Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

Creamy Cashew Cheese PastaYou’re probably thinking. . .how many non-dairy mac and cheese recipes can there possibly be? Turns out, quite a few, but as most of us know, they’re not all that tasty. This one, however, from The Vegan Table, is the first cashew cheese sauce I’ve tried (but close to the Hurry Up Alfredo) and I really, really, love it. I ate way too much of it, too. :) I’ve made some minor alternations such as less oil and milk. By the way, if you need to omit the miso because of a soy intolerance, you can use a chickpea (garbanzo) miso or a barley miso. Another alternative is to use tahini mixed with a bit of salt.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/4 C raw cashews
1/2 C nutritional yeast
2 tsp onion powder
1 to 2 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp white pepper
3-1/2 C nondairy milk (I use 3 cups)
3 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 C canola oil (I use about a 1/4 cup and will often use olive oil instead)
1/4 C light (yellow or white) miso
2 Tbs lemon juice
12-16oz macaroni, cooked (I used about 16 ounces of both small shells and rotini)
I added 1-1/2 tsp of truffle oil, but it’s optional (I recommend it)!

DIRECTIONS:

Place cashews in a large-sized bowl of the food processor and finely grind–just don’t let the cashews turn to a paste. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pulse three more times to blend in spices.

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch and oil(s). Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low-medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until cornstarch dissolves.

With the food processor running, gradually add milk/oil mixture to cashew/nutritional yeast mixture. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Next blend in miso and lemon juice.

Combine cashew cheese with macaroni noodles and serve. You may also bake it: Preheat oven to 325 and place macaroni mixture in a 8 or 9″ square baking dish (I recommend a 9″x13″ one). Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 1/2 C herbed bread crumbs. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes until topping is golden brown. (I’m going to do this with the leftovers)! Enjoy!

Creamy Cashew Cheese Pasta

Recipe source: The Vegan Table

UPDATE: I baked the leftovers and it was good, but I think I like it better unbaked.

Comments

    • says

      Hmmmm…not really. And never use brewer’s yeast–some people think they’re the same and they definitely are not. I guess you can skip it, but I’m not sure how it would affect the recipe. You can buy a small amount of nutritional yeast–sometimes in bulk and in a bottle/jug–and believe me, I think you’ll love this recipe enough that you’ll make it again and the yeast won’t go to waste. Then again…1/2 a cup isn’t that much…My only concern is how it may affect the consistency and I’m afraid subbing in anything would alter the taste. The nutritional yeast does give non dairy sauces more of a cheesy texture and taste, so I tend to think it’s worth using. Plus, it’s a great dose of B vitamins whether you’re a vegan or not. :)

      • says

        So, I inadvertently figured out if you need nutritional yeast: Yes. It actually helps make it thick. I didn’t realize I was out of the yeast when I started making this and so I decided to just go with it. It definitely wasn’t as thick. It tasted fine, but I could taste a difference without it. However, I did add 1-1/2 tsp of truffle oil (when adding the other oil) and it was so delicious!

    • says

      The one thing I’ve learned is that “fake” mac and cheese, will NEVER taste like the real thing–the sooner us vegans realize that, the better. :) However, with that said, this is damn close. It has a creamy texture and the flavor is so close to some type of cheese, that I can hardly believe it. It’s not a cheddar taste, but more like a thick, creamy white sauce. I made a batch last Sunday and ate it for lunch just about all week. I love it, even my 6th grader loves it–and it’s hard to please kids with fake mac and cheese. The nutritional yeast really helps give it that cheezy taste. Worth trying, for sure.

  1. Jennifer says

    This looked so good and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand for dinner tonight. It was fantastic! Totally addictive! I halved the recipes and use a little less olive oil, but other than that left the recipe the same. What I loved about it was that it wasn’t too heavy. The incorporation of spring peas and some spinach made it the perfect early summer meal.

    Thank you for an awesome post!

    • says

      Thanks! I’m so glad you liked it. It’s by far one of my favorite recipes ever and I truly have to limit myself because I will eat so much of it! Next time I’ll take your lead and add some veggies. :)

  2. says

    So I bookmarked this many months ago and finally got around to making it today.

    I’m not sure if I love you or hate you right now. My thighs and butt are already expanding at exponential rates just thinking about the massive bowl of leftovers on the counter! But seriously, I have to agree that this is the best Mac-n-Cheeze recipe I’ve ever had. It must be the miso paste that really sets it apart for me… it kind of has a sharp taste or something that really makes the whole thing taste really decadent. Oh, and the truffle oil didn’t hurt – good thinking on that one!

