If you're looking for the best vegan mac and cheese out there, look no further! This one tastes almost better than the real thing. But read on...
The one single food item that makes a vegan diet kind of hard for some people is at the same time the one that keeps people from switching to a vegan diet: the cheese. We were loving it, we were sneaking it in the early days of our transition, and we couldn’t imagine a life without that block of solidified dairy milk.
It wasn’t before we learned just how much cruelty was behind this food, that’s made of 70-80% artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. Many cheeses are made with rennet, which is an enzyme that comes from a calves’ stomach lining. So technically, your cheese might not even be vegetarian. It is also likely to be crawling with bacteria and might have been sprayed with mold, especially the slimy cheeses.
What really made us reconsider things was the fact that there is an allowance of somatic cells and pus in every glass of milk. The average somatic cell count in U.S. milk per spoonful is 1,120,000. The fact that milk cows have to be impregnated regularly in order to actually give milk and that their new-born calves will never taste their mother’s milk is just heartbreaking.
So in order to make veganism tasty and very healthy for you, we decided to come up with an easy and delicious vegan mac and cheese recipe that’s made with mostly staple foods that you likely have laying around somewhere. Won’t believe it?
Beautiful Pictures made by Logan Inc
We tasted vegan cheeses before. Many different brands. And we could never get over the artificial taste or the high fat and salt content, so these were not an option for us. But fortunately, there’s a very inexpensive and tasty alternative to sprinkle on your food in order to make it cheesy: nutritional yeast. This food item is also known as the “vegan crack” because a lot of us are likely to be sprinkling it on every dish we’re about to eat.
But it’s still not the same as a creamy cheese sauce. So how did we do it? Instead of using copious amounts of olive or coconut oil like similar recipes suggest, we decided to use veggies as a base. When we don’t have any nuts around, we even make the sauce with veggies alone!
But since we wanted to give you the advanced and even more irresistible version, this recipe does include some nuts. If you can't or don’t want to have them though, just omit them. And when it comes to your pasta, don't just limit yourself to macaroni! You can use penne, spaghetti, farfalle, whatever you have in your house.
And since we’re known to be sneaking some more veggies into our meals for an extra boost of antioxidants and micronutrients, we decided to also add some broccoli. It also makes for some nice color and extra texture! If you have picky kids or grown-ups, feel free to leave out the broccoli. The sauce already has some veggies in it!
Okay so let’s get right into this goodness because who isn’t excited for some pasta? This quick and delicious comfort food will be super creamy and can be made within 15 minutes if you have pre-cooked potatoes on hand.
The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese (Oil-free & Healthy)
This delicious creamy mac and cheese recipe is 100% vegan, free of any oil and made with no-fuss ingredients in just 15 minutes or less! Kids and omnivores love it, guaranteed.
- 7 oz dry whole grain maccaroni (or any kind of pasta) (200g)
- 7 oz broccoli florets (200g)
- 2 medium sized potatoes, cooked
- ½ medium sized carrot
- 1 small onion
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup cashews (65g)
- ¾ cup water (180ml)
- ¼ cup soy milk (or any plant-based milk) (60ml)
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sea salt
- dash of paprika
- dash of cayenne
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, peel the cooked potatoes and the carrot, then chop finely. Put in a small pot together with the chopped garlic and onion. Heat up with a little bit of water and let cook until soft enough to blend and the water has almost disappeared.
Remove pot from stove and put the warm sauce ingredients in a blender jar together with the spices, milk, water, and cashews. Blend cautiously until smooth.
Chop up the broccoli florets and sauté with water in a non-stick pan until soft but still a little crunchy. Add all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly until everything is coated with the sauce. Enjoy warm!
Have you been looking for healthy vegan comfort food? Feel free to share in the comments is you and your family liked this plantified classic. Let us know if you added some kind of twist to it, we always like to try some different variations!
About the Author
Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.