This easy vegan mac and cheese recipe comes together in just 20 minutes. Gluten, dairy, and nut-free, this healthy version of the classic comfort food is sure to hit the spot!
Who doesn't love a good bowl of mac and cheese?
I, like many Canadian children, grew up with Kraft Dinner as a special treat to look forward to. I also dabbled with the President's Choice White Cheddar mac and cheese (omg is that stuff good).
However, as with several things, my transition to gluten-free threatened to put a twist on my mac and cheese eating habits. I was thrilled to find Annie's gluten-free mac and cheese in stores - her cheddar and white cheddar varieties are really good!
It was the transition out of eating a lot of dairy and lactose that had me stumped. Yes, I eat cheese at times with a lactaid. Yes, I've tried the dairy-free, gluten-free mac and cheese boxes. But it just wasn't the same. I wanted something that would taste great and I would feel great eating.
Enter this quick & easy vegan mac and cheese recipe! Cheesy, spicy, and bursting with flavour without any gluten, dairy, or additives. The sauce comes together in the time that the pasta cooks and then you have an easy, healthy mac and cheese meal.
Ingredients you need to make this easy vegan mac and cheese
Gluten-free pasta: Any kind you like! I prefer any type of penne, rotini, or elbow for the most authentic mac and cheese experience. My favourite types of gluten-free pasta are the blends with some combination of corn, rice, quinoa, and/or starches. I find that these resemble gluten-ful pasta the best!
Vegan butter: You could also sub a neutral flavoured oil for this. My favourite vegan butter brand is Melt Organic.
Gluten-free flour: Since there's such a small amount used in this recipe, any all-purpose gluten-free flour or starch such as corn or tapioca would probably work. Use what you have on-hand.
Dairy-free milk: My preference in this recipe, and my overall current favourite dairy-free milk, is cashew milk. To make this dish completely nut-free, you could simply sub soy or rice milk. I would avoid coconut beverage as it may overpower the flavour.
Nutritional yeast: This is the cheesy flavour that truly makes this dish. Not to mention that nutritional yeast is so good for you! My favourite brand is the Bob's Red Mill. Such an amazing vegan product.
Spices: This dish is very customizable! A little salt and pepper are standard, but you can really add in whatever you like. My favourites are garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and red pepper flakes - I like it hot! Add as much or as little as you like to amplify the flavour.
How to make the easiest vegan mac and cheese
The thing I love most about this recipe is how simple it is for a vegan mac and cheese. No soaking nuts, no blenders, no food processors. All you need is a pot to boil your pasta and a skillet to cook the sauce!
Start by boiling your water and cooking the pasta according to package instructions. In the meantime, you can whip up the "cheese" sauce.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Add in the gluten-free flour to make a roux and cook for 1 minute. Then, add your non-dairy milk and bring the heat up to medium-high, whisking constantly until thick and bubbling. This may take a few minutes. You can then turn the heat back down to medium.
Once the sauce is nice and thick, you can add any optional ingredients of your choosing. I like to add some chopped cremini mushrooms and spinach for extra #health. Let these cook down in the sauce for a few minutes.
Once the veggies are soft, add the nutritional yeast and spices. Stir to incorporate and cook the seasoning into the sauce for a few minutes. When the pasta is done, drain, rinse, and add it to the skillet. Toss the pasta and let it finish cooking in the sauce for a minute or two.
Next, plate up for 2 large servings or 3 small-medium servings, and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this easy vegan mac and cheese recipe as much as I do. It sure was a staple while I was in university as it's so easy and customizable! In just 20 minutes, you'll have a familiar comfort food without any of the gluten or dairy.
Be sure to let me know if you try it out! Leave a comment and tag me on instagram @livglutenfree. I can't wait to see your recreations.
More Gluten-Free Mains
Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 3 cups Gluten-free pasta any kind of short noodle
- 2 tablespoon Vegan butter
- 2 tablespoon Gluten-free flour I like Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour
- 1⅓ cup Dairy-free milk
- ½ cup Nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne powder
- 2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- Chopped cremini mushrooms
- Cook your pasta according to the package instructions. The sauce will be made while the pasta cooks.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Once melted, add the gluten-free flour and whisk into a thick roux. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the dairy-free milk to the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. Whisk constantly until it bubbles and thickens. This will take a few minutes.
- Turn the heat back down to medium and add any optional add-ins you choose. Stir for a few minutes until they cook down.
- Add the nutritional yeast and spices. Adjust the amount of spice to how you like it. Stir to evenly incorporate.
- When done cooking, drain and rinse the pasta and add it into the sauce skillet. Stir to coat the pasta and cook in the sauce for a minute or two. Plate and enjoy!