    Thanks again for this. When I finally wobble back to the kitchen, I’ll take a couple photos and link to your recipe on my blog :)

    • says

      Oh no! Don’t hate me :) Hate Colleen Patrick Goudreau who came up with the original recipe–she’s who we need to blame. It’s so delicious, isn’t it? I love that it has a taste all its own and doesn’t try to imitate real mac and cheese. It’s dangerous—and I keep making it! I’m looking forward to checking out your site!

      • says

        Hey! Just writing my piece about this and want to reference the recipe author. I see she’s a cookbook writer. Do you know the name of the book, by chance? I may need to buy it after this awesome recipe! Did you make any mods or is it her exact recipe? Thanks!

        • says

          Yes—her name’s Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of The Vegan Table. LOVE her recipes! Her Joy of Vegan Baking is also fabulous. I think I pretty much just followed her recipe for this one–I just suggested adding the truffle oil. She also mentions it can be baked, but I’m not crazy about that version, so I prefer it unbaked. She uses elbow mac and I just use shells or bowties usually. She gives instructions for the Hard Cashew Cheese using this recipe, but I found it a tiny bit bland, so I’ve modified that one, but her recipe for this one is pretty flawless!

  3. Eva says

    This was excellent! I accidentally cooked the miso and lemon juice in the pot with the other cooked ingredients and the only thing that seemed a little off was how sweet the “cheese” was. Does it normally taste sweet?

    • says

      I’m glad you liked it! Addicting, isn’t it?! As far as the sweetness goes, I guess I’ve never noticed that before–or at least it’s not an obvious taste to me. I wonder if miso takes on a sweetness taste when it’s cooked like that, otherwise, it just get mixed in at the end. Next time you make it (adding the miso and lemon juice at the end :) ) I’ll be curious to know if you notice a difference.

      • says

        Just wanted to let you know I tried this today, and it was fantastic. I, too, experienced the sweetness, but after enjoying my husband I did the math – I had light (sweet) miso, almond milk and raw cashews – all are kind of sweet on their own.

        Just a note, this was much better reheated. My husband (omnivore) thought this reminded him of a sweet alfredo.

        We decided that by thinking of it as a more decadant cream sauce it helped us not try to compare it with macaroni and cheese!

        http://crashtestvegetarian.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/rotini-and-cashew-cream-sauce/

        • Amy says

          I tried the sauce before adding miso and it was way too sweet! Then I realized I bought sweetened almond milk. I’m going to try again with unsweetened.

          We have vegan and non-vegan members of the household and the non-vegan thought this was richer than real cheese. I might like it with less of the milk mixture, too. Thank you!

          • Tommy says

            I made this following the recipe pretty much to the letter, and the result was really good! It was both a little sweeter (I used unsweetened hazelnut milk, which still has a somewhat sweet-ish flavor), and just a bit more liquid than I’d like. So, I’m thinking next time around, I may use just a bit more miso (or perhaps a darker, more strongly flavored miso), nutritional yeast and salt, and reduce the amount of hazelnut milk by a cup. Might also try adding a little brown mustard and curry powder next time around, as well.

  4. Tierney says

    I make this with Spaetzle…which is basically the German style mac and cheese. I melt in a little bit of the mozzarella Daiya as well as some earth balance. I also add broccoli florets and it’s a great touch! Really great cheesy sauce recipe! :)

  5. comevegetales says

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I have “The Joy of Vegan Baking” cookbook and now I’ll have to get her other one if it’s got more recipes like this. My toddler devoured his mac & cheez with some added carrots and broccoli, and my husband (weeknight vegan) has never raved so much about anything I’ve ever made before. You made our dinner a smashing success! My husband has even requested that this be a weekly dinner. Thanks :)

  6. says

    Love that you used two different pasta shapes – that makes it so much more visually interesting. I’ll have to make this – you have good taste, I can tell, I used the same theme for my blog! I’m your newest follower. :)

  7. Sanne Michelle says

    Just made this tonight for the first time… it was so great! I used almond milk, and it was delicious. The almond milk gave it kind of a sweet taste, which I enjoyed. I may try unsweetened soy milk next time to see how that changes the flavor, though. Also, I used brown miso because the store I went to didn’t have white or yellow, and it seemed to work fine. I baked it with peas mixed in and bread crumbs on top and it was fantastic! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    • says

      I’m so glad! I’ve used unsweetened almond milk before and I think it does make it better. I’ve never used brown miso, but I’m sure it doesn’t make a difference. Peas are a great addition–I think mushrooms would be, too.

