This creamy and indulgent gluten-free, vegan mac and cheese comes together in just minutes right on the stovetop...no blender necessary! With a nut-free, velvety cheese sauce made of plant-based butter, chickpea flour, oat milk, nutritional yeast and vegan cheese, this gluten- and dairy-free twist on the classic dish is pure comfort food.
First, I have to tell you this recipe is not meant to be a healthier vegan version of traditional mac and cheese.
Instead, it's meant to be a dairy-free version of that buttery, creamy, cheesy dish so many of us enjoyed as kids.
OK, so now let's get back to the making of the not-meant-to-be healthy, super creamy, dreamy version of mac and cheese we have here.
What's great about this recipe is that there are no cashews to soak and no need for a blender since the sauce comes together right on the stovetop.
To make the sauce, I used my vegan béchamel as a base. The three main ingredients for the béchamel are:
- Chickpea Flour: This is my go-to gluten-free all-purpose flour replacement for making a roux in my recipes such as in my chickpea flour gravy.
- Vegan Butter: My favorites are Miyoko's oat butter and Earth Balance (you can use the spread or the buttery sticks and if necessary, use the soy-free version).
- Oat Milk: Be sure to use full-fat oat milk as the lower fat versions are not thick enough. If necessary, use a certified gluten-free brand such as Oatly which is certified GF in the United States.
To turn the sauce from a béchamel into a "cheese" sauce, I added nutritional yeast and American-style vegan cheese slices.
For the cheese slices, I highly recommend using Chao Creamy Original .
Chao not only reminds me so much of the American cheese I loved as a kid, but it also adds a velvety texture to this mac and cheese that dare I say it...resembles a certain "velvety" block of "cheese" often referred to as liquid gold. 😉
Anyway, if you are not able to purchase Chao or are looking for a soy-free option, my second recommendation would be Daiya's American-style slices.
I was actually pleasantly surprised with how creamy, melty and tasty these slices are.
To complete the sauce, the remaining ingredients are mustard, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and turmeric.
What's the best pasta to use?
In these photos, I used Jovial's brown rice shells but feel free to use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
Other shapes I would recommend are elbows or rotini/spirals/fusilli (names vary depending on brand).
How to make this vegan stovetop mac and cheese - step by step
Cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce by first melting vegan butter in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, whisk in the chickpea flour to make a roux.
Whisk until it resembles a thick paste and is golden in color. Any clumps will melt during the cooking and whisking process in the next steps.
Whisk in the oat milk.
Then, whisk in mustard, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and turmeric.
Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once boiling, whisk for 30 seconds and then remove from heat.
Promptly whisk in the nutritional yeast.
Then, add the cheese slices in broken up pieces.
Whisk or stir continuously until the cheese has melted. You can return the sauce to the stovetop over low heat if the cheese isn't melting.
Taste test and add more salt, if desired.
After draining the pasta, add it to the sauce pan with the cheese sauce.
Stir to combine.
Ideas for serving
You can enjoy this dish as is or add some veggies if you'd like, such as spinach, kale peas or broccoli. My personal favorite is to add in broccoli or peas and top with some crushed red pepper flakes.
Storing and reheating leftovers
Store leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave until warmed throughout or in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring frequently (note that the pasta may break apart using this method).
For more veganized comfort classics, check out these next:
Stovetop Gluten-Free, Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz. gluten-free pasta (I used brown rice pasta)
- 2 tablespoon vegan butter (sub olive oil if desired)
- 2 ½ tablespoon chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour)
- 1 ½ cups full-fat, unsweetened and unflavored oat milk, at room temperature (use a certified GF brand of oat milk if necessary)
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard (yellow, Dijon or spicy brown - use a certified GF brand if needed)
- 1-1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 4 slices vegan American-style cheese, broken into small pieces (I recommend Chao Creamy Original but you can use Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Good Planet or the brand of your choosing - use a soy-free brand if necessary)
- Cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions. Be sure not to overcook.
- While pasta is cooking, begin the sauce. Start by melting vegan butter in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, whisk in chickpea flour to make a roux. Keep whisking for 1-2 minutes (the roux should be a smooth but thick paste and golden in color). Any clumps will melt during the cooking and whisking process in the next steps.
- Whisk in oat milk followed by mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and turmeric.
- Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once boiling, whisk for 30 seconds and then remove from heat.
- Promptly whisk in the nutritional yeast. Add the broken up cheese slices and whisk or stir continuously until the cheese has melted. You can return the sauce to the stovetop over low heat if necessary for the cheese to melt.
- Taste test and add more salt, if desired.
- After draining the pasta, add it to the sauce pan with the cheese sauce and stir.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
This post originally appeared on Watch Learn Eat on January 4, 2019. It has been republished to reflect both recipe and photo revisions. Changes to the story were also made.
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