There are lots of ways to make vegan mac and cheese, believe it or not, but this is the recipe I return to again and again. It's easy, fast, and super creamy—everything a stovetop mac should be. —Gena Hamshaw
4 to 6
(about 3 ounces) raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours (and up to 8), drained
cooked cannellini, great white northern, or navy beans
freshly squeezed lemon juice
small clove garlic, crushed
elbow pasta or mini shells (whole wheat, gluten-free, and regular pasta are all fine)
cooked green vegetables, such as chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets, blanched peas or chopped asparagus spears, or steamed spinach (optional)
Place the cashews, beans, lemon juice, paprika, turmeric, miso, nutritional yeast, garlic, cayenne, and water into a blender or a food processor and blend/process until totally smooth. Set the sauce aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, till it's to your liking.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and fold everything together gently, until the pasta dish is creamy and evenly coated. Adjust seasoning to taste. You may not need to use all of the sauce: If you have some leftover, use it as a dip or as dressing for a grain bowl.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.