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Baked Vegan Buffalo Mac + Cheese
5 from 10 votes
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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.

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword baked, cashews, cheese, classic, dairy-free, dinner, easy, fall recipe, food, gluten-free, healthy, holiday, holidays, indulge, mac + cheese, plant-based, recipe, savory, southern, traditional, vegan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Creator Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Must-Haves:

  • 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:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. 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.

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

To Make Buffalo 'Cheese' Sauce:

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. Once thickened, remove from heat.

Assembly:

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

  2. 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.

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

  4. Bon Appetit!

Tips | Notes:

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.