How to Make a Vegan Cheese Sauce – For Mac & Cheese

macaroni noodles covered in a vegan cheesy sauce

What spells comfort food more than a bowl of cheesy noodles? I know a lot of people don’t go vegan because they find it so difficult to give up cheese, and with it many of their favorite comfort foods like mac & cheese. But here is the thing…

you don’t have to!

To make mac & cheese, there’s 3 main ingredients: the noodles, the cheese, and some sort of creamy liquid like milk. The noodles are usually made with some kind of wheat such as semolina, so they’re already vegan. The thing we have to “veganize” is the sauce, which usually includes cheese and milk. So how to make a vegan cheese sauce?

How About Vegan Cheeses?

Vegans have their own cheeses made from cruelty-free plant ingredients, these cheeses can be used in anything you want such as mac & cheese, grilled cheese, lasagna, anything that uses cheese really. These cheeses melts and stretches just like real cheese, they aren’t very healthy because they’re usually very high in fat and sodium, but they taste pretty good though.

Now lets see how we can make a vegan cheese sauce to put on our noodles to make mac & cheese…

There Are 3 Ways…


1. The Nutritional Yeast Method (Healthy Version)

Nutritional yeast is yeast that has been deactivated, it has a nutty and cheesy flavor to it, it comes in the form of yellow flakes or powder. This method uses the nutritional yeast flakes for the cheesy flavor, for the body and texture of the sauce we can use soft blended vegetables like potatoes, onions, and carrots, along with some cashews for that extra bit of nuttiness.

This is healthy of course because we’re using vegetables as thickener for the base of the sauce, but nutritional yeast is pretty damn healthy too compared to “real” vegan cheeses. Nutritional yeast provide complete protein and a lot of B vitamins, some also come as B12 fortified which is why it’s very popular with vegans who need them in the form of supplements.

The Recipe (Serves 2)
What You’ll Need:
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large potato
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1 cup of raw unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of macaroni noodles (or other kinds of noodles, gluten free is fine)

Directions

  1. First cook the noodles in salted boiling water until it’s al dente, drain it and set it aside.
  2. Begin your cheese sauce by first boiling your vegetables in a pot of water until they’re tender.
  3. Drain your vegetables and pour them into a large blender like the NutriBullet RX
  4. Pour in the rest of your ingredients: The cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and vegetable broth.
  5. Blend that baby up until it’s silky smooth.
  6. Pour that sauce you just created over your drained noodles.

 Where to Buy Nutritional Yeast?

You’re not likely to find them in your everyday regular grocery store, you’re more likely to find them in natural food stores like Whole Foods Market. They’re available in either in the bulk bins or as individually packaged ones located in the spice section. The great thing about the bulk bins is that you can try a tiny bit first to find out whether it’s for you or not. It can also be found and purchased online at Amazon.


2. Vegan Cheese Shreds + Almond Milk

This method uses “real” vegan cheese. The nutritional yeast isn’t technically a “vegan cheese,” it’s just something on it’s own that happened to have a nutty and cheesy flavor to it. But what I mean by “real” vegan cheese is the heavily processed stuff. There are many brands of vegan cheese, I have gone over a couple of them in this post here. My favorite brand to use is Daiya, they have cheddar and mozzarella style shreds that are perfect for making this mac & cheese recipe. Here is how to make it:

The Recipe (Serves 2-3)
What You’ll Need:
  • 1 cup of macaroni pasta (or other kinds if you prefer, gluten-free or regular is fine)
  • 3 cups of any kind of vegan shredded cheese (I use Daiya cheddar shreds)
  • 2 cups of unsweetened vegan milk (almond, rice, hemp..etc)
  • 2 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta until they’re done and then drain it
  2. In a pot melt in the vegan butter (if you don’t have vegan butter, then just substitute with a splash of vegan milk.
  3. Put in the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and flour. Stir it around and mix it up.
  4. Pour in the vegan milk and whisk it until it’s evenly incorporated
  5. Pour in the Daiya shredded cheese and lower the heat to medium, whisk it around until all the cheese has been melted
  6. Take your pasta and mix it into the cheese sauce

Quick Tip: If you want a crispy coating on the top of your mac & cheese, pour it into a casserole dish, sprinkle some bread crumbs on top of it and bake it in the oven until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

 Where to Buy Vegan Cheese Shreds?

As for where to buy them, you can usually find them in natural food stores like Whole Foods, some regular grocery stores also have them at the end of the regular cheese aisle. Or you can also find them online at Amazon.

Check out my other post on a variety of different vegan cheeses on the market today, including a full review on my favorite brand, Daiya Cheese.

Read more here: Where to Buy Vegan Cheese?


3. Boxed Vegan Mac & Cheese

This is why I love Daiya, they have a variety of dairy substitute products and they all rock. Daiya boxed mac & cheese is amazing, they include 3 different flavors such as Alfredo, cheddar, and white cheddar, each box provides 3 servings. Making it is very easy, all you do is boil the noodles until they’re al dente, then use the cheese sauce packet that comes with it to mix it with your noodles.

Where to Buy Boxed Mac & Cheese?

 

I have yet to see them on the shelves of regular supermarkets, but you may be able to find them in stores that specializes in natural or vegan foods. Alternatively, you can also find and order them online at Amazon.


My Final Thoughts

I hope you will give these ideas a try, especially if you’re a non-vegan, you may be surprised at how similar vegan cheese can taste like the real ones. A plant-based diet is all about abundance, and I don’t think there’s any of your favorite foods that aren’t already a vegan version of. You name it, there’s a vegan version of it.

If you found these recipes and ideas helpful, please give this post a like and share it on social media. If you have any tips on making these mac & cheese recipes even better, leave them down in the comment section below.

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4 thoughts on “How to Make a Vegan Cheese Sauce – For Mac & Cheese

    • Hey Jennifer, yeah vegan mac and cheese is great. I find that as far as vegan cheese goes, they are the best when it goes in things like sandwiches, salads, pasta… but not so great with pizza. anyway thanks for your comment.

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