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Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole — That’s Actually Healthy!

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5 from 10 votes
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I’ve been making this vegan baked mac and cheese for years, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it with you. It has been my go-to recipe for when I feel like eating a cozy dinner on the couch watching a movie. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

I really love this vegan mac because the flavors of the onion and garlic really come through, and I love the flavor! The cheese sauce is made from a base of cashews, veggies, spices, and nutritional yeast and it’s so, so good. So creamy and soothing!

You’ll just need a pot, a blender or food processor (or handheld mixer!) and easy to find ingredients. I mean, could this dish be any more pleasing? Take notes, print or bookmark and share it with your friends and family. The only things you’ll need to make this recipe are to cook, blend and serve. Nothing more! 

Why We Love This Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese

I have the feeling this recipe could become a staple in your household. It’s been known to delight everyone from kids to grown-ups, from vegans to omnivores, from picky eaters to food lovers. This is a universal easy recipe that I’m sure will save you tons of time thinking about what to make and actually preparing it. 

This vegan mac recipe is…

  • Vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based
  • Dairy-free
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Soy-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Easy to make gluten-free (by using gluten-free pasta)
  • Kid-approved and omnivore-approved
  • Healthy
  • Totally delicious!

Healthy Vegan Comfort Food

There’s something about mac and cheese that just hits the right spot. It has been a favorite childhood dish for many, and it is true comfort food. 

Do you remember those packaged mac and cheese boxes we use to eat as kids? They were so full of nasties, even though they tasted like heaven to us. Well, with this recipe you will have the same fantastic flavor but using the healthiest of ingredients. Can you imagine having your go-to comfort food and packing the veggies at the same time? I got you covered! This recipe is easy, quick, healthy and filling! Perfection! 

healthy vegan mac and cheese recipe

Mac and Cheese Add-Ons! 

Ok, I am sure you will adore this recipe. Apart from its amazing flavor, one of the best parts about it is its simplicity. This simplicity allows it to be easily modified and, sometimes, improved. You could add…

  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Jalapeno
  • Roasted corn
  • Vegan bacon
  • Vegan ground beef (for a hamburger-helper-style experience)
  • Sliced vegan chicken nuggets or veggie hotdogs
  • Soyrizzo
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Crushed potato chips
  • Buffalo sauce or Sriracha

Let’s come up with a few variations, shall we?

Ok, one uber simple thing we can do is add some frozen peas and some shredded kale to the pasta pot before it’s fully cooked. It would add some more healthy veggies and some sweetness. Eating mac and cheese and eating your greens at the same time? Absolutely! 

What about adding some butternut squash to the sauce before blending? So good, right? A perfect add on for fall (or any time of the year really!) just bake the pumpkin and add one cup of it to the blender before pulsing. It will be creamier and way sweeter! So many choices to choose from! Obviously, you could add some vegan parm on top after serving, but that wouldn’t add any new flavor different to the recipe. 

To Bake or Not to Bake? 

I can tell you right now, you’ll absolutely want to devour this mac and cheese and soon as you stir that cheese sauce in! And you’re welcome to do so. It’s delicious un-baked, but baking this mac gives it that extra vegan casserole style wow-factor. You can turn this simple vegan mac and cheese into a full-blown Sunday family affair when you bake it. 

Just pop it in a baking dish, add a mix of 1 cup of bread crumbs, your spices of choice and if you want, ½ cup of nutritional yeast or our chipotle vegan parmesan on top. Bake in a 350 degrees oven and cook for about 20 minutes (take a peek every now and then in case the top gets too brown!) And…ready!

Serve Your Mac in Ramekins For a Vegan Dinner Party Twist!

A cute idea would be to place the mac and cheese in individual ramekins and bake them as single portions. Place them in a lovely rustic ceramic dish with a pretty neutral napkin for an informal dinner party. So cute! Or use the ramekins for a kids lunch and place some sneaky broccoli on the side. Surely it will make the veggies look more attractive!

This baked dish would be perfect for meal prep! Bake it on a Sunday and divide into portions for the week ahead. Or you could even freeze it to eat in a hurry on a busy day. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I always say I would dream of someone stocking my freezer with healthy yummy vegan meals to be eaten whenever I am felling kitchen lazy! This might not be the same, but it’s kind of close, isn’t it? 

