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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Amazingly creamy and comforting, this Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese is flavored with homemade vegan cream cheese and Cajun seasoning that will leave you coming back for seconds!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Mac and cheese is loved by all, but not all can consume dairy. For an all-inclusive meal, try this amazing Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese made with gluten-free ingredients, pumpkin puree, homemade Cajun seasoning, and vegan cream cheese!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Mac and cheese is the definition of comfort in a bowl. Sometimes, you want to come home and enjoy a hot bowl of pasta on the couch in front of a rom-com. You wrap yourself in a blanket, you pour a mocktail, and you chill out. This Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese is for the vegans and gluten-free folks that also want to treat themselves in the same way.

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

This recipe is 100% vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. I like to use GF pasta and flour to make this recipe attainable for any diet. The pumpkin puree adds a beautiful yellow color, giving the mac and cheese a visual familiarity.

The taste is unlike any mac and cheese you’ve ever had; it is creamy, yet light. It is cheesy thanks to nutritional yeast and homemade vegan cream cheese mixed right in. Also, this dish is super flavorful thanks to homemade Cajun seasoning!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

The Secret to Creamy Vegan Mac + Cheese

This silky sauce is spectacular when paired with macaroni. The sauce is thick and rich thanks to homemade vegan cream cheese made with soaked raw cashews. It is seasoned with apple cider vinegar, lemon, and rosemary. The next step to the perfect vegan cheese sauce is to make a roux. I made a roux using vegan butter and GF flour before adding almond milk and the homemade vegan cream cheese.

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

These two sauce methods combine to make the perfect silky sauce. Cheesy flavor is added with a homemade Cajun spice mix and nutritional yeast. You can’t make a vegan cheese sauce without nutritional yeast! Pumpkin puree, ground mustard, and red pepper flakes add additional flavor and color to round out this incredible Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese.

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Can I Use This Sauce for Other Recipes?

YES! Feel free to use this creamy sauce for other vegan dishes that require a cheese sauce. You can also keep the vegan cream cheese in the fridge for gluten-free bagels.

Some vegan dishes you can use this sauce with are:

  • Nachos
  • Dip/crudite
  • Broccoli side dish
  • Baked potatoes
  • Charcuterie

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Ingredients in Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

  • a box gluten-free macaroni shells
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
  • 1 3/4 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup GF 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon juice of a lemon
  • red pepper flakes, garnish
    For the Homemade Cajun Seasoning:
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    For the Vegan Cream Cheese:
  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained, + rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

How to Make Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add macaroni and cook according to packaging. Once cooked, drain and set aside.

To Make Vegan Cream Cheese:

Add the cashews, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, and sea salt to a high-powered blender. Blend for about 1 minute on medium-high speed, until smooth, and it looks like a thick paste that resembles cream cheese.

**NOTE: If too thick, add a little warm water (1 tablespoon at a time), until desired consistency is formed.

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

In a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium-high heat and add garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Next, add flour and whisk until well incorporated and bubbly.

Slowly add Almond milk and pumpkin puree, whisking frequently. Once the mixture becomes thick, add 1 1/2 cups vegan cream cheese, whisking frequently again. Add nutritional yeast, ground mustard, cajun seasonings, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Continue to whisk the sauce until well combined.

Once fully combined, add drained pasta and toss in sauce carefully.

Garnish with red pepper flakes (optional) and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Other Recipes You’ll Love

My Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese is a smash hit, so if you like this one, you will love these recipes!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Serves: 6 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) box GF macaroni shells
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (Canned version; Not Pie Filling!)
  • 1 3/4 cups Almond milk  (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
  • 2 Tbsps vegan butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup GF 1-to-1 Baking Flour (You can sub with Arrowroot Starch as well!)
  • 2 Tbsps nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp juice of a lemon
  • red pepper flakes, garnish

Homemade Cajun Seasoning:

  • 2 Tbsps garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsps smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder

Vegan Cream Cheese:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained, + rinsed (See Notes!)
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil (See Notes!)
  • 1 Tbsp juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add macaroni and cook according to packaging. Once cooked, drain and set aside.

To Make Vegan Cream Cheese:

  • Add the cashews, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, and sea salt to a high-powdered blender. Blend for about 1 minute on medium-high speed, until smooth, and it looks like a thick paste that resembles cream cheese. **NOTE: If too thick, add a little warm water (1 Tbsp at a time), until desired consistency is formed.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium-high heat and add garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Next, add flour and whisk until well incorporated and bubbly.
  • Slowly add Almond milk and pumpkin puree, whisking frequently. Once mixture becomes thick, add 1 1/2 cups vegan cream cheese, whisking frequently again. Add nutritional yeast, ground mustard, cajun seasonings, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Continue to whisk sauce until well combined.
  • Once fully combined, add drained pasta and toss in sauce carefully.
  • Garnish with red pepper flakes (optional) and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetite!

Tips & Tricks

STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
CAJUN SEASONINGS: Any leftover cajun seasoning mix can be stored in a ziploc bag for later use or used as garnish.
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. If not able to soak overnight, simply cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes, drain, + rinse.
OIL: Instead of grapeseed oil, you can substitute with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.

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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese.

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  1. This was delicious!! So creamy, flavorful and filling with great balance. I normally just make vegan for my dairy allergy son (especially Mac and Cheese) but we all enjoyed it. Thanks for these easy vegan family meals!

    • Hi Jasmine! OMG—that’s such awesome news! I’m so glad that everyone enjoyed this! Definitely a staple in our house also! 🙂

  2. Thank you for your answer! I finally made this last night using arrowroot starch and it was perfectly thick and creamy. This dish was so delicious and even better the next day! I’ll definitely turn to this recipe whenever I need some winter comfort food. Also the vegan cream cheese is great on its own, will make extra next time to use as a spread! Thank you!!!

  3. Hello. I just discovered your website and this recipe looks delicious! I’d like to make it tomorrow but the inclusion of all purpose flour in this gluten free recipe confuses me. I assume you mean gluten free all purpose flour but I’m unsure if the blend needs to have any particular ingredients i.e. xanthan gum in order to work as a thickener. Or can I just use any old GF blend? Or arrowroot starch? Please advise!

    • Hi Ellen! Thanks so much! I do apologize for any confusion! It’s actually GF all-purpose flour or your can use Arrowroot starch! I do hope that you enjoy this recipe! Happy Holidays! 🙂