Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

When it comes to this Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese recipe, it is by far more than a fork full of goodness! Super creamy, light, a crunchy crust, and loaded with flavor, this ‘Mac + Cheese” is made from gluten-free macaroni, savory seasonings, a bit of buffalo sauce, and cashews (the cream sauce). Completely vegan and gluten-free and perfect for your Thanksgiving menu.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

I’ve been creating so many recipes these past few days and I’m so excited to share everything with you! They are so good, ya’ll.

If you’ve been an avid follower of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you know that I’ve shared many vegan recipes on this blog. However, this year, I chose to highlight vegan recipes for the Thanksgiving Holiday since many of you have requested food ideas.

When it comes to vegan dishes, people often get overwhelmed with the idea of creating something tasty that doesn’t make them feel like they are missing out.

Truth is—-vegan dishes aren’t entirely hard to make. You just need to remain calm and let your creative juices flow.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

Of course, if you do find yourself stuck, then I’m here to help with my Vegan Archives section of the blog.

OK, so back to the recipe at hand. When it comes to Thanksgiving and sometimes even Sunday dinners, I’m so accustomed to having at least one dish of Baked mac + cheese. It’s just a thing.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

That’s why I wanted to create a vegan version (with a twist, of course) for the Holidays.

Honestly, this stuff is GOOD, ya’ll. This was my first time trying Buffalo mac + cheese (yes, it’s a real thing) and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is.

I’m sure that other recipes add a ton more buffalo sauce, but with this one, I wanted to keep things light, but good enough that you can still taste it.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

Previously, I’ve tried my hand at vegan mac + cheese with this Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe and I loved it.

It was around Labor Day and again, baked mac + cheese is a staple in many black families for holidays, celebrations, or just our weekly Sunday dinners.

With this recipe, the twist was that I chose to use cashews as my ‘sauce’ versus vegan cheese, which is rather interesting by the way (just my personal opinion!). When using vegan cheese (which is ever so often), I enjoy using Daiya Food’s non-dairy shreds. The great thing is that the shreds come in a variety of flavors–cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, and classic.

Personally, although I use the shreds in certain dishes, I’m just not a huge fan of the way they often melt. The texture is just weird for me, or of course I just need to get use to it. However, when I’m able to use an alternative, I’m generally happy! Haha.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

What You’ll Most About This Mac + Cheese:

SUPER, DUPER creamy filling.

Great fuse of buffalo and ‘cheese’ flavors.

All organic.

Vegan and Dairy-Free.

Gluten-Free.

Well seasoned.

Perfect as a side dish or main one.

So easy to make.

Sauce is made right in the blender.

Doesn’t require too many ingredients.

A definite crowd-pleaser.

Looking For Other Great Vegan Options for Thanksgiving?

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We’re discussing everything from Must-Have Vegan Ingredients to Specialty Ingredients to NEVER forget, Vegan Recipes for Thanksgiving, and MORE!

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

Need a Few Gluten-Free Recipe Ideas to Enjoy?

This Vegan Skillet Sweet Potato Casserole is the perfect way to enjoy the Holidays while remaining dairy-free, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened. Such a healthy alternative to a classic dish.

These Fluffy Vegan Quinoa Pancakes + Cranberry are the best thing that you’ll ever encounter for breakfast. In true Fall/Holiday fashion, these vegan pancakes come loaded with nutritious quinoa and topped with a sweet, tart cranberry sauce that adds a beautiful tasty combo.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

This Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe is the warmth of great flavors and succulent taste of nuttiness from the topped roasted chickpeas which is beautifully paired with a creamy base that makes this bowl of goodness completely irresistible.

When it comes to this Vegan Sweet Potato Pie, it is smooth, velvety, naturally sweetened, full of sweet potato flavor and is housed with a buttery, flaky crust. This recipe is sure to please the crowd during the Holiday season, one slice and bite at a time. Made in a blender, super easy to make, gluten-free option available.

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

Now, let’s dig right into this recipe.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add macaroni pasta and cook according to packaging. Once cooked, drain, and lightly toss in olive oil (to prevent sticking together), cool and set aside.

In a small bowl, add melted butter, basil, and thyme and breadcrumbs, tossing them together and set aside.