It’s All About the Color!

Can we all agree on something? Mac and cheese has to be a specific color! Am I right? Not too orange, not too yellow. It’s hard to explain, but I’m sure we would notice if the color is not right. 

This recipe has that perfect color all thanks to the turmeric! This little Indian ochre spice is so healthy and wonderful. Apart from many incredible health benefits, turmeric has a strong tint that gives food (and clothing!) a beautiful golden color. Beware, it stains a lot, but it’s so worth it!

Healthy Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese

Author: Michelle Cehn | World of Vegan
5 from 10 votes
You won't believe your taste buds when you try this baked vegan mac and cheese. The cheese sauce thickens up like magic on the stove to create this flavorful, goey cheese that I dare say is better than dairy-based mac. You simply MUST give it a try!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta, macaroni or your favorite shape
  • cup of raw cashews
  • ½ of a yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • ¼ cups of nutritional yeast
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, for color
  • 4 shakes of turmeric, for color
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • chives for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
  • In a high-powered blender add all ingredients (except pasta) and blend on high until you have a liquid with no remaining chunks.
  • Pour into a pot over medium-low heat and allow to simmer, stirring consistently with a whisk until it thickens and peaks begin to form when you pull the whisk out of the sauce. Note that the cheese sauce will continue to thicken further as it cools.
  • Pour vegan cheese sauce over cooked pasta and mix well. For a more flavorful mac, serve immediately sprinkled with chopped chives. If you prefer a more mild flavor, bake the mac in the oven at 350 degrees before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Will you be baking your mac and cheese? Consider mixing in chopped broccoli, diced jalapeño, spinach, or any other favorite add-ins, and sprinkling the top with breadcrumbs before baking.
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy, kids, mac and cheese, pasta, vegan, vegetarian

Looking for Some Daily Vegan Meal Inspo?

If you are constantly looking for inspiration when it comes to daily meals, then you will absolutely love my “What I Eat in a Day” videos! Here you will get see how I organize my day with easy and delicious vegan meals. Sometimes eating healthy (and budget-friendly!) can get a bit overwhelming, but you will realize that it doesn’t have to be if you dedicate a little time to do some planning ahead. 

It only takes 10 minutes of your week to schedule your main meals for the upcoming week. Imagine, only 10 minutes of your 7 day week to dramatically improve your time management and (most importantly!) your mood! Let’s face it; if you are unprepared, you are more likely to turn to the junkier and faster foods which will make you feel sluggish and will make you feel bad about yourself. It’s incredible how impactful can your food choices be! 

This recipe was featured in my Fall What I Eat in a Day video that I filmed with my mom, Joan Cehn.

Hungry for More Vegan Pasta Recipes?

Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese Recipe and photos by Michelle Cehn, copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved. Article edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this article contains an affiliate link which helps support our work at World of Vegan.

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Recipe Rating




10 comments
  1. Rena Agno says:

    5 stars
    Mac and cheese is a staple for me and my kids so we had to let this go when I decided to start going vegan. My family can now eat vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free mac and cheese that’s healthy, delicious, and kids-approved!

  2. 5 stars
    I love Mac n Cheese, Im so glad theres a recipe created plant-based for it

  3. 5 stars
    I loveeee a good mac and cheese recipe!! Can’t wait to try out this goodness!

  4. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    Healthy Mac and Cheese is the best! My kids are crazy for this recipe and its a regular weekly dinner 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    OMG – the best!! I can’t believe that this recipe is actually healthy for you. It’s super creamy and the texture is perfect. The cashews really give the sauce the richness you look for with mac & cheese. My family loves it!

  6. 5 stars
    True comfort food and this mac and cheese is so easy and delicious. I love the addition of the crazy healthy turmeric and the fact that there is no oil or fat and yet it tastes so rich and creamy. Yum…any time!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this vegan mac and cheese for YEARS and I’m obsessed!! I love that you don’t need any butter. Magic.

  8. 5 stars
    Love this easy mac! 4-steps? Yes, please! This is great to make when you’re too tired to run out to get special ingredients for a recipe. This is all stuff you’ll have lying around, and it’s super tasty!

  9. 5 stars
    Mac ‘n’ cheese is one of my main go-tos and this is such a lovely recipe to enjoy any time. I’m too impatient to bake my mac, though!