Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Like, we’re talking a staple since childhood. But the next time you make it, ditch the boxed version because making vegan mac and cheese with cashews is just as creamy, satisfying, and melt-in-your-mouth good. Not to mention more eco-friendly than using dairy.
There’s no need for actual cheese in order to make this classic dish. Instead, a plant-based version can be made using a handful of ingredients that are already sitting in your pantry. As for the star ingredient, though, creating a vegan mac and cheese with cashews is the way to go.
“This mac and cheese is super creamy thanks to the cashews,” says Amanda, the food blogger behind Amanda Lee Lifestyle. “I love it because it’s an adult version of a childhood favorite. It’s a dish I get excited about making, but I also feel good eating it.”
Making Amanda’s vegan mac and cheese with cashews is simple. Just add cashews, your plant-based milk of choice, nutritional yeast, and some spices in the blender. Then, slather your noodles. Easy, delicious, and—best of all—a much more sustainable and ethical choice. The next time you’re craving mac and cheese, try Amanda’s recipe below.
Vegan Mac and Cheese with Cashews
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least an hour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or your alt-milk of choice)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz brown rice pasta (or your pasta of choice)
1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them soak for at least an hour. (I usually let mine soak for a few hours.)
2. Once the cashews are done soaking, drain the water and add the cashews to a food processor or high-speed blender.
3. Add in almond milk, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, then blend until the mixture is creamy. You may have to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides.
4. Cook the brown rice noodles according to the package. (Note: If you’re going to let the noodles sit out once they’re done cooking and the water is drained, rinse them in cold water first or they’ll stick together in one big clump.)
5. Pour the cashew sauce over the noodles and mix until it’s evenly distributed. Enjoy!