  8. Shelly says

    Just tried the recipe for the first time. The overall taste was very good, but the cheese was very running. Any ideas what we did wrong?

    Thanks

    • says

      Well, my guess is that it just didn’t simmer long enough after you added the cornstarch and oil. That has happened to me before. Sometimes leaving out the nutritional yeast will do that, too. Also, after I mix the pasta with the sauce, I’ll heat it up a little before serving it–that usually thickens it up a bit. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out right for you–I hope you try it again though.

      • Shelly says

        That may have been the problem, I’m pretty sure we didn’t go for a full 10 minutes.

        Our food processor doesn’t allow for adding the cheese mixture while running, that shouldn’t cause any problems should it?

        Thanks for you quick response.

  9. says

    I just wanted to say, I made this recipe last night and it is excellent. In the course of a year (since I gave up animal products), I have probably made 20 different mac ‘n cheeze recipes. This ties with one other as my favorite recipe yet! Which says a lot, as there are some really good recipes out there! I soaked my cashews for a couple hours before using, used about 1/2 tsp of truffle oil, used whole wheat macaroni, home-made almond milk, and about 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. My husband said it reminded him of a stroganoff and he absolutely loved it. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • says

      I hear ya! I’ve tried so many vegan “mac n cheeses” in the 2 years I’ve been vegan, but none of them have been as delicious as this one. The sauce can be used for other stuff, too like rice, cauliflower, broccoli, even nachos! I’d love to make my own almond milk–is it a difficult process?

      • says

        Oh my gosh, I get these raw organic almonds from LivingNutz (though any raw almonds will do) and they make the most delicious almond milk. Mix 1 cup of overnight soaked almonds, blend (I use a vitamix) with 4 cups of water, strain through a nut bag. Easy and so good. It’s the only milk we drink anymore. You can add a few pitted dates & vanilla too, if you want something a little sweeter. Once you make your own, it’s pretty hard to go back to drinking the commercial kind.

    • says

      I’ve never made it without the miso, so I’m not sure if there is a big taste difference. Miso has a salty flavor, so it may be that you could just season it with a little salt instead. I’ve noticed with other dishes, however, that miso really adds to the overall flavor and I love adding it to sauces, but feel free to omit it.

  10. Lilly canoe says

    Sounds good, can’t wait to try it. Only concern is miso as I’m allergic to soy products. I’ve heard using extra salt and tahini would be good if you have a soy allergy like me.

      • Lilly canoe says

        Not too bad. I’m moving away from the processed “cheezes” out there (Daiya, Galaxy Foods, etc…) and this one caught my eye since it was more natural and less processed. It’s pretty good. I’m going to refer to this one in the future. The processed “cheezes” out there have a little advantage because they have a cheese flavor where this one is more cashew and nutritional yeast but if anyone out there wants a more natural cheese then this is one of the recipes to try. Thanks for the recipe :)

        • says

          I’m glad you liked it. Yes, I think it’s smart to move away from the processed cheese–someday I’ll get there, but unfortunately, I’ve grown rather fond of them! Did you use tahini instead of miso?

          • Lilly canoe says

            Yes I used the tahini and extra salt instead of miso. Yes it worked for me. I don’t know if mine would be described as “cheese” but it’s a nice pasta dish anyway!

  11. ChefJen says

    Amazing recipe! Thank you so much! This is the first vegan mac and cheese recipe I have tried and it will definitely be my last. Sooooo good! I subbed steamed cauliflower for the noodles and my boyfriend didn’t even know it wasn’t real cheese. Thanks again!

    • says

      That’s a good question. Personally, I don’t think this dish is as good when baked–it tends to get too dry–but that’s with the pasta. A pot pie could be different. Maybe if you add some veggie broth to it, it would still have a cheezy taste at least, and hopefully still creamy. It’s probably worth a shot. Let me know if you do–I’d love to hear how it comes out.

