Cheesy, creamy, and rich, this Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese will quickly become a family favorite. Perfect for both children and adults, you’ll keep coming back to this simple and easy vegan recipe.
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Hey Internet, I have a pasta recipe for you like no other today. There’s nothing like a big dish full of baked vegan mac and cheese.
I kind of already have a recipe for it, but it’s more like a baked white cheddar mac with mushroom bacon--it just kinda hits different, ya know?
Ok I’m too old to try and use that language. Moving on.
This recipe today, though, is just insane. Layers upon layers of rich gooey mac and cheese, topped with a crispy crust? You can’t beat it…
But you can eat it… There’s the dad jokes we all know and love/tolerate. You knew it was coming.
ANYWAY. I’m not sure how to describe this amazing stuff because it just screams comfort food. It’s rich, it’s gooey, it’s cheesy, it’s flavorful, and both kids and adults will love it.
It’s also nut-free, which a lot of vegan mac and cheeses are not. And, it doesn’t use store-bought vegan cheese (though you could add that if you’d like even more cheese, like cheese overload.
It's also kid-friendly, which is a big win for parents looking for a easy but delicious meal to serve the family. Check out my list of vegan kid-friendly recipes or my list of 50+ vegan snacks for kids!
Okay, I really feel like baked vegan mac and cheese is not something that I have to try and sell you on. Let’s dive in.
What You’ll Need
- Pasta: Short pasta is best for serving, but use whatcha like/whatcha got. Use gluten-free pasta to make this dish gluten-free. Feel free to use a bean or legume pasta for more protein.
- Sunflower seeds: Raw sunflower seeds are the perfect base for a creamy vegan cheese sauce. You’re perfectly welcome to use cashews, they’re great. But sunflower seeds are significantly cheaper and just as creamy and delicious. For a lower fat cheese sauce, consider using tofu (any except super firm), white beans, or some cornstarch to thicken it (I would cook it on the stove to thicken it in this case before pouring it into the pasta).
- Unsweetened non-dairy milk: Any will work. For a super luxurious vegan mac, I’d recommend canned coconut milk or full fat oat milk. But I just use soy or whatever from the carton for this and it’s fine. Feel free to use whatever non-dairy milk you like, just make sure it’s not vanilla or sweetened or anything like that.
- Lemon juice: Fresh is better (coming from a lemon snob), but bottled is fine.
- Nutritional yeast: Omit if preferred but it does really add to the cheesy flavor and is not at all the dominant flavor here.
- Fresh garlic: Again, fresh tastes better, but garlic powder is fine.
- Miso paste: Fine to substitute chickpea miso to avoid soy or just omit completely.
- Coconut sugar: Any sugar is fine, or omit if you prefer. I included it to round out the flavors.
- Dijon mustard: Substitute mustard powder if preferred, but adds to cheesy flavor (trust me).
- Spices: Spices including salt, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme (just a pinch), and black pepper add a lot to the flavor. Turmeric just helps make it yellow, so it’s optional.
- Tapioca starch: This helps bind the cheese sauce and thickens the vegan baked mac and cheese, but it’s optional. For a similar effect (but a little less so), try substituting cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Or you can omit for a somewhat thinner sauce.
- Panko or other bread crumbs: I’ve used Panko bread crumbs for a topping because it gets nice and crispy. Use gluten-free panko or rice crumbs for a gluten-free option, or you’re welcome to just top it with a little nutritional yeast. Alternatively, don’t top it with anything.
How to Make Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese
- Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta until al dente or lightly chewy (it will finish cooking in the oven). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
- While the pasta is cooking, blend up the sauce ingredients (everything except the panko) in the blender until smooth and creamy. Taste it and make sure you like it.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add it back to the pot.
- Add the sauce, mix well, and add to a deep baking dish. I used a square 9x9 baking dish for this.
- Use the back of your cooking implement to press the pasta in evenly, then sprinkle the panko (or whatever you’re using) on top.
- Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes or until the top has lightly browned.
- Serve hot, and enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
More Vegan Comfort Food
Comfort food is just what it’s called. Comfort. It’s delicious, it’s often warm, it’s often creamy or saucy, and in my house it’s often pasta. Here’s some of my favorite comfort food recipes.
- Spinach Noodle Kugel
- Vegan Swedish Meatballs
- Vegan Smoky Shepard’s Pie
- Lentil Mushroom Loaf
- Vegan Hamburger Helper
- (American) Vegan Goulash (essentially chili mac)
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Vegan Manicotti
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. One of my most made dishes, I think.
Yes, I’m over thirty and one of my favorite meals is still mac and cheese. I am not ashamed.
This vegan baked mac and cheese is:
- Cheesy (I’d hope)
- And oh so delicious!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!