This Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese is so simple that you’ll want to make it all the time, and so delicious that you’ll have to!
If you were a child of the 90s, I feel like Mac and Cheese was a staple in your diet. I vividly remember mixing that neon orange powder into my soupy, noisy pasta, trying to get every last little clump of dry dust (because a mouthful of that was absolutely the worst). Nowadays, I try to avoid boxed processed foods, and I definitely avoid dairy, no ifs, ands. or buts.
No one ever said anything about avoiding Mac and Cheese, though.
Here’s the hard part where I now have to convince you that this Vegan Mac and Cheese is the best. You see, there are about a million and two cheezy pasta recipes out there on the internet, each touting the same thing. There’s the cashew mac, the potato mac, the fat-free mac, the junk food mac…. You name it, it’s probably floating out there somewhere in cyberspace.
I’m actually a very humble person, but let me say this: I’m pretty sure I hit the nail on the freakin’ head with this one. Forget best of both worlds, this Mac is the best of all worlds. It’s thick, luscious, creamy but low(er) in fat, and nut free! So you don’t have to waste all your money on cashews and can share it with your friends with allergies. Oh, and I think it tastes pretty darn cheesy, too.
Not only is this mac and cheese AMAZING, but it’s affordable too! I actually posted a variation of this recipe in one of my budget-friendly Youtube recipe videos. However, this time it has an upgrade…because now it’s (1) baked, and (2) has a delicious, gluten-free crumb topping.
Let’s talk about that for a second, shall we?
Who knew that blending up sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt would create such a magical taste, man. So. Gooooood. If you follow the recipe, you’ll have some leftover crumble – but this is a good thing, in my opinion. Either sprinkle some extra on your pasta dish after you serve it, or save it for a later use! I think it would also be great as a vegan parmesan.
Some Final Notes:
- This recipe is easily made gluten free by using GF pasta, but if you can tolerate gluten, feel free to use any pasta that you desire. Just for the record, I used Banza for my dish (it’s made from chickpeas! how cool) and it came out great
- If you are feeling lazy, you don’t have to bake this recipe — you can easily just make the cheese sauce, pour it over your cooked pasta, ét voilá! However, you are really missing out if you don’t make the crumb topping…just sayin’
- While you may ask for a sub for the tahini in this recipe, I don’t think that there is one. You can try to sub with another neutral “butter” like cashew or sunflower seed, but the tahini really contributes to the “cheddary” flavor
- This recipe is best eaten fresh right out of the oven and will dry out with time. You could make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to one week, but I wouldn’t bake the pasta in advance.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram using @frommybowl + #frommybowl! I love to see your beautiful creations…and wish I was eating them with you instead of drooling over my screen 😉
Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free, Nut Free)
This Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese is so simple you'll want to make it all the time, and so delicious you'll have to!
- 8 oz Pasta of Choice* (I used Chickpea Pasta)
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 1 cup Russet Potato, peeled and diced into 1" cubes (about 1 medium)
- 1/2 cup Carrots, chopped into 1/2" pieces (about 1 medium)
- 3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Plant-Based Milk (Almond, Cashew, or Hemp recommended)
- 1 tbsp Tahini
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt, plus more to taste
For the Crumb Topping:
- 1/3 cup Sunflower Seeds
- 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- Pinch of Salt
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil while you peel and chop your potatoes and carrots. Place the chopped veggies into the boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the carrots are easily pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, prepare your crumb topping. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well-combined, then set aside in a small bowl.
Drain your potatoes and carrots, then set aside. Briefly rinse out the pot, then re-fill with water and bring to a boil again.
Add in your pasta of choice and cook according to package instructions. As you will be cooking the pasta again in the oven, I would recommend cooking it for the minimum amount of time, so it is al dente.
Preheat your oven to 375F, then prepare your sauce. Combine the steamed potatoes and carrots with the rest of the remaining ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend for 1-2 minutes, until it is a thick velvety texture and no chunks remain. Add extra salt to taste, if desired.
Drain your pasta, but do not rinse it. Return it to the pot and pour the cheese sauce over it, stirring to combine it well.
Spread the pasta-cheese mixture evenly into either an 8x8" or pie pan, then cover with a generous sprinkle of the crumb mixture.
Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, then broil on HI for 2-5 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crispy. Be sure to watch carefully so it doesn't burn!
Carefully remove from the oven and serve immediately, topping with more crumb topping as desired.
* If you are gluten-free, be sure to use certified GF pasta. I use Banza and would highly recommend it!
If you want to save this recipe for later, you can Pin It using the image below: