The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

I’m participating in the 2020 Juneteenth Cookout Takeover. This initiative was established to encourage the celebration of Juneteenth – a jubilee of freedom to commemorate the end of slavery – and to amplify the food traditions of black culinary creatives. 

What is Juneteenth Exactly?

Whelp, Juneteenth (a merge of the words/date June Nineteenth) marks the date in 1865 that the last enslaved people learned of their freedom. 

And for over 150 years since, Black American families, home-cooks, chefs, and culinarians have commemorated the summer holiday with a wide range of food traditions that tell a story of the perseverance of a people. In Celebration, I’ve revamped this Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe and I’m sharing a list of other delicious, flavorful dishes that can be found below! 

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

When it comes to this Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe, it is by far more than a fork full of goodness! Super creamy, ‘cheesy’, and loaded with flavor, this ‘Mac + Cheese” is made from gluten-free macaroni, savory seasonings, nutritional yeast, and cashews soaked overnight (which makes the cream cheese base).

A beautiful twist on a classic dish that it sure to be a staple in your household. Completely vegan and gluten-free.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

Now, if you’ve been an avid follower of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you’ll know that I’m a Southern girl at heart who LOVES flavor! So, of course Mac + Cheese is on my top favorites list.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

Growing up, I use to love this stuff. I mean, eating an entire bowl of Mac + Cheese was nothing for me. Plus, in the South, this stuff is almost always prepared during every cookout, gathering, or occasion, so how could I not be obsessed, right?

Whelp, I must say that making a vegan version was by far AMAZING!

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

Now, the twist is that I chose to use cashews as my ‘sauce’ versus vegan cheese, which is rather interesting by the way.

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.

Need Other Delicious Vegan Food Ideas for the Summer?

These Loaded Vegan Queso Skillet Nachos are the best you’ll ever taste! This recipe comes loaded with chickpeas, red kidney beans, onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, and a delicious vegan cashew-based queso over crispy organic tortilla chips. 

This One Pot Creamy Vegan Tuscan Kale Pasta recipe is a delicious weeknight meal option for the entire family. Packed with bold, savory flavors, this recipe is the perfect vegan and dairy-free option that is made with a creamy based made from cashews and filled with a nice velvety texture from the kale and tomatoes. 

These Healthy Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are the epitome of a delicious savory meal. These Vegan + GF stuffed sweet potatoes are tender, perfectly filled with roasted cajun chickpeas, kale, and topped with yogurt. Best enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This Easy Vegan Broccoli Alfredo Pasta is the perfect easy weekday meal or perhaps something simple for a laid-back weekend. Based with a creamy, flavorful Alfredo sauce made from cauliflower and cashews; and tossed with delicious broccoli. Completely dairy-free and vegan. Made in just 25 minutes!

And don’t worry—You can always check out our Vegan Lunch/Dinner archives for a ton of other awesome flavors! We got you covered.

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

Now, let’s dig right into this recipe.

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

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

Slowly add non-dairy milk, whisking frequently. Once mixture becomes thick, add ‘cream cheese’, whisking frequently again. Add nutritional yeast, ground mustard, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, lemon juice, and smoked paprika. Continue to whisk sauce until well combined.

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

Garnish with diced fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes (optional) and enjoy!

Bon Appetite!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you choose to make this Ultimate Vegan 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!

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. chickpeas macaroni shells
  • 1 3/4 cups Almond milk (Or your favorite non-dairy milk!)
  • 2 Tbsps vegan butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegan 'cream cheese' (See Notes for Recipe!)
  • 2 Tbsps nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp juice of a lemon
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • red pepper flakes, garnish

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chickpeas pasta and cook according to packaging. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium-high heat and add garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Next, add all-purpose flour and whisk until well incorporated and bubbly.
  • Slowly add non-dairy milk, whisking frequently. Once mixture becomes thick, add 'cream cheese', whisking frequently again. Add nutritional yeast, ground mustard, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, lemon juice, and smoked paprika. Continue to whisk sauce until well combined.
  • Once fully combined, add drained pasta and toss in sauce carefully.
  • Garnish with diced fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes (optional) and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetite!

Tips & Tricks

For Vegan Cream Cheese (Made from Cashews): 
  • 1 1/2 cups plain cashew nuts, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tbsp juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
Directions: Drain the cashews, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, and sea salt and add them to a 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. Once done, remove and store in container until ready to use. Sprinkle rosemary on top if desired.
Can be refrigerated for up to three days.

