Vegan Mac & Cheese


Prep Time: 10 mins   |   Cook Time: 20 min   |   Total Time: 30 min
Serves 6
Recipe adapted from original author: Melissa Huggins


  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 8-12 hours or overnight
  • 16 ounces dried elbow macaroni, gluten-free or regular
  • 1 cup potato, peeled & chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons himalayan salt (or preferred salt), more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, more if preferred
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch *See note
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , more to taste
  • 2 med/large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter


  1. Place macaroni, potatoes, and carrots in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente & according to package directions (about 9-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Drain & rinse cashews and discard water. Now place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (except garlic & butter). Blend until potatoes, carrots & cashews have completely broken down & sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat up butter in large pan over medium heat. When melted, add garlic & sauté for 1-2 minutes, until lightly brown (be careful not to burn).
  4. Pour in cheese sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes, until sauce thickens up and becomes slightly stretchy. Stir often to prevent burning. If it's too thick, add a small amount of broth & stir. Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed.
  5. Now add pasta and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


VEGETABLE BROTH: I like to use low sodium broth, so I can control the salt taste. Some broths are too salty and can ruin a good recipe. If you would like to use a regular broth, make sure to cut down the added salt in the recipe. Taste as you go along. Another option, is to blend low sodium and regular broth together.

THINNER CHEESE SAUCE: use only 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch, or omit it altogether. The sauce will still be rich and creamy. Tapioca starch provides extra thickness and a slight "cheesy" stretch. 

GRAINY CHEESE?: if it comes out a bit grainy, you may need to blend longer. If it's still grainy, your blender may not be strong enough to pulverize the cashews completely smooth. If you think your blender might not be strong enough, soak the cashews for 12 hours to make them easier to blend.

* If you'd like to add another layer of flavor to the sauce, you can try 1/2-1 teaspoon of miso paste or dijon mustard. Blend it up with the cheese sauce. 

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