Ever wanted mac and cheese but like, right now? This is the recipe for you! This easy vegan mac and cheese requires just 20 minutes from start to finish! The cashew sauce is easy to make and out of this world: vibrant golden color, savory and cheesy, and incredibly creamy. This is the perfect dish for when you’re craving homemade comfort food fast. Let us show you how it’s done!
This mac and cheese starts with cooking the noodles. Any type of noodle will work, but shell-shaped is our top choice because the shells hold the sauce like they’re little spoonfuls. Yum! The noodles can be wheat-based, gluten-free, or even legume-based (like Banza) for extra protein and fiber.
When cooking the pasta, make sure to reserve some of the pasta water because it will be used to make the sauce!
The 8-ingredient sauce is creamy, cashew-based, and full of flavor from nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and pepper. The pasta water thins it out while also contributing flavor.
Once blended up, the sauce lathers the noodles for a seriously dreamy, reminiscent-of-childhood bowl of goodness.
An optional sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese takes it to the next, next level!
We hope you LOVE this vegan mac and cheese! It’s:
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!
Enjoy as an entrée or side anytime you’ve had a rough day or are craving something comforting yet nourishing! It would be especially delicious paired with our 1-Pot BBQ Baked Beans, Vegan Sloppy Joes, Easy Vegan Coleslaw, and/or Creamy Vegan Broccoli Salad (Mayo-Free!).
More Easy, Cheesy Vegan Recipes
- The BEST Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Easy Vegan Cheddar Cheese (Spread & Sauce!)
- Cheesy Broccoli Hashbrown Bake (Oil-Free)
- Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Garlicky Alfredo Sauce
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
20-Minute Mac and Cheese (Vegan)
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- 8 ounces shell pasta (gluten-free as needed // we like Banza GF shells)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (~1/2 lemon as recipe is written)
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 healthy pinch black pepper
FOR SERVING optional
- Place cashews in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 15-20 minutes, until very soft. Drain and rinse the cashews and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously salt. Add the pasta, stir, and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup (240 ml) of pasta water (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), then drain and return the noodles to the pot, off of the heat.
- After soaking, transfer the cashews to a high-speed blender. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, turmeric, chili powder, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup (120 ml // amount as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) reserved pasta water. Blend until smooth. Add more pasta water if necessary to reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, adding nutritional yeast for cheesiness, lemon juice for acidity/brightness, turmeric for more vibrant color, and salt to taste. It should be very flavorful!
- Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Add more pasta water as needed to coat the noodles.
- Serve immediately as is or garnish with vegan parmesan cheese (optional). Leftovers will keep in a sealed container up to 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot, adding a little plain unsweetened dairy-free milk (almond typically works best) to rehydrate as needed. Not freezer friendly.
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