25 April 2020

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a comfort classic - cheesy, rich sauce stirred through tender macaroni and baked to crisp, gooey perfection. This vegan version uses cashews, sweet potato, nutritional yeast and miso, for all the flavour and rich cheesiness that you know and love from your mac and cheese.

This isn't a spicy recipe by any means, but it does utilise a special ingredient for a little tang - pickled jalapeno brine. The sauce only has a very mild warmth to it but if you really don't like any spice then you could use gherkin brine or even lemon juice instead. As I do like a bit of kick to my mac and cheese I added some of the pickled jalapenos on top before baking, which works wonderfully with the rich sauce. 

I find that most baked pasta recipes call for cooking the pasta almost all the way through and then baking, but for this recipe you only cook the macaroni for a few minutes, to ensure it maintains its bite once baked - combined with the rich, creamy sauce and the crispy pieces from the edges of the dish (my personal favourite), you've got yourself a truly incredible, vegan mac and cheese. 

It's important for a proper mac and cheese that you have enough fat to create that silky, full-flavoured mouthfeel and the cashews do just that. Whilst the primary aim of this recipe is deliciousness, there's a little nutrition snuck in there too. Cashews are a great source of protein and fibre, they're a healthy source of fat and they also contain a good amount of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus too. The sweet potato, which adds depth and creaminess to the sauce and a beautiful, golden colour is also a fantastic source of vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

This recipe is delicious served up as it is, or you could add a salad or some green veg as a side.

It's suitable for freezing, should you happen to have any leftovers, but will also last 3-4 days in the fridge after making. 

Vegan Mac and Cheese | Serves: 6 | Time: 1 hour

You'll need

  • High-speed blender (I used a Nutribullet)
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Veg peeler
  • Large saucepan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Colander
  • Large baking dish 
  • Oil for greasing
  • Salt


  • 350g macaroni
  • 1 medium sweet potato (~500g)
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 tbsp red/white miso paste
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno brine (sub: gherkin brine or lemon juice)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups water
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 10-15 pickled jalapeno slices (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C fan, grease the baking dish and bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil. 
  2. Peel and dice the sweet potato into 2-3cm pieces and boil for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, transfer into the colander and rinse under cold water. 
  3. Add the cooked sweet potato to the blender with the cashews, miso paste, onion powder, mustard, nutritional yeast, jalapeno brine, salt and water. If your blender is smaller, you may have to blend in a couple of batches. Once blended, stir in a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
  4. Bring the potato water back up to the boil, add the macaroni and cook for 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of your macaroni. Then drain, add back to the saucepan and stir through the sauce.
  5. Transfer the pasta to the greased baking dish, spread out in an even layer and top with the pickled jalapeno slices if you are using them. Then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp around the edges. Serve up and enjoy!
Cassidy xx