $15 for 2 oz !!!! The only thing is I forgot to use salt and pepper but no one noticed!! So I just wanted u to know that you helped me add two new dishes to my repertoire! Now I have all the nutritional yeast I am back looking for way to use it on other dishes. U might make a cook out of me yet! Ps I have been 97% vegan since 2003 I don’t east meat since I was 17 and I am 59 now. Thank you for the amazing pictures u post. Have u ever thought about a video? I ended up watching a few that we’re terrific. I looked up how to peel a kiwi on YouTube and there was an Italian guy who has an amazing technique. It would be nice to see u make a few dishes. Just saying it because for me it is not second nature and I get very nervous cooking.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Jill! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad to hear that this recipe was such a hit! Truffle oil is definitely not cheap but you only need a little bit and it makes everything it touches so decadent. Definitely worth it if you can afford it! Thank you for the kind words about my blog. And thanks for pushing me to do videos. It’s on my wishlist for 2014! Stay tuned :D

      Reply
  53. Lorraine says:

    This looks good going to try this over the weekend.

    I am getting well into vegan food now, not totally vegan yet but getting there. I never knew there was so many good recipes ideas for vegan cooking. I have spent so many years thinking ‘I couldn’t be vegan’ but now I would say I am about 90% vegan and that is in just a few months. Taking that I am very ill (housebound although not bed ridden I am horizontal a lot, and have limited capacity both cognitively and physically, so everything is slower for me, so I feel I doing well, I am building up a recipe book, researching ingredients I have never heard of before. It’s coming together and I am really enjoying my food and experimenting and learning new things, it is sites like this that has helped me so much so thank you.

    Loz

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks very much for the kind words. And congrats on eating more vegan food! You’re right, the trick is to build up your pantry with the right ingredients, and also to have a set of good recipes that you love and that you can make anytime. Glad to hear that my website is helping with that process :)

      Reply
  54. Lorraine says:

    I have been making homemade milk, hemp, coconut and nut milks. I can’t tolerate cows milk any way since I got ill so I have struggled with not having milk until I started on this vegan path and now I regularly make milk, for my smoothies and breakfast. It is so easy and better than shop brought.

    It’s all great stuff inspired by such great websites, people who live the life and are sharing and caring

    Loz

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I haven’t gotten around to making my own vegan milk yet, but my good friend here makes her own almond milk and raves about too. So I suspect it’s something I’ll get around to at some point this year :)

      Reply
  55. Katie says:

    Thank you for sharing! Instead of canola oil I tried using coconut oil (I love the mixture of coconut and nutritional yeast…. if you haven’t tried it…. try it on top of popcorn… yummy!!!) Plus… it’s better for you than canola. It was so good! My favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe ever!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I LOVE coconut oil on my popcorn. I add bit of salt and raw sugar to make a quick form of kettle-corn… Mmm! Never thought of including it with Nooch. Will try that ASAP, thanks!

      Reply
  56. Tinkerbell says:

    I love this recipe but am going to try going very low fat as I have rheumatoid arthritis. Do you think this will work if I leave out the oil or would you have a recommendation for a substitute.

    Reply
  57. Adriana says:

    THIS IS SO GOOD THANK YOU. It isn’t exactly like a cheese sauce, but it still has all of the comforting feel of one, moreso than all of the other mac and cheese recipes I’ve tried. And I’ve tried A LOT. I’m in love.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      So glad to hear it. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  58. Stacey says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. My fav vegan Mac and cheese less recipe. I plan on trying the cashew sauce with nachos.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yum, that’s a great idea. Must try that myself… thanks for sharing ;)

      Reply
  59. Jerm says:

    I just made this and WOW – so yum!! The nutritional yeast I have is a bit strong, so next time I’ll tone this down (But it’s good if you like a strong cheddar style flavour). I also will be soaking the cashews as I didn’t like the bits being in there – but an awesome recipe! I am wondering what would happen if I threw in some agar agar to the sauce, will it become a solid type cheese? I might try that out

    Reply
  60. mandy says:

    Hi Angela!

    I made your mac ‘n cheese yesterday and made a few additions to flavour it up,since I used to love green onions,nutmeg and dijon mustard in “real” mac ‘n cheese when I was a vegetarian,not vegan as I have been for the past 3 years now.

    I think next time I make it I will omit the oil and cornstarch too. I think, for me, I tasted them “too much”. Not sure how necessary they are to achieve the creaminess. Someone on your site make a “roux” with flour and a bit of non dairy “butter” and I think that would be the way to go,for me anyway.

    Otherwise,it is delicious and creamy…finding a vegan mac ‘n cheese recipe that actually makes you feel like you’re not missing out on all that creamy dairy goodness is pretty hard to find!

    There’s a vegan restaurant in the Capitol Hill district in Seattle that makes the best vegan mac and cheese I’ve ever had, it’s name eludes me at the moment,but they add chilli flakes to theirs so it’s nice and spicy too. Mmmmmmm!

    Thanks for the recipe and uh….”Go Vegans!”

    Reply
    • Hi Mandy – Love the addition of onions, nutmeg and Dijon. Yum! I’ve already halved the oil in the recipe, but you can certainly try to cut it back more. The cornstarch is there to thicken the sauce. It will be quite liquid without it, but again, you can certainly try. That mac and cheese from the Seattle restaurant sounds great. Would love to try it someday. Thanks for writing!

