Vegan Mac and Cheese

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Every time vegans talk about cheese, they have to spell it cheeze or chreeze or shreesh. Uhhh, I’m just gonna go out on a limb and call it cheese. We all know it’s not cheese because it’s vegan cheese. Let’s just not pretend that we don’t notice that fact. LOL. Since The Kid was born with her dairy allergy, she’s never had the real thing and has nothing to compare it to.

She does ask from time to time what a specific cheese tastes like. Have you ever tried to describe cheddar or mozzarella to someone who has never had it? I’m not sure it can be done correctly. For some reason though, The Kid’s foray into the land of giving up meat has caused her to be more adventurous in her eating. Yes, this is much to my great delight.

So hey, this vegan thing has its upsides for sure. Mother-daughter bonding over food and the kitchen. It makes my heart sing. Seriously. The other day she sent me a text requesting mac and cheese. Big on kid menus in restaurants but something that she’s never had the chance to try. (We did have an ER visit due to touching mac and cheese on Easter Sunday when she was three. That’s for another story sometime.)

After getting her request, I got to work with a few non-dairy alfredo sauce recipes, my stand by “lethal” dairy mac and cheese recipe, and the knowledge I have of vegan cheese substitutes and came up with a vegan mac and cheese recipe. You need to plan ahead a little bit because the cashews need time to soak. Just drop them in water before you leave for work, and they’ll be ready to greet you when you get home.

Vegan Mac and Cheese Dairy Free Vegan Mac and Cheese

  • 3/4 cup (80g) cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 3 cups (300g) cauliflower florets
  • 16 oz box elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup (35g) nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp (28g) non-dairy butter or spread
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (25g) tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp (12g) white miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, optional

Place your cashews in a bowl or container and cover them with water. Soak them 4 – 8 hours to soften them and make them blend easier. Cut the cauliflower into florets and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the florets on the cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare the elbow noodles. Cook according to package directions and drain well. Once the cauliflower is done, remove them from the oven. Lower oven heat to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.

Add the remaining ingredients from the almond milk through turmeric in a blender or food processor. Add the cauliflower florets and process until smooth. Mix the cauliflower “cheese” sauce with the noodles and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Makes 8 very large servings at approximately 316 calories each – 13g protein, 48g carbs, and 9g fat.

The turmeric is a bright yellow spice and is basically in here to add the yellow color for a realistic experience. It doesn’t really add flavor so feel free to leave it out if you don’t have any. You can also sub in soy milk for the almond milk if you prefer. I wouldn’t use vanilla though because it will add a weird sweetness that just sounds a bit gah!

Dude, these were some seriously large servings and I had tons leftover. I packaged them all up into plastic containers and tossed a few in the freezer. The flavor was pretty good but if you’re a cheese eater, the non-gooeyness is a dead giveaway. I embrace it like I do with all things non-dairy. Don’t pretend like it’s the real thing but accept it for what it is – a pretty good, low calorie dinner.

So vegans and dairy allergic people can now enjoy mac and cheese with the rest of the world. But tell me, how would you describe cheese to someone who’s never tried it?

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