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This super easy Vegan Mac and Cheese requires less than 10 ingredients and just minutes to make. This dairy-free mac and cheese recipe is gluten-free and nut-free too!
After making my Cheesy Vegan Mashed Potatoes, I decided to try my hand at creating a dairy-free version of another classic cheesy dish…macaroni and cheese.
Although I may make a more in-depth version in the future, I wanted this dish to be as easy and quick as possible…no blender and no food processor necessary. 😉
How to make an easy nut-free, dairy-free cheese sauce that’s also gluten-free
To keep the sauce gluten-free, I decided to use…wait for it…wait for it…
Surprise! Chickpea flour!
OK, fine…you’re not surprised. But it worked so well in my Chickpea Flour Gravy, I knew it would be perfect for making roux for a gluten-free mac and cheese sauce too.
What Other Ingredients are in the chickpea flour cheese sauce?
To complete the sauce, I used vegan butter, unsweetened soy milk and nutritional yeast.
Now I just needed to figure out the right blend of seasonings…
I opted for onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt. But something was still missing.
Hmmm…What could it be?
So, I looked back at my old dairy version of stovetop macaroni and cheese for inspiration.
Two ingredients caught my eye.
The first one was…
But not just any mustard…it was spicy brown mustard.
The second ingredient was…
Yes, American cheese.
So, I decided to give it a go, but using my favorite vegan sliced cheese, Chao.
And, voila! That was the missing piece! We had some flavorful, creamy and super easy mac and cheese…all within the time it took to cook the pasta!
The Chao Creamy Original reminds me so much of the American cheese I used to love before giving up dairy. Of course, if you can’t find Chao, you can use another brand such as Follow Your Heart’s American style. Or, you can leave out the vegan cheese slices and add more nutritional yeast, which I’ve included in the recipe card instructions below.
What is the Best Gluten-Free Pasta for this vegan macaroni and cheese?
Personally, I find that this mac and cheese tastes best when paired with a chickpea pasta. I used Whole Foods Market gluten-free chickpea shells in these photos, but I’ve also tried this sauce with Chickapea brand shells and spirals. Of course, you can use your favorite gluten-free pasta, chickpea-based or otherwise. 🙂
How to make this Vegan Mac and Cheese
Cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, start the sauce by first melting vegan butter in a 2- or 3-quart sauce pan over medium heat.
Next, make a roux by whisking the melted butter with chickpea flour until it resembles a smooth paste and has a nutty aroma (about 1-2 minutes).
Then, whisk in soy milk, followed by mustard, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.
Cook on medium-high until the sauce just starts to boil, whisking intermittently.
Turn off the heat, and whisk in nutritional yeast. Then, stir in the broken up pieces of vegan sliced cheese, if using.
Allow to stand for 1-2 minutes to thicken up. Taste test and add more salt, if desired. After draining the pasta, add it to the sauce pan with the cheese sauce and stir. Allow to sit and thicken for about 1 more minute before serving.
What to serve with this dairy-free Mac and Cheese
You can enjoy this dish as is for a hearty lunch or add some veggies if you’d like, such as peas or broccoli. My personal favorite is to add in broccoli or peas and top with some red pepper flakes.
This creamy pasta can also be served as a side with your favorite meatless main course, such as these Ranch Chickpea Veggie Burgers or these Buffalo Chickpea Burgers. You can also add it to your holiday table alongside this Holiday Chickpea Veggie Loaf.
Psst…I did end up making a more in-depth nut-free cheese sauce like I mentioned earlier. This one is made with a base of pumpkin seeds, potatoes and carrots. You can use this vegan cheese sauce not only for mac and cheese, but also as a veggie topper or a dip.
Stovetop Gluten-Free, Vegan Mac and Cheese [Nut-Free]
- 8 oz. gluten-free pasta
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour)
- 2 1/4 cups unsweetened, plain soy milk (I used WestSoy)
- 1 1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more, if desired)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast *use 1/2 cup if not using the vegan American cheese
- 2 slices vegan American-style cheese, broken into small pieces (optional) *I recommend Chao Creamy Original, but you can use your favorite brand or omit this ingredient. If omitting, increase nutritional yeast to 1/2 cup as noted above.
- Optional add-ins: broccoli, peas or other veggies of choice
- Optional garnish: freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
- Cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, begin the sauce. Start by melting vegan butter in a 2- or 3-quart sauce pan over medium heat.
- Make a roux by whisking the melted butter with chickpea flour until it resembles a smooth paste and has a nutty aroma (about 1-2 minutes). It should be golden to tan in color. If it starts to turn brown, it is burning.
- Whisk in soy milk, followed by mustard, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.
- Cook on medium-high until the sauce just starts to boil, whisking intermittently.
- Turn off the heat, keeping the sauce pan on the burner, and whisk in nutritional yeast. Then immediately, stir in broken up vegan cheese slices, if using.
- Allow to stand for 1-2 minutes to thicken up. Taste test and add more salt, if desired
- After draining the pasta, add it to the sauce pan with the cheese sauce and stir. Mix in optional veggies if using. Allow to sit and thicken for about 1 more minute before serving.
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