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

2020 JUNETEENTH COOKOUT TAKEOVER RECIPES:

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN RECIPES:

Beautiful Eats & Things | Spiced Grilled Peaches

Brownbelle | Watermelon Hibiscus Whiskey Smash

Chenée Today | Lemon Icebox Pie

Dash of Jazz | Golden Pineapple Pound Cake

DMR Fine Foods | Blackberry Ginger Soda

Erique Berry Co | Three Green Summer Salad

Ethically Living | Vegan Jackfruit Jamaican Patties

FoodLoveTog | Braised Cabbage & Johnny cakes

Gristle & Gossip | Sweet Potato Honey Cornbread Cake

Maple Points | Peas & Rice – Guyanese Style

Marisa Moore Nutrition | Fresh Peach Iced Tea

Meiko and the Dish | Strawberry Cornbread Skillet Cobbler

Murielle Banackissa | Vegan Saka Saka (Congolese Cassava Leaf & Spinach Stew)

Open Invitation Entertainment | Coconut Collard Greens

Our Perfect Palette | Jollof Rice

Pink Owl Kitchen | Strawberry Buttermilk Biscuits

Savor and Sage | Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Sweet Savant | Black Eyed Peas and Sweet Potato Salad

That Green Lyfe | Vegan Red Red Stew (Spicy Ghanaian Black-Eyed Peas) and Plantain

The Dana Renee Way | Sweet Potato Cornbread

The Vgn Way | Juneteenth Hibiscus Strawberry Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan With Curves | Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Soup

Whisk it Real Gud | Southern Sweet Potato Pie

 

VEGAN RECIPES:

Beautiful Eats & Things | Spiced Grilled Peaches

Ethically Living | Vegan Jackfruit Jamaican Patties

FoodLoveTog | Braised Cabbage & Johnny cakes

Gristle & Gossip | Sweet Potato Honey Cornbread Cake

Maple Points | Peas & Rice – Guyanese Style

Marisa Moore Nutrition | Fresh Peach Iced Tea

Murielle Banackissa | Vegan Saka Saka (Congolese Cassava Leaf & Spinach Stew)

Open Invitation Entertainment | Coconut Collard Greens

Savor and Sage | Black-Eyed Pea Salad

That Green Lyfe | Vegan Red Red Stew (Spicy Ghanaian Black-Eyed Peas) and Plantain

The Vgn Way | Juneteenth Hibiscus Strawberry Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan With Curves | Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Soup


GLUTEN-FREE, KETO, PALEO, WHOLE 30 RECIPES:

A Girl Called Adri | Blackened Catfish

Chef and Steward | Watermelon and Feta Salad

Collards Are The Old Kale | Guaymas Shrimp

Confessions of a clean foodie | Mint Peach Spritzer

Heal Me Delicious | Trinidadian Callaloo

Sweet & Sorrel | Baked Jerk Chicken

The Hangry Woman | Jamaican Jerk Wings

This African Cooks | Ghanaian kebabs Whole30 style

 

The Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. This looks delicious. I’ve been looking for a vegan mac and cheese recipe that didn’t call for vegan cheese. Thanks for this one!

    • You’re super welcome! I’m not a HUGE fan of the vegan cheese either, so when I can–I use cashews as a great alternative. I hope that you enjoy this one!

    • Thanks so much, Katrina! You’ll definitely enjoy this one, even if you aren’t a vegan. I do hope that you get a chance to try it!

  2. THIS is my kind of recipe. I love everything about it, I haven’t used my nutritional yeast in over 6 months, stuck for recipes but will try this for sure.

    • Yes, this recipe is definitely amazing, especially because of the nutritional yeast! I haven’t fully utilized mine as well, but I’m starting to incorporate it more.

    • I’m sure your friends will love you! Haha! Be sure to let me know how it turns out and how they love it, Valentina! 🙂

  3. I would SO love to dig into a big bowl of this right now-yum! It’s my daughter’s 17th b-day this weekend, and she has requested my homemade mac and cheese which has loads of butter and cheese-she might not want this version for her bday, but for sure I will try making it ASAP. Yum!!!

    • Yes, this vegan Mac + Cheese is really really good! I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it for sure! Be sure to let me know how it turns out! And Happy Birthday to your daughter when it comes! 🙂

  4. This sounds like the perfect dish for my family! I make a cashew alfredo that they all love so I bet this recipe with the cashews for the cream cheese as well as the nutritional yeast will be perfectly “cheesy” and creamy. Thanks for sharing this great alternative! I love your other healthier option recipes as well so just signed up for emails and will definitely be following you on Instagram. 🙂

    • Wow, thanks so much Sally! I definitely love using cashews and now that I’ve experimented with nutritional yeast, it’s my new favorite as well. I do hope that you continue to enjoy my recipes and I’m sure that your family will love this one! My family sure did! 🙂

  5. Hey there, Ms. Shanika! I just love your blog!!! Your Vegan recipes for Southern food are amazing. You are my favorite place to look for Vegan recipes anymore!!

    • Hi Heidy! Wow! That means so much! I’m so happy that you find my vegan recipes to be so helpful and tasteful! I do hope that you get a chance to try out some of them! 🙂

  6. I’m always amazed by how fabulous cashews can be as cheese! So much more delicious than vegan cheese. This dish looks absolutely delicious (and that’s coming from a non-vegan!).

    • Thanks so much, Sues! I really love using cashews instead also! I’m not a huge fan of vegan cheese yet, although I use it rarely, but using cashews has definitely been my new favorite!