You ready for this? Totally VEGAN cheese sauce to smother your favourite kind of noodles in!! And not made of some weird chemical goop, either! It’s made of VEGGIES Got this stuff lying around your kitchen? Or, at least most of it? Then you can make a pretty awesome cheese sauce. Even if you substitute the coconut milk for almond/soy milk and omit the cashews, you’ll still be able to whip this up. And, if you don’t have nutritional yeast, you’ll probably still be okay but it does add a certain cheesy taste and some very important B vitamins. The turmeric is mostly optional too but it makes the sauce nice and yellow. The carrots are really what make everything nice and cheesy orange.
Start by soaking your 1/2 cup raw cashews for at least 30 minutes. Chop up 2 small (or 1 medium) potatoes, 1 small/medium carrot, and 1/2 a medium size onion.
Get the veggies boiling in a pot of water. Cook until they’re soft. Depending how small you cut them, it will be around 20-30 minutes.
Once the veggies are cooked and the cashews are done soaking, get them in your blender.
Add the liquids and spices.
Clockwise from 12: fine sea salt, nutritional yeast, cayenne, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder.
Blend well. Use the liquefy/highest setting on your blender for 90 seconds or so. Blend longer than you think you might need to, basically. If the cheese sauce isn’t coming together, you can add a couple of tablespoons of the boiled veggie water.
It will be nice and yellow! Just like the boxed stuff, except way healthier.
Warm and cheesy
Speaking of the veggie water – don’t throw it out! Scoop the vegetables out using a slotted spoon and keep the water to cook your noodles in. Cook them slightly under and then drain the water. Add the cheese sauce back to the pot and let the noodles cook for the final 2-3 minutes in the cheese sauce.
Oh man! So good.
Recipe measurements adapted from here – originally I saw this recipe in a YouTube video posted below.
- 2½ cups pasta
- 1 cup diced potatoes (yellow or russet)
- ¼ cup peeled diced carrots
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- ¾ cup water (from the boiled veggies)
- ½ cup raw unsalted cashews (soaked at least 30 minutes or overnight)
- ¼ cup coconut milk (substitute any vegan milk if needed)
- 2 Tbsp (or more) Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika (more for garnish if desired)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste)
- Bring several cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
- Get cashews soaking in water and chop vegetables.
- Boil vegetables until soft, about 20-30 minutes.
- Add boiled vegetables to blender with slotted spoon and keep veggie water for cooking pasta.
- Add soaked cashews and remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
- Cook pasta in veggie water until about 2-3 minutes undercooked.
- Drain pasta and add pasta and cheese sauce back to pot, cook for remaining 2-3 minutes.
- Serve immediately, or spoon into baking dish, cover with bread crumbs and melted vegan butter and cook until golden brown.
So, what do you think? Do you eat your mac and cheese with a fork or a spoon? Personally I like to make mine very soupy and use a spoon. With these mufalda corta noodles and how thick the sauce came out, a fork seemed to work best this time. I’ll definitely be experimenting with how runny I want to make the sauce next time (and there will be a next time…)
Do you like cheesy noodles? Let me know in the comments! Did you have everything on hand to prepare this recipe or did you swap some ingredients? Nutritional Yeast is one of those things that a lot of vegans use frequently, but not a lot of omnivores know about. I bought mine at a local specialty/health food kind of store called Fresh&Wild at Spadina and King. It’s not super cheap but it will last you a long time, is very versatile, has a TON of B vitamins and is great on popcorn. Check it out! Get some for yourself and it will grow on you – I promise!
Check out this video to see where I got the inspiration! These guys have some great videos on their channel – like a 2-part series on how to make the entire Taco Bell menu at home! Sick! Not all their videos are vegan but they’re definitely accessible and fun to follow along with.