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overhead image of vegan mac and cheese in cast iron skillet

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese (oil-free)

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9 servings


The only vegan mac and cheese recipe you will ever need! This dish is made with simple plant-based ingredients and will definitely be a hit with any vegan or nonvegan you serve it to!


  • 1 cup Sunfood raw cashews
  • 1 lb. elbow (macaroni) noodles, gluten-free as needed
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1/2 large or 1 cup steamed russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, only if the sauce is thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sunfood turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste


  • 1/2 cup carrots, steamed
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sunfood hemp seeds


  1. Soak the raw cashews in water overnight. If you need to speed things up, you can boil water and soak the cashews in the hot water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the noodles according to the packaging directions.
  3. In a medium cast iron skillet, add in 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Add in the onions and garlic, and for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant and the onions become translucent. Set aside.
  4. In a small steamer, steam the potatoes and optional carrots until fork tender, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked onions and garlic, soaked cashews and the steamed vegetables to a high-speed blender along with the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch and blend until completely smooth. Add additional vegetable broth or water if too thick or cornstarch if too thin, and blend again until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Add the noodles into the cast iron skillet (used above) and then pour over the cheese sauce. Carefully mix until all of the noodles are coated and uniform.
  7. You can dig in there, or you can take one more optional step: Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the mac and cheese and place it in the oven to broil until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted.
  8. Top with hemp seeds, scallions, and smoked paprika, as desired. Serve warm.


  • You can bake or boil the potatoes if needed, you just need to make sure they are soft and cooked through!
  • If you would like to replace the cashews, we suggest opting for a seed butter such as sunflower or tahini (sesame seed). These will bring in the fat content that will be taken away with the cashews and will also bring in a creamy factor. These will also bring a new flavor into the dish, so we just suggest tasting as you go and making adjustments as needed. Start with 1/2 cup of the seed butter. You could also opt to just make a potato cheese sauce by removing the cashews. It will not be as decadent and creamy, but it should still work. For this, just add in about 1/2 cup more potatoes plus more liquid as needed to blend. Please note that we have not tested out these substitutions and cannot guarantee results. If you do try these out, please let us know in the comments below so that others can refer to it as well!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Pasta, Lunch
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Entree, Pasta, Lunch, Vegan, Mac and Cheese, Potato, Carrot, Cashews