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The Creamiest Vegan Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free)

Think you can’t make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that’s as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It’s healthy, and yet this gluten free mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too! 

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

UPDATE: This post was originally published in October 2017.

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.

I know. Cheese is life. There are few things more delicious than a cheesy, creamy pasta…but what if I told you that you could still have your mac and cheese but without the tummy-turning dairy or the chemicals found in boxed varieties?!?!

And not only can you still have it, but you can LOVE it. Like seriously love it. Like not even miss the cheese, love it!

It’s true. Thanks to a few savvy swaps, you can make this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe without any dairy and still wind up with a creamy treat!

Read on to see how I did it!

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

How to Make Vegan Mac and Cheese

Alright, it starts with flavor. You’ve got onions and garlic and red pepper flakes.

Then you need to add something creamy. Cashews: check!

Then you need to add bulk: Butternut Squash and Cauliflower to the rescue.

Then you need to add color: Turmeric has your back.

And finally, you need that umami flavor that traditional cheese provides: Let me introduce you to nutritional yeast.

Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor and is a significant source of B vitamins.

Cook everything up in a big pot and then blend it all together with some vegetable broth and you’ll be amazed and how similar in texture and flavor this creamy sauce tastes, looks and feels like the real thing.

I highly recommend a Vitamix for blending this mixture (buy it direct here or on Amazon here)–it will make it so smooth and creamy, no chunks, easy clean up, and the blender is so versatile–I also use it for smoothies, soups, sauces, homemade nut butters and nut milks, and frozen cocktails 😉

I got theVitamix A3500 last year and am so in love!

RELATED:  25 Cruelty-Free Brands + Products That Actually Work!

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

I will say this though–this vegan mac and cheese is not identical to traditional mac and cheese.

And if you’re not a vegan, throwing a bit of actual cheese into the mix wouldn’t be the worst thing.

But if you are vegan, or if you don’t tolerate cheese well, you don’t need to. This is a delicious, creamy pasta and it tastes amazing all on its own.

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

And the fact that this Vegan Mac and Cheese isn’t identical to the real thing is actually a good thing. Here’s why: full of fiber, protein and healthy fats, this vegan mac and cheese recipe is as delicious as it is nutritious. It’s such an easy way to sneak more veggies onto your plate!

The B Vitamins here are out of control–over 130% of your recommended daily value–plus it’s chockfull of Vitamin C, Magnesium and Vitamin K.  Goodbye bloated tummy ache from dairy-laden mac and cheese. Hello energy boost, improved immunity, balanced hormones, better moods and sleep.

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Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

If you usually go for the boxed mac and cheese, you’re really doing some amazing things for your health by making this recipe instead.

Full of excess sodium and saturated fat, and loaded with highly processed, toxic chemicals like DATEM, artificial colors, MSG and inflammatory oils, boxed mac and cheese might just be one of the most unhealthy meals on the market.

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

Not to mention this vegan mac and cheese recipe is also gluten-free.

Instead of white pasta noodles laden with gluten and refined flour, I opt for gluten-free pasta made from nutritious whole grains and vegetables, like quinoa, corn, chickpeas or lentils.

Some of my favorite brands include JovialAncient HarvestBanzaNow Foods and Tolerant. Taste-wise, I would never be able to tell the difference between regular pasta and these gluten-free varieties, but they are SO MUCH BETTER FOR YOU!

RELATED:  Savvy Swaps: Gluten Free Healthy Carbs (Pasta, Bread, Flour, Sweeteners + Snacks)

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

Even better? This vegan mac and cheese recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make. Other than your pasta pot, you only need one dish here to bring this recipe together.

And dish duty is a breeze afterward! Other than your pasta pot, you only need one dish here to bring this recipe together.

You can blend the sauce in a blender (I again recommend Vitamix), or if you have an immersion blender, you can blend the sauce up right in the same pot you cooked everything in.

Easy peasy!

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free  mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!

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5 from 6 votes
Servings: 6
Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 
Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too!
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onion, cauliflower, and squash with olive oil for 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and turmeric, tossing to combine. Add cashews and broth. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until everything is nice and soft.
  2. Meanwhile, make pasta according to package directions.
  3. Add the mixture to a high-speed blender (I recommend Vitamix) and add nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour sauce mixture over pasta, tossing until fully coated. Serve and enjoy!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butternut squash, cashews, dairy free mac and cheese, nutrtional yeast, vegan gluten free mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese
Calories: 410 kcal
Author: Kate Kordsmeier


Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.

Think you can't make creamy, decadent mac and cheese without dairy? Think again! This Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe is made with cashews, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, cauliflower and turmeric for a simple and easy dairy free pasta recipe that's as full of flavor as it is nutrition. It's healthy, and yet this gluten free mac and cheese is creamy and delicious! Paleo-friendly too! 

Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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19 comments on “The Creamiest Vegan Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free)”

  1. I’m not even close to vegan but I know fantastic taste profiles when I run across them. This healthy mac and cheese alternative is like nothing I’ve ever seen! I’m especially wild over your use of cauliflower, butternut squash and cashews – holy wonderful! We are mac and cheese fanatics at our house and I will be trying this sometime soon. Thanks for the beautiful post!

  2. Hi I just made this dish and it is delish! I love it, however I only made one box of pasta so have a lot of the yummy sauce left over. I am wondering if I can freeze the sauce for the next time I want to make some mac and cheese?

  3. I am new to your site so please excuse my ignorance. My question is in regard to the vegetable broth volume. Is it 2 1/2 cups? My eyesight isn’t what it used to be , but for the life of me I don’t see the decimal point between the 2 and the 5!!! I’ve eliminated red meat from my diet and also only use dairy sparingly, for over 3 years now. Every once in awhile I really crave mac and cheese so I am very much intrigued with this recipe. I am familiar with nutritional yeast. I’ve been using it on popcorn for years. Thanks so much for taking my question. I have bookmarked your site

  4. I’m all about mac n cheese and this vegan version sounds great! I’m literally drooling over these pictures! I definitely need to try this 🙂

  5. I love that you added the butternut and cauliflower! I tried nutritional yest for the first time this month, and it’s really not too bad! And I love to make cheese sauces with cashew milk! I’m saving this to make for Mom who is severely gluten and lactose allergic!

  6. This looks so decadent and creamy! What a great comfort dish. I love that you used some red pepper for a bit of heat.

  7. I’m always up for a new Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe, esp after eating my own for so many years LOL. this looks great and I’m all in on the cauliflower! 🙂

  8. This is such a great idea! I love having vegan options for when I’ve got friends coming over- yum!!!

  9. Yessss mac and cheese has always been one of my favorites! I love making vegan + GF versions but haven’t quite tried a recipe like yours before. Can’t wait!!