If you're vegan, this easy vegan mac and cheese is the only recipe you'll ever need. If you're not vegan, there are plenty of reasons why you should be making this instead of your traditional mac and cheese (lactose intolerance, dietary restrictions, health reasons, or environmental sustainability concerns, to name a few).

This non-traditional mac and cheese recipe is built with a cashew base (sorry, this is not a recipe for those who are allergic to nuts) instead of a cheese base. Although pricier than most nuts, cashews offer many health benefits and add great texture and flavor to the dish.

But how do you get cheese flavor without using actual cheese?Nutritional yeast, which is easier to process than dairy and contains high levels of vitamin B, is the key. Learn more about what nutritional yeast is, its benefits, and other ways to use it. 

This recipe is great because it's got minimal (but highly nutritious) ingredients, easy steps, and great taste. Who knows? This might even become a staple recipe in your busy life.

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:15 mins
  • Total Time:20 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 4 servings pasta
  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
pasta, cream
Eileen Wang
  • Step 1

    Cook pasta of choice according to package instructions. Drain with cold water, and set aside.

    #SpoonTip: Mix in some olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking to each other.

    vegetable, pasta
  • Step 2

    Using a blender or food processor, blend cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper until smooth.

    coffee, cream
    Eileen Wang
  • Step 3

    Stir through mixture to make sure it is lump-free. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, and blend more if necessary.

    chocolate, dairy product, sweet, espresso, cappuccino, cream, milk, coffee
    Eileen Wang
  • Step 4

    Add cashew blend to pasta and heat on a stove.

    bread, coffee, dairy product, milk, sweet, cream
    Eileen Wang
  • Step 5

    Garnish with your choice of seasoning and serve warm.

    cream, peanut butter, peanut, hummus
    Eileen Wang

Think this easy vegan mac and cheese recipe is a little plain? You can add all sorts of vegetables and toppings to customize this very versatile mac and cheese. If you're a spice addict, you can add green chilis to the "cheese" sauce like the Minimalist Baker does for a vegan green chili mac and cheese. Or you can add salsa, black beans, corn, and cilantro for a southwestern twist. You can even just add Sriracha or ketchup, if that's your thing.

If you're digging this recipe, be sure to check out these vegan pasta recipes and dairy-free indulgences.