      Reply
  61. Bob says:

    An amazing dish. An absolute keeper. Made it for the first time yesterday after shoveling out the car from another NYC snow storm and it really hit all the right spots.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    With Appreciation and Respect

    Reply
  62. Lisa says:

    I’m a new vegan, transitioning from vegetarian. I try to make most of my meals whole and plant-strong but I was in dire need of a warm, creamy, delicious bowl of comfort food. This recipe knocked my socks off. I opted for the baked version, with fresh, homemade breadcrumbs on top. I HIGHLY recommend anyone try this, because it will change the way you think about vegan mac and cheese. This recipe is super easy and the most delicious vegan mac and cheese I have tried. I will not go back to anything else, but I may make a few changes depending on my mood (ie. crushed red peppers flakes or onions)!

    I’ve now peeked around this website and am overwhelmed by the recipes I cannot wait to try. Thanks so much Vegangela!

    Reply
    • Yay! I totally know where you’re coming from, and so happy to hear that this recipe hit the spot for you! Thanks for taking the time to write, and let me know if you try other recipes here :)

      Reply
  63. Victoria says:

    Hi! I just recently found out that my 5 yr old is allergic to most meats, dairy, eggs & tree nuts, so I have been on the hunt for finding his favorite foods that he can eat. With that said, is there another thing I could substitute the cashews with when making the cheese?? Any other ideas & LOTS OF HELP would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  64. michelle LaFayette James says:

    There is a company out there (truffle oil hunter) That owes you a commission. I just bought 3, 8 oz bottles because of you! I think these, ( maybe one) will make GREAT GIFTS. If I can bring myself to put it in a basket! This stuff is truly heaven in a bottle! This is my go to mac n cheese just luv it Thanks!

    Reply
    • Another truffle fan! It just elevates everything it touches, doesn’t it? Thanks for the feedback, I’ll try to work on new truffle oil recipes for ya!

      Reply
  65. Raeyne says:

    Another recipe of yours to add to my “to try” list for me and my daughter :) I’m new to veganism but she’s allergic to animal milks & proteins, so finding vegan recipes which we will both want to try is rather exciting! THANKYOU! :)

    Reply
    • You’re so welcome. I hope you both like it :)

      Reply
      • Stacie says:

        I recently found out I have a gluten intolerance, and have been a vegetarian for about three years now and found your recipe to try out (I’m trying to lay off dairy for a little while until my gut heals more). Wow, this was so delicious! I did make it on the stove top at first, but found that it was too chunky for me because not everything mixed right (you know how pesky miso can be sometimes). I popped it into the blender and it was perfect! Also, my sauce was nice and thick as well until I added the lemon juice, and then all of a sudden it turned super thin. But it was nothing a pop in the oven couldn’t fix! My fiancé and I really love this, so thank you. I found it a little rich (which I guess can be a great thing!), and will be mixing some broccoli in with it to even the richness out; but I bet if I was able to add the breadcrumbs it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Either way – this was great. It also makes me a little more positive about the whole “no gluten for the rest of my life” thing.

        Reply
        • I’m so glad to hear it! I like this on brown rice pasta. I don’t miss “real” pasta when I have this sauce on there. Thanks for taking the time to write :)

          Reply
  66. Tracy says:

    Do you use the white or black truffle oil or does it matter?

    Reply
    • Hi Tracy, I use white truffle oil, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand :)

      Reply
      • Tracy says:

        ok, cool. Thanks!

        Reply
  67. Mari says:

    My kids and I can’t not have soy. To replace the miso, what would you suggest?

    Reply
    • You can leave it out. The sauce won’t have as much “bite”, but it will still be really good :)

      Reply
      • Mari says:

        Oh, wonderful! I’m so looking forward to trying it. I love you’re website!!!

        Reply
  68. Angela says:

    Hello! LOVE this recipe. Am not vegan, but am dairy and gluten intolerant. Have made it many times with different various on the recipe. To me it tastes more like white cheddar mac’n'cheese and sometimes the sweetness and richness is a bit much for me. Just wanted to add a comment here with a slight adjustment to this recipe for anyone who is up for a more sharp cheddar version.

    Recipe as normal, plus (added into the pot when other ingredients are mixed in):

    1 heaping tablespoon of sundried tomatoes (soaked in water, drained, then pulverized into powder – you can skip the soaking if you dont have time)

    1 tablespoon vinegar (white, apple cider)

    1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard powder (or teaspoon of regular mustard)

    1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular if you dont have smoked)

    1/4 teaspoon tumeric (optional, good for color)

    This transforms the original awesome recipe into a sharp, tangy cheddar delight. You can adjust the mustard and vinegar as you like for your preferred level of sharpness.

    Reply
    • Hi Angela :) I LOVE these modifications. Will try them ASAP. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  69. Amanda says:

    Would you recommend soaking the cashews beforehand? Any recipe I’ve made with a cashew based sauce typically recommends soaking the cashews for at least an hour.

    Reply
    • Hi! While it’s not necessary, it does make for a smoother texture. Good luck!

      Reply
  70. Martine says:

    This recipe is fantastic. I’m a vegetarian trying to cut down on dairy (because I am lactose intolerant) and this completely satisfies a cheese craving. I’m so going to try the sauce out as a pizza topping.

    Reply
    • That would be delicious. Let me know when you try that!

      Reply
  71. Heather says:

    I’m a new vegan and loving your site! I cannot have corn though — any replacement suggestions for canola oil and cornstarch? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Use vegetable oil or light olive oil and arrowroot powder for the cornstarch. Enjoy :)

      Reply
  72. I made this last night (without the optional truffle oil) and it actually might live up to its claim. Super yum! Nutritional yeast + miso paste + cashew cream =cheesy magic.

    Having leftovers for lunch today! Thanks.

    Reply
    • So glad to hear it. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
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