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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Mac + Cheese
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5 from 2 votes

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!
Course Main Course
Keyword cajun, cashews, classic, creamy, dairy-free, dinner, easy, fall recipe, food, gluten-free, healthy, healthy bowl, indulge, lunch, mac + cheese, pasta, plant-based, pumpkin, recipe, savory, spices, thanksgiving, traditional, vegan, weeknight meals
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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!

Notes

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.