Weeknight Cooking

My Favorite Vegan Mac and Cheese

March  9, 2016
5 Stars
Photo by Linda Xiao
Author Notes

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

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours (and up to 8), drained
  • 1/2 cup cooked cannellini, great white northern, or navy beans
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounces elbow pasta or mini shells (whole wheat, gluten-free, and regular pasta are all fine)
  • 1 cup cooked green vegetables, such as chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets, blanched peas or chopped asparagus spears, or steamed spinach (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
In This Recipe
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • louisez
  • Sandi Cornez
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  • Maren Epstein
    Maren Epstein
  • Sweetkarma
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.

5 Reviews

Sweetkarma December 19, 2021
I just made this for dinner tonight, but I baked it and added panko breadcrumbs on top with some parsley and a little salt. I undercooked the noodles by about 4 mins since I was baking it and added some pasta water to the sauce to thin it out because when baked it becomes very dry. I was skeptical when I tasted the sauce but really loved the end results. I also added some peas and a good amount of black pepper to the mix before baking. If you don’t want thin the sauce out with water, you could try it with some cashew cream. I just prefer a lighter flavor.
louisez November 2, 2016
This is now our family's favorite (vegan) mac and cheese.
Thanks !
Sandi C. March 20, 2016
Gina, sounds yummy. You can also use veggie ribbons in place of pasta.
gael C. March 20, 2016
Gena...can you prep the dish then bake it in the oven later on? Thinking of taking this to a pot luck dinner.
Maren E. March 10, 2016
That sauce sounds really interesting! I'm going to try it. Thanks Gena!