I am not vegan. I’m not even vegetarian. That is why you can trust me when I tell you that this is a truly delicious version of vegan mac & cheese. I love cheese and I especially love homemade macaroni and cheese. This does not taste just like the real deal but it is a great vegan substitute. I tend to make this by memory, tweaking it a bit each time I make it. I had to make this for dinner two weeks in a row to get the measurements and seasoning just right. It is my opinion that nutritional yeast is the key to making great vegan cheese. You can use this cheese sauce anytime you are looking for a vegan, melt-y, cheesy substitute. Think nachos, over steamed broccoli or on a baked potato (unless you are on the whiteout diet). I also like to serve this with some kind of veggie like garlic sauted spinach. The dark green of the spinach really looks great piled right on top of the mac & cheese.
Many other recipes I have seen for vegan mac & cheese call for fresh lemon juice. I have never tried that but I’ll bet it would give the dish a nice subtle tang. If you have made this dish with the lemon juice added please let me know in the comments how it works out.
Vegan Mac & Cheese
- 16 oz. whole wheat macaroni (shells or spirals are best but I used penne for this post)
- 1/4 c. butter substitute
- 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 c. slivered almonds or cashew pieces ground into nut butter*
- 1 1/2 c. plain soy milk (almond or rice milk would be fine)
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes
- 3/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne
- 1 tsp. paprika (or 1/2 sweet paprika and 1/2 hot paprika)
- 1/8 tsp. cumin
- 1/8 tsp. white pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
Start by making a roux over medium heat, with equal parts whole wheat pastry flour and your favorite butter substitute. Whisk in the soy milk and soy sauce. Whisk in the nutritional yeast. Keep whisking over medium heat until it’s a nice, even, smooth texture.
Reduce heat to low simmer and whisk in the spices. Add the nut butter. Feel free to add a dash or two more of the paprika or turmeric to get the color right. My “cheese” sauce is the consistency of a thick cake batter, add more soy milk to get the consistency to your liking.
Combine sauce with the macaroni while both are still hot. I find that if I start heating the pasta water and making the rue at the same time that both the sauce and pasta are ready at about the same time. Serve immediately.
*I like to use half almonds and half cashews.