Get your cozy on the right way and whip up this creamy vegan mac and cheese recipe at home!
Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that’s hard to resist. You can still get the same warming feelings from a homemade bowl of mac and cheese as you can from a box. Plus, it’s much healthier and tastier.
This vegan recipe uses potatoes and carrots to create a creamy, smooth sauce that’s dairy-free and soy-free. Serve this up to kids and they will have no clue they are eating veggies.
The Trick is in the (Vegan) Cheese Sauce
Many vegan mac and cheese recipes use margarine or cashews to create a cheesy sauce. But our recipe uses budget-friendly and wholesome potatoes, carrots, and nutritional yeast instead.
Once potatoes are boiled and blended, they create a thick and creamy texture. Carrots add the slightest sweetness that balances perfectly with the seasonings.
Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor and color boost. It’s also rich in vitamin B12 which can be necessary on a vegan diet. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk bins of health food stores or online. You can also use your newly purchased nutritional yeast on popcorn, vegetables, and pasta so don’t worry about not finding more uses for it, it’s about as versatile an ingredient as salt. (Almost!)
By forgoing dairy in favor of potatoes and carrots, you’re reaping health benefits you wouldn’t otherwise receive with an ordinary bowl of macaroni and cheese.
Carrots are chock full of beta-carotene which gives it a vibrant hue and vitamin enrichment. Beta-carotene gets converted into vitamin A by the body which helps to maintain healthful skin, eyes, and immune system. Carrots are also a great source of biotin, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin B3.
Potatoes often get a bad reputation due to the fact they are used in oily foods such as potato chips and french fries. But in their whole form, they actually boast many health benefits. Potatoes offer vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, and fiber.
Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe
Serving Size: 4
Total Time: 1 hour
16 oz elbow noodles
1 cup white potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup carrots, peeled and chopped
⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup organic sunflower oil
½ lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
Optional add-ins: green chiles, peas, or broccoli
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and carrots. Boil for ten minutes, or until fork tender. Do not exceed ten minutes cook time or the sauce will not come out right. Drain and let cool for five minutes.
- Bring a separate large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Add almond milk, sunflower oil, lemon, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, arrowroot, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt to a high-speed blender. Add cooled, cooked potatoes and carrots and then blend on low and gradually increase speed to high. Scrape down the sides if necessary and blend until completely smooth.
- Add noodles and sauce to the pot. Add in green chiles, if desired. Mix until noodles are completely coated in sauce. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
- For leftovers, store noodles and sauce in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Boost your bowl of vegan mac and cheese with these fun and flavorful add-ins:
For a spicier twist on traditional mac and cheese, try chopped green chiles. They’ll add a slight kick and amp up the flavor.
You can add green goodness to this recipe with peas or broccoli. This is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. They will hardly notice veggies since they will be smothered in tasty cheese sauce.
Simply add frozen peas to the boiling pasta water when four minutes cook time remain. For broccoli, add frozen florets when six minutes remain.
You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using brown rice noodles. Be sure to add the sauce only when you are ready to serve since brown rice noodles are very absorbent and dry out quickly. If this happens, add a splash of almond milk which will reconstitute it.
Also, if you don’t have a high-speed blender, don’t fret. You can make this recipe with a food processor as well. It just may not come out quite as smooth but it will be delicious nonetheless. Be sure to keep scraping down the sides to ensure it gets properly blended.
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Images via Karissa Bowers