Easy vegan mac and cheese with the creamiest vegan cheese sauce! This recipe has a hint of spice and will be your new favorite comfort food.

mac and cheese with jalapenos in a bowl

Trust me, I know what you’re thinking. Why is this chick trying to make a mac and cheese recipe without actual cheese? How does it work? Is it good?

I know you’re intrigued.

vegan mac and cheese in a bowl with jalapenos

First of all, you must know that IT IS DELICIOUS, creamy, cheezy tasting, a little spicy, addicting and sooo damn good.

Tony, my husband, a cheese obsessed man, LOVED this mac and cheese. He pours ketchup over most of his food (even real mac and cheese) and didn’t want to do it with this recipe because he loved it THAT much. In fact, he just walked by as I was editing my photos and asked if I would make this recipe again soon.

vegan mac and cheese in a bowl with jalapenosSo let’s talk about what’s involved!

Raw cashews: Yes, RAW cashews are the base of this recipe, and when soaked and blended with a little water or milk, cashews form into a beautiful, super creamy nutritious sauce full of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Just remember you’ll have to soak the cashews, so just be aware! Just put them in a bowl and walk away for a few hours; I’ve also added a way to speed up the process in instructions of the recipe!

Nutritional yeast: Have you ever had nutritional yeast before? My mom originally got me hooked during college. She’s put it on her buttered toast with a little garlic powder and salt and it tasted just like cheesy garlic bread. So what is nutritional yeast? It’s a deactivated yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. It’s cheesy tasting, nutty and contains an incredible amount of B vitamins. You can buy nutritional yeast at most grocery stores including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Spices: Another thing I use to flavor this mac and cheese is plenty of spices including garlic, turmeric, paprika and onion powder.

Dijon mustard: This gives the mac and cheese a little zesty and adds a slight tang. Just TRUST ME!

Jalapeno: You’ll put the entire pepper in (seeds and all) and it’s never been too spicy for me or anyone I know. It adds lovely flavor. If you’re nervous about the spices, take out the seeds!

vegan mac and cheese in a bowl with jalapenosI challenge you to make this recipe soon and then come back and let me know what you’ve thought. I’ve added instructions in the notes section of the recipe below for you to add broccoli or peas if you want ton include more veggies.

For being a plant based recipe, this has nearly 18g of protein. It’s filling, nutritious and a great way to impress your vegan or dairy free friends. If you make this recipe, let me know by leaving a comment below or upload a photo to instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen



4.6 from 8 reviews
Easy Vegan Mac & Cheese
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Calories: 542
  • Fat: 21.4g
  • Saturated fat: 2.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 70.0g
  • Sugar: 7.3g
  • Fiber: 11.9g
  • Protein: 18.5g
Recipe type: Dinner, Vegan, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Easy vegan mac and cheese with the creamiest vegan cheese sauce made from cashews, nutritional yeast and spices. This recipe will be your new favorite comfort food.
  • 2 cups raw cashews*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 large jalapeño, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound shell (Conchiglie) pasta* (or any kind of gluten free pasta you’d like!)
  • To garnish:
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. *First soak your cashews: Make sure you soak the cashews in 4 cups of water for at least 2 hours. To speed up the process, you can place them large glass bowl, then add 4 cups boiling water and let the cashews soak in the hot water for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour to speed up the process a bit. After you have soaked them for the time given, make sure to drain them completely.
  2. Once the cashews have finished soaking you'll be ready to make the sauce: Add drained cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, almond milk, jalapeno, turmeric, paprika, onion powder, dijon mustard and salt to a high powered blender. Blend until a thick sauce comes together. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package, until they are al dente. Drain noodles, then add back to pot and stir in your cashew cheese sauce. Garnish with fresh jalapenos if you like things a little spicy!
Feel free to use a gluten free pasta if you’d like.

If you’d like to add in broccoli, you can boil 3 cups of broccoli florets with the pasta.
If you want to add peas to the recipe, you can stir in ¾ cup frozen peas to the pasta once you add in the cheese sauce. Give them a few minutes and they should defrost.

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Two bowls of vegan mac and cheese with jalapeño slices on top