This is the BEST Dairy Free Mac and Cheese EVER! No potatoes, carrots, cashews, or nutritional yeast! This vegan mac and cheese is the REAL DEAL; creamy, super satisfying, and can be served as baked or stovetop!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword dairy free mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese
Bring water to a boil over high heat and add a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, add in uncooked elbow macaroni pasta, and boil pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain your pasta and place in a large mixing bowl.
OPTIONAL: Here we are going to season the pasta individually while still warm. You can skip this step if you like. I always seasoned my pasta individually before adding any sauce to maximize flavor. To your warm pasta add vegan butter, garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Mix together coating your pasta with the seasonings evenly. Taste one pasta shell making sure you can taste the seasonings on it. Set aside to begin making your cheese sauce.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Grab a 9x13 baking dish, and lightly greased with vegan butter. Set aside. (Do this only if you plan on baking your mac and cheese and not serving it as a stove top dish).
In the same pot used to boil your pasta, melt vegan butter completely and then add in chickpea flour. Stir it vigorously with the melted butter. This is how you make a roux.
Then pour in the canned coconut milk and almond milk. Whisk until smooth. (There should be no lumps). Keep whisking and reduce heat to medium for 7 to 10 minutes until it starts to slightly thicken. Don't worry if it's not super thick. The vegan cheese will help it become thicker.
Next add in vegetable bouillon cubes, vegan cream cheese, silken tofu, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, black pepper, turmeric powder (optional), and 4 cup vegan cheddar cheese. Stir on medium heat until vegan cheese melts and seasonings are fully incorporated into the sauce for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
Remove sauce from heat (turn off your stove) and add the cooked & drained elbow macaroni into your cheese pot. Fold the macaroni and cheese sauce until everything is well incorporated. You can serve this as. If you want to bake it proceed to the next step.
Layer macaroni and cheese in greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, then top with 2 cups of vegan cheddar cheese.
Bake in the oven, covered with aluminum foil for 10 minutes your cheese will start to melt on top and the aluminum foil will lock in the moisture. After 10 minutes, uncover your mac and cheese and bake for an additional 15 mins until cheese on top becomes golden brown.
Once done remove from oven and allow to cool. Your mac and cheese will be bubbly and sizzling. You might see a lot of oil. That is due to the fat content of this dish which makes it super indulgent. It will settle once cool and create this nice cheesy crusted topping.
This will keep very well in the fridge for 3-4 days. To freeze, wrap cooled and refrigerated mac and cheese in plastic wrap in individual portions. Add a layer of aluminum foil, and put it in a Ziploc freezer bag keeping for no more than 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven.
PASTA: I use gluten free elbow pasta this brand here. But you can use whatever type of pasta you have on hand or desire. Seasoning the individual past itself is optional and if you choose not to do this, omit those steps and the extra measurement of ingredients.
VEGAN BUTTER: Instead of vegan butter, you can use a dairy-free margarine (it’s the same thing) or refined coconut oil.
PLANT BASED MILK: You can substitute the unsweetened full fat canned coconut milk with an equal amount of plant based milk of your choice or vegan half and half (super pricey). You might lose some richness as canned coconut milk is high in saturated fat like cheese this recipe creamy. Make sure the milk you do use is unsweetened and not flavored (DO NOT use the coconut milk in a jug in the refrigerator section of your store). Check the ingredients making sure your milk has zero grams of sugar in it. I use Ripple Original UNSWEETENED (it must say unsweetened) brand.
SILKEN TOFU: Silken tofu acts as binder much like an egg would in a traditional Southern Baked Mac and Cheese. You could omit this if you like and substitute with ½ cup of vegan sour cream. Be sure to get SOFT Silken Tofu as it melts better with cheese sauce. Lite Firm Silken Tofu will work too but it’s not as smooth and won’t blend all the way together with your cheese sauce.
VEGAN CHEESE: Please refer to “What is the Best vegan Cheese to use for this” section in blog post to see what type of vegan cheeses to use. For the cheese sauce I used one bag of Violife Shredded Cheddar (because I already had a bag on hand) and one bag of Follow Your Heart Shredded Cheddar which equals 4 cups. Then I topped it with 1 bag of Follow Your Heart Shredded Cheddar Cheese (which equals 2 cups). I have done this and prefer it using the Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese brand and got the same yummy results. To me they have the most authentic taste and melts the best. Use YOUR favorite brand of vegan cheese.
STOVETOP: If you are not baking your mac and cheese, you will only need 4 cups of vegan cheese vs 6 cups. The last 2 cups are reserved for topping your vegan mac for baking. So buy 2 eight ounce packages of vegan cheese instead of 3.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS: For a nutritional boost, ¼ cup of pumpkin or butternut squash to your cheese sauce! If you want to, toss in some broccoli with your mac and cheese! If baking, try topping with breadcrumbs instead of extra vegan cheese! Mix ½ cup of bread crumbs with ¼ cup of butter. Sprinkle on top of your dairy free mac and cheese and bake!
OPTIONAL: Turmeric powder is totally optional and there only to add a deeper orange color to your mac and cheese. It can be omitted. If you like a smoky flavor to your mac and cheese you can add either the smoked paprika or liquid smoke. This is also optional.