You won’t miss the dairy in this creamy vegan Cashew Mac and Cheese. Cashews make this sauce velvety and perfect for a quick yet healthy weeknight meal.
Growing up my mom didn’t really cook much. The one thing I do remember “cooking” with her is boxed mac and cheese. Mac and Cheese has always been my comfort food.
Anytime I’m cold, sad, or stressed I crave some mac and cheese. And although back in the day we didn’t make the pasta or sauce from scratch, it was nice helping my mom with the “cooking”.
After going vegan, I did the whole pre-made boxed vegan mac and cheese thing. It was easier for me because that’s what I was used to even when I ate dairy. After a while though, I realized I could make a healthier version.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love my store bought boxed vegan mac and cheese every once in a while but I like to like to use whole foods as much as possible… and this creamy vegan Cashew Mac and Cheese beats the boxed brands!
Cashews Make Things Creamy
Cashews are an amazing nut. They offer protein, healthy fat, and a nice dose of magnesium.
Blend them up cashews with some water and you have a tasty cream! I put cashew cream in just about anything that needs some creaminess.
Here are some other recipes besides cashew mac and cheese that you can make if you love cashews too:
- Strawberries and Cream Overnight Oats – I use a sweet cashew cream
- Walnut Meat Tacos – I use a savory lime cream on these
- Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Overnight Oats – I used cashews for the “cheese” part
- Colcannon Soup – made it creamy with cashews
- Vegetable Bean Casserole – again made creamy with cashews
Creamy Vegan Cashew Mac and Cheese
I like whipping up big batches of this cashew mac and cheese for myself and using it throughout the week. This way I have some on hand anytime I’m in a cheesy mood.
You can also make the sauce and use it for a number of other dishes. The sauce is great on:
- veggies (I particularly love it on broccoli – try it with the kids!)
- baked potatoes/fries (like these Potato Wedges)
- veggie burgers
- buddha bowls
- popcorn tofu
- or anything you want cheesier!
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Cashew Vegan Mac and Cheese
You won't miss the dairy in this Creamy Cashew Vegan Mac and Cheese. Cashews make this sauce velvety and perfect for a quick yet healthy weeknight meal.
- 12 oz pasta (gf if needed)
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for at least 1-2 hours or in boiling water for 10 minutes*
- 1/2 cup water (more if needed)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 TB coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk but the canned coconut milk makes it the creamiest)
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste (or 1 Tb salt but trust me the miso makes it fab)
- 2 TB diced pimentos
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- fresh parsley
- vegan parmesan
Cook pasta to package directions.
Blend all of the ingredients together in a high-speed blender starting with 1/2 a cup of water until smooth. Add more if you need. It’s better to add the water a little at a time to get a nice consistency – you don’t want it too watered down.
Drain pasta and top with sauce and toppings.
I usually serve this with some steamed broccoli or cooked kale to make this a full healthy meal.
- I use a high speed blender like a Vitamix when blending cashews.
- Nutrition info is for the sauce only.
- There may be a little sauce left over. If so save it for veggies later in the week! To reheat the sauce, add a little more milk or water to thin it out and heat on low for only a few minutes.
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Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a licensed nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist helping clients regain their energy, confidence and health through a plant-based diet. She received her master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and completed her nutrition residency at the functional medicine clinic of Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.