  12. Rosie says

    “Hi” .. quick question..?? Can you make this sauce in a blender? I unfortunately don’t own a food processor. Well overdue that I go out buy one, just havn’t found the time. Anyway, thanks so much for all of your fantastic recipies and tips. I absolutely LOVE your blog. You’ve saved me a fortune on cookbooks! ;)

    Keep up the great work! =D

    • says

      it took some dedication, but in a few months i found a “like-new” cuisinart food processor at goodwill for ten bucks! you might be able to find one on craigslist as well :)

      • Rosie says

        Wow! Lucky You!! I’ve been pouring over ‘Craigslist’ these past few weeks, but not much success. I think it’s time I bite the bullet and go out and invest in a decent food processor. But no matter how nice it is, my recipes will NEVER look as delicious as yours. lol Keep up the great work. ;)

    • ambur says

      Question, are the fat and calories in this sky high or are we still doing better than real Mac and cheese? Because I can see myself eating lots more of this in the future!

      • says

        Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author of The Vegan Table (where the recipe is from) lists the nutritional facts per serving: 443 calories, 29g of fat, 17g protein, 33g of carbs, 7g fiber, no cholesterol, 1025 mg sodium. It might seem high in fat, but I think if you look at regular mac and cheese, you’d see that it’s much higher. For example this recipe for homemade mac and cheese has twice the calories and 48g of fat and 142mg of cholesterol. This recipe is certainly less. First, nondairy milk such as almond milk is fat free, and you’re receiving the healthy fats from the cashews (not to mention protein). I think it tastes more sinful than it really is. The added benefits is that you’re not ingesting the hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful affects of cow’s milk (which is loaded with saturated fat). No, it shouldn’t be something you make every third day, but occasionally, I don’t see why not. Adding some veggies to it could help you fill up on broccoli or mushrooms instead of all pasta and sauce. Good question!

  13. Rachel says

    I’m not vegan, but have a dairy allergy, and just loved this sauce. I didn’t actually add the miso (I didn’t have any) or the lemon juice because it already tasted so nice that I didn’t think it needed it, so can be done even more simply! Thanks so much. You have made me very happy. I’ve missed mac and cheese so much.

  14. MaddyG says

    holy lord this was delicious! two things I learned though; one, never try this in your Vitamix, lol. I was being lazy and didn’t wan to drag out the food processor but next time I definitely will. It worked but it was way more trouble than it would be if made as you suggested. Two, I subbed quinoa flour for the corn starch since I had it on hand and wanted the nutritional boost and it worked like a charm! I used twice the amount as suggested for corn starch, thickened beautifully and we were both blown away by the flavor. Thank you so much for this, we were paying $14 per serving for it at a local restaurant, now we can make batches at home! Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow and the yummy leftovers! :)

    • says

      Yea! Glad you liked it. The quinoa flour is a great idea. I typically use quinoa pasta when I make this, so that might be quinoa-overload for me, but it’s a great suggestion. I always look forward to the leftovers (if there are any), and I think it works best to store the pasta and sauce separately, then heat the sauce over the stove. Otherwise, it gets a little dry.

  15. ashley says

    This is such an amazing recipe! We are new to a plant based/vegan diet and I was looking for something to treat my kids with to show them it’s not all salads all the time! They LOVED it and so did I, and I don’t even really like mac n cheese! Thanks so much!

  16. Thea says

    This was so delicious. My bestie and I were dying for comfort food, and I’ve been trying to eat mostly vegan lately. This was astonishingly cheezy and really hit the spot. We ended up using red miso and black truffle oil, but whatevs, It was still so very good. We used whole wheat conchiglie pasta, and the sauce goes so well with whole wheat pasta that I cannot imagine subbing out any other pasta unless dietary needs forced me to. Thanks for sharing this!

    • says

      Fantastic! I’m so glad you liked it. It’s definitely a staple around here. I think I’ve also used red miso in this before, as well as truffle oil–so decadent! :-)

  17. rosie820 says

    This was my first vegan ‘cheeze’ sauce, made a 1/2 recipe to put over steamed potatoes and broccoli.. I can finally imagine giving up cheese! Thank you so much!!

    Sorry if you got 2 comments, my internet is a mess lol

  18. says

    Made this tonight and had everything but the miso. I used some Bragg’s for flavor and it was delish. SO rich though. I think I’ll use less canola next time and measure out a portion for myself. It was TOO easy to eat TOO much. Yum.

