Make this easy vegan mac and cheese without cashews on the stovetop tonight for a quick 30 minute vegan dinner! It's creamy, delicious, and the ultimate bowl of nostalgic comfort food. No blenders, appliances, nutritional yeast or homemade cheese sauces needed.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Made in 1 pot - Making this homemade vegan mac and cheese without cashews could not be easier. The entire recipe comes together in 1 pot on the stovetop (like risotto!) with just 7 ingredients and very little prep (no baking!). Great for busy weeknights or quick lazy vegan dinners.
- Customizable - Use your favorite pasta, your favorite vegan cheese, and add your favorite veggies to this classic. I recommend adding in broccoli for a vegan broccoli cheddar mac or diced jalapeno for a little kick. Roasted brussels sprouts would also be a great choice!
- No blenders required - The best part of making vegan cheese sauces without cashews or any nuts at all is there is no blending required or use of any appliances other than the stove. This recipe is just as quick and easy as putting together the classic box of mac and cheese.
- Gluten free friendly - This mac and cheese is made without flour and no roux. It can also be made 100% gluten free with gluten free pasta of choice.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- pasta - I typically make this 1 pot pasta with wheat bow tie pasta, but you can use any type of short pasta you have on hand. You can also use gluten free or grain free pasta varieties, but keep in mind, they may require more or less liquid depending on the pasta's thickness and ingredients. For example, gluten free pastas made from legumes will cook more quickly and with less liquid than their wheat based counterparts.
- veggie broth - This cheesy pasta is cooked in vegetable broth as opposed to water for optimal flavor. If you are sensitive to sodium, you can use a low sodium vegetable broth.
- vegan butter - There are several different types of vegan butter available in grocery stores now. Use any vegan butter you prefer or can find. I recommend Miyoko's Creamery - it's what I use in all of my vegan baking like my Chewy Biscoff Butter Cookies and Vegan Biscoff Brownies!
- coconut cream - Coconut cream, while optional helps make this cheesy pasta extra creamy and is the perfect substitute for milk in mac and cheese. You can substitute with vegan cream cheese, if needed. Make sure to use coconut cream, not coconut milk - coconut cream is thicker and more rich. Use the leftover coconut cream to make my Easy Gluten Free Tomato Soup, Creamy Vegan Truffle Pasta, or Creamy Vegan Gigi Hadid Pasta.
- vegan cheese shreds - Similar to the vegan butter, there are quite a few brands now available in grocery stores. For a classic vegan mac and cheese, I recommend using vegan sharp cheddar shreds or a block of vegan cheese your shred yourself. You can also use a combination of different flavored shreds like cheddar, parmesan, gouda, provolone or pepper jack for a spicier vegan mac and cheese.
Step by Step Instructions
- Sauté the garlic and shallot. Melt the vegan butter in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Once melted, add in the minced garlic and diced shallot and sauté until fragrant. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent burning, and lower the heat if your personal stovetop runs hot.
- Add in the dry pasta. Toss the pasta in the melted butter, garlic and shallot until coated.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Add 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth into the sauce pan, stir, and raise the heat to medium. Stir the pasta in the vegetable broth about every 30 seconds for 5 minutes while the pasta absorbs the liquid and begins to soften and plump up. After 5 minutes, add another cup of vegetable broth and repeat the process while the pasta finishes cooking through and is al dente. Depending on the type of pasta, you may need additional splashes of vegetable broth to cook it through completely.
- Stir in coconut cream and vegan cheese. Once the pasta is al dente, add in the vegan cheese shreds and coconut cream, if using. Stir until the cheese is melted and the vegan mac and cheese is creamy and cheesy!
- Season with salt and pepper, then serve! This hearty vegan dinner is best served immediately while warm. If desired, you can also serve with toasted breadcrumbs.
Vegan mac and cheese is not automatically gluten free because most popular pastas are made with wheat based pastas and wheat contains gluten. Vegan mac and cheese, however, can be made gluten free with a gluten free pasta made with chickpeas, lentils, beans, brown rice, etc. You can use your favorite gluten free pasta in this recipe.
Some of my favorite vegan cheese brands that melt well are Follow Your Heart, Daiya, Violife, Field Roast, or Miyoko's Creamery. All of these brands are widely available in most grocery stores so you should be able to find at least one.
No, freezing is not recommended. As with most creamy pastas, they are best served fresh and do not store or freeze well.
- Add an additional cup of vegetable broth, if needed. Depending on the pasta you use, you may need to use up to 4 cups of broth. I recommend starting with 3 cups and adding more as needed.
- For a sharper flavor, substitute yellow onion in place of the shallot. Shallots are similar in flavor to onions, but they are more subtle and less pungent. If you want a sharper onion flavor, substitute with yellow onion!
More Vegan Dinners You Might Like
The Creamiest Vegan Mac and Cheese Without Cashews (stovetop)
- ½ lb pasta your choice
- 3 cup vegetable broth (you may need 1 cup more, see notes)
- 1 ½ cup vegan cheddar cheese shredded or cut up
- ¼ cup shallot diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 tbsp coconut cream (full fat, from a can) (optional)
- Salt and Pepper for taste
- Add the vegan butter to a medium sauce pan over medium low heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add in the minced garlic and chopped shallot. Mix the shallot and garlic until it is coated and cook until fragrant.Be careful not to burn the garlic. If your stovetop runs hot, use low heat.
- Add the dry pasta into the sauce pan and toss until it is coated with the garlic, butter and shallot.
- Pour in 1 ½ cup of vegetable broth over the pasta. The pasta may not be fully covered depending on the size of your sauce pan and raise heat slight, to medium.
- Continue to stir, every 30 seconds, while the broth cooks down. You will notice the pasta will start to plump up. This can take approx. 5 minutes.
- Once the vegetable broth is completely cooked down, add another 1 cup of vegetable broth and stir until it is cooked down. Repeat adding vegetable broth until pasta is soft and plump (see notes, below, regarding pasta type and cook time).There may be a little bit of extra veggie broth on the bottom of the pan - that is OK.
- Remove the cooked pasta from the heat and add in the vegan cheddar and coconut cream. Mix until melted and combined.
- Add salt and pepper to your taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy!