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This plant-based mac and cheese is not only vegan but it's also oil-free, nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free. Made from a base of potatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast and seasonings, the cheesy sauce is 100% plant-based and easy to whip up in your blender. Mix with your favorite gluten-free pasta for an easy main course or side dish.
Since I make my cheddar-style vegan cheese sauce at least once a week to keep in the fridge for taco night, topping veggies and just because I might need a tortilla chip and dip fix, I figured it was time to FINALLY make a mac and cheese with it.
So, I created a slightly modified version of this pumpkin seed-, potato- and carrot-based sauce which includes additional water, a tad bit more garlic and onion powder and some ground mustard and here we are.
If you are looking for a vegan mac and cheese with no cashews, this is the recipe for you.
I chose to use this chickpea pasta by Banza for this dish which adds a great deal of protein, but you can use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
As an added bonus, this version is lower in fat than those typically made with vegan butter and store-bought vegan cheese.
How to make this plant-based mac and cheese - step by step
Cover raw pumpkin seeds with boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes. I find the easiest way to do this is with an electric kettle.
Add chopped potatoes and carrots to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft.
While the pumpkin seeds are soaking and the potatoes and carrots are cooking, cook your gluten-free pasta of choice according to package directions.
While the pumpkin seeds are soaking and the potatoes, carrots and pasta are cooking, add nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, salt, ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric to a high-powered blender.
Drain the pumpkin seeds along with the potatoes and carrots and add to the blender.
Secure the lid and blend on high, scraping down the sides as needed, until the ingredients are well-incorporated and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
If the sauce is a little too thick, you can add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water.
When the pasta is done, drain and return to the pot or a large mixing or serving bowl.
Pour the sauce onto the pasta.
Mix until well-combined.
Ideas for serving
Enjoy this mac and "cheese" as is or topped with freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, herbs or some hot sauce.
Personally, I love it with some fresh chopped chives and crushed red pepper.
You can also mix in your favorite veggies such as broccoli, peas, spinach or kale.
Storing and reheating leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat leftovers in a microwave safe dish in 30-second intervals, stirring in between.
Want more vegan mac and cheese? Check out these recipes next:
Plant-Based Mac and Cheese
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 ¾ cup peeled and chopped yellow or gold potatoes (chopped into small pieces of similar size)
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
- 8 oz gluten-free pasta (I used Banza cavatappi; be sure to use soy-free pasta to keep this recipe soy-free)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 10 tbsp filtered water (plus 1-2 tbsp more if needed)
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- ⅜ tsp garlic powder
- ⅜ tsp onion powder
- ⅛ tsp turmeric
- Veggies to mix in such as: broccoli, peas, spinach, kale
- Toppings such as: black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, herbs, hot sauce, nutritional yeast flakes, vegan Parmesan cheese
- Cover pumpkin seeds with boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and carrots to a 2-quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft (approximately 10-12 minutes).
- While the pumpkin seeds are soaking and the potatoes and carrots are cooking, cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions.
- While the pumpkin seeds are soaking and the potatoes, carrots and pasta are cooking, add nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, salt, ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric to a high-powered blender.
- Drain pumpkin seeds along with the potatoes and carrots in a mesh strainer (5 ½" or 7 ⅞" size) and add to the blender.
- Secure the lid and blend on high, scraping down the sides as needed, until the ingredients are well-incorporated and the sauce is smooth and creamy (approximately 2 minutes). If the sauce is a little too thick, you can add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water.
- When the pasta is done, drain in a colander (rinse only if package directs) and return to the pot or a large mixing or serving bowl.
- Pour the sauce onto the pasta and mix in until well-combined.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
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