To Make Buffalo ‘Cheese’ Sauce:

Add all ingredients (cashews at the bottom!) to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

In a large dutch pot on medium-high heat, add butter and let it melt. Once melted, add minced garlic sauté for a minute or so, until fragrant.

Add in the buffalo cheese sauce and let it begin to boil before turning the heat down slightly. Continue to stir until sauce has thickened. If not thick enough, add more of the arrowroot starch mixture (1 Tbsp arrowroot + 3 Tbsps WARM water mixed together in a bowl).

Once thickened, remove from heat.

Assembly:

Add cooled macaroni to a well greased large baking dish and then pour sauce over everything, covering all the macaroni.

Generously, sprinkle breadcrumb mixture atop macaroni, sprinkle with dried parsley, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until everything is baked through and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool a bit before slicing and serving.

Bon Appetit!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you choose to make this Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese recipe or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love!

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese
Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese

Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese 

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
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Ingredients

  • 2 (12 oz.) boxes Gluten-free Macaroni pasta (I use Jovial)
  • 1 cup Gluten-free breadcrumbs, store-bought or homemade (See Notes!)
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted + 1 Tbsp (for cooking) (I use Earth's Balance)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Buffalo 'Cheese' Sauce:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked (See Notes!)
  • 2 1/2 cups Almond milk, unsweetened (You can use your fave plant-based milk)
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsps arrowroot starch (See Notes!)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast + 2 Tbsps
  • 3 Tbsps Vegan + GF Buffalo sauce (See Notes!)

Garnish:

  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add macaroni pasta and cook according to packaging. Once cooked, drain, and lightly toss in olive oil (to prevent sticking together), cool and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, add melted butter, breadcrumbs, basil, and thyme, tossing them together and set aside.

To Make Buffalo 'Cheese' Sauce:

  • Add all ingredients (cashews at the bottom!) to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • In a large dutch pot on medium-high heat, add butter and let it melt. Once melted, add minced garlic sauté for a minute or so, until fragrant.
  • Add in the buffalo cheese sauce and let it begin to boil before turning the heat down slightly. Continue to stir until sauce has thickened. If not thick enough, add more of the arrowroot starch mixture (1 Tbsp arrowroot + 3 Tbsps WARM water mixed together in a bowl).
  • Once thickened, remove from heat.

Assembly:

  • Add cooled macaroni to a well greased large baking dish and then pour sauce over everything, covering all the macaroni.
  • Generously, sprinkle breadcrumb mixture atop macaroni, sprinkle with dried parsley, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until everything is baked through and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool a bit before slicing and serving.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed gluten-free bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container. 
SOAKED CASHEWS: To best soak cashews, add 1 cup of cashews to a bowl or measuring cup and cover with cold water, sealing the top with plastic wrap and leaving it out (at room temp.) overnight. When ready to use, drain and rinse. For same day: Add cashews to a bowl or measuring cup and cover with boiling water, sealing the top and leaving it for 15-30 minutes. Drain, rinse, and continue recipe.
ARROWROOT: If you don’t have arrowroot starch, feel free to substitute with regular starch or all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, which all act as a thickening agent.
 
HOMEMADE BUFFALO SAUCE (VEGAN + GF): To make your own buffalo sauce, Veganosity has a great recipe that is super easy!
 
STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated when ready to serve.
 
 
 

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Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese.

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  1. We found this dish to be very tasty! One of the best vegan mac & cheese recipes I’ve made. Next time I might reduce the amount of pasta to make it a tad more saucier; just my personal preference.

    • Hi Ann, I’m so happy that you enjoyed this recipe! Yes, definitely using less pasta should do the trick! Thanks so much for trying my recipe! 🙂

  2. This recipe is legit!!!! I subbed in steamed cauliflower since im allergic to cashews but it was still amazing. Served 10 people and everyone loved it. Even non gluten free and vegan crowd. I highly recommend!!!!

    • Hi Mandy! OMG! I’m so happy to hear that everyone enjoyed this! Definitely one of my faves! 🙂

  3. I can’t believe how creamy this mac and cheese was. I made it because we had vegan guests for dinner, but as it turns out, everyone ate it and loved!! Will be making it again for sure.

    • Hi Aline! Yes, it really is so delicious! I’m so happy that you loved it and everything turned out great! 🙂