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Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Nut-Free)

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Diet: Vegan


This creamy, cheesy, cozy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is the perfect quick and easy vegan dinner option (especially for fall and winter!). It’s absolutely delicious, but it’s low fat and packed with vitamin A and other micronutrients, but no one will notice because it’s so good!


Units Scale
  • 16 ounces dry pasta of choice (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 16 ounces silken tofu (see note 1 for substitutions)
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • Juice of a smallish lemon, about 2-3 tablespoons juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (see note 2 for substitutions)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons minced, or use around 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste


  1. Cook pasta: Start by cooking your pasta according to package directions. Many people salt their pasta water. If you do that, I recommend first bring the pot of water to a boil, then add the salt and stir so it dissolves easily. The bubbles will slow at the introduction of something room temperature, so then return it to a boil before adding the pasta.
  2. Make cheese sauce: While the pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce by combining the silken tofu, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, garlic, spices, and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust any seasonings if necessary.
  3. Drain your pasta and leave it in the colander for a moment.
  4. Heat sauce: Add the sauce to your empty pasta pot and heat the pan over medium low. Stir the sauce for a few minutes until it’s warmed through. Add the pasta back and stir to combine. Season with fresh cracked pepper if desired, and serve immediately.
  5. Store: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days in an airtight container.


  • Note 1: Instead of silken tofu, you can use any other type of tofu (except super/extra firm). Just blend it until smooth--you may need to add a little unsweetened non-dairy milk to get it to blend. If you want to avoid soy altogether, try using soaked raw cashews, sunflower seeds, or white beans. With those options, you will need unsweetened non-dairy milk or water to get the sauce to blend.
  • Note 2: Nutritional yeast helps with our cheesy factor but you can omit if you prefer. Try adding a pinch of onion powder if you omit this.
  • Note 3: Why no cashews? I like to make vegan mac and cheese without cashews for a few reasons. Cashews are very expensive, a lot of people are both vegan AND allergic to nuts so they can’t even have cashews, I feel cashews are a little on the sweet side, and also I just feel they’re really overused in vegan recipes. I like silken tofu because it lowers the fat content, it’s very easy to blend (great if you don’t have a high powered blender), it’s inexpensive, and it makes a recipe creamy without making it heavy. 
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Cheese, Ingredient, Entree
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: Vegan Cheese

Keywords: Vegan, Plant-based, Cheese, Cheeze, Oilfree, Gluten-free, Vegan Cheese