Vegan Baked Mac And Cheese (Gluten-free and Oil-free)
This baked vegan mac and cheese is perfect for a weeknight dinner that's super easy to make! Featuring a creamy, smooth dairy-free sauce and a breadcrumb topping, this is a perfect family-friendly and crowd-pleasing dish.
Cook the pasta according to packaging instructions on packaging, but make sure it is slightly al dente/prevent overcooking.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the carrots, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the vegetables to a blender or food processor, together with the cashews, plant based milk, mustard, paprika, salt, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and cumin. Blend until smooth.
Drain the pasta (but don't rinse) and mix together with the sauce in a large mixing bowl.
Transfer the mac and cheese to a rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and vegan cheese, then bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Instructions for making ahead and storing
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. To freeze, store either in freezer-friendly containers or in freezer bags for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw fully in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave or on the stove, adding a splash of plant based milk.
To make ahead of time, make the sauce, cook the macaroni and store them in separate containers. When ready to make, simply mix together, transfer to a baking dish, add the toppings, and bake as instructed above.
Tips for success
The nutritional yeast here works really well to add a cheesy flavour and so I would not recommend leaving it out.
Ensure that the mustard is vegan.
Either soak the cashews for 4 hours, or simmer them in a saucepan for 15 minutes.
You can use any pasta of your choice. Make sure it's slightly undercooked before mixing it with the sauce because it will continue cooking in the oven.
You can adjust the type and amount of spices you use depending on your preference.
If you prefer spicy mac and cheese, add sriracha, and chilli flakes on top when serving.