A big bowl of mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This vegan mac and cheese recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free and gets a big nutritional boost from using nutritional yeast to make the vegan cheese sauce.
If you’re not already familiar with nutritional yeast let me take a moment to tell you about this nutrient-dense food. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast sold as yellow flakes or powder. It’s a good source of plant-based protein and it’s high in B vitamins, selenium, and zinc. If stored in an airtight container it can last up to 24 months, making it a good pantry item to keep on-hand.
In addition to nutritional yeast, the vegan cheese sauce includes garlic powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, and turmeric for seasoning. The turmeric gives the mac and cheese a vibrant yellow color. If you want a spicier sauce, add some cayenne pepper or red chili flakes.
You can use any kind of gluten-free pasta such as brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta. If you don’t have elbow macaroni you can also use other types of bite-sized pasta shapes like farfalle (bow tie) or rotini pasta.
You can also swap out the peas with 1-2 cups of any other vegetable you have. For example, use chopped steamed broccoli, roasted vegetables, diced tomatoes, or chopped leafy greens like spinach or kale.
This meal makes good leftovers. Just add a little non-dairy milk and heat up on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Now when you’re craving comfort food, you have a nutritious and vegan option for making some creamy mac and cheese.
Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz. gluten free pasta (any shape)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1.5 cups frozen peas, thawed
- Cook pasta according to package direction. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot.
- While the pasta cooks, heat up the olive oil in a small or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the cornstarch, garlic powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Slowly add the almond milk, whisking as you add it. Cook 3-5 minutes until the mixture thickens, whisking frequently.
- Add the nutritional yeast and whisk until smooth.
- Add the peas to the pasta. Pour the sauce over the peas and pasta and stir to coat everything. Add more almond milk if you want the sauce to be creamier.