  19. Rachel says

    We are a Veg fam and this was my first attempt at a creamy nut cheese. I did tweak it a little, cut back on the non dairy milk and added some Braggs Apple Cider vinegar to cut the sweetness. Instead of the canola I used a tablespoon of coconut oil. One other thing that I did was added a small onion into the food processor, this was delicious. My 8 yr old sons had two plates and he is a real “fake” cheese critic. We will certainly make this again! I can not wait unitl I do not feel so full so I can have more! Namaste!

  20. Lauren says

    oh, I forgot to add: I’m allergic to corn and wheat AND rice…so I used 2 table spoons of arowroot powder and poured this over quinoa…really yummy :)

  21. lesmakeafamily says

    My goodness, this was GOOD. I didn’t have miso, so I added a some sea salt. I also added some mustard for a little extra kick. I must admit, I was shocked at how much oil I was adding but, for a treat, it is worth it. I cannot WAIT for my wife to come home and try this!

    • says

      Yeah, there is a lot of oil–I typically scale back on it quite a bit because I don’t think all of it is necessary. Glad you liked it! Adding mustard is a great idea. :-)

      • lesmakeafamily says

        I made a sort-of-bake; wholewheat pasta in a tomato (“marinara” to my transatlantic friends) sauce, covered in the steamed florets of a whole head of broccoli and cauliflower, covered in your cashew cheese sauce. Also realised I forgot the lemon juice, so will try that next time. My newly vegan wife raved about it.

  22. Shari says

    another non-vegan here, this sauce is lovely. the tweaks I made were using Earth Balance instead of canola oil and adding about 1/4 of dry white wine. also some cayenne pepper at the end. I don’t have truffle oil yet but I imagine that will be the icing on the cake!

  23. Anu says

    My 14 year old vegan son was brought close to tears – he had been missing mac n’ cheese so much! I added chopped and sauteed onions, half a banana pepper as well as some toasted ground cumin to the mix to make it Southwestern style. Awesome! Happy 14 year old vegan is happy… “and by happy he means ECSTATIC!!!!!!!!!!!”

  24. Nanci says

    I made this sauce to pour over baked vegan (avocado, bean and baby bella) enchiladas, and OMG it tasted fabulous! We have been vegetarian for a while but recently cut out dairy. Two of my kids practically used to live on cheese, and they both really liked this sauce. Only problem: it was VERY thin. I followed the recipe exactly (afraid not to!) except that I mixed the cornstarch with a little of the almond milk first, then mixed into the pan of milk and oil, the way my mom used to do with gravy. Is it supposed to be really thin? If not, did my mixing of the cornstarch cause this? Any suggestions??

    • says

      Yum! I never thought to use it an enchilada sauce! As far as the consistency goes, whenever I make it, I combine it with the pasta in the pot and turn the heat up a little. When it starts to sizzle, I turn it down and stir it. It thickens up beautifully. I think its important to let it simmer on low while covered before adding it to anything–just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overflow. If that doesn’t work, try reducing the milk to 3 cups instead of 3-1/2.

      • Nanci says

        After I left the post last night, I took the time to read through all the comments, and I think I probably did not simmer long enough. I was in a hurry and probably only simmered 4 or 5 minutes. Will definitely try again soon! This is a keeper, for sure.

      • says

        AWESOME!!!!!!! My husband loved it and says that it is better than the regular mac and cheese I made years ago. I had to tweak some ingredients (no miso, but used braggs aminos and a little tahini). I had a lot of sauce left over….I was bummed that I didn’t make more pasta, but I have some leftover for some broccoli and rice tomorrow!!!!!! Thank you! This is a repeater!

  25. Judith says

    I love cheese but healthwise, i am trying to avoid it. It seems the recipe is easy and looks good and i think also the taste base on the other comments. I am a Filipino but living in Thailand. My problem is, I don’t know where I can buy miso paste. Can I omit that one? Thanks :)

    • says

      This is certainly a great “cheese” substitute. :-) Yes, you can leave out the miso. If you can get a hold of some tahini, you can mix that with some salt and use that instead–I know a few people have done that.

  26. angie says

    This is really good. Normally I would make chef chloe’s mac and cheese, but I’m starting to side with this recipe. I like the flavor the cashews bring out. I didn’t have cornstarch so I used 6 table spoons of flour.

  27. Jenny H says

    Hey friend! I cannot WAIT to make this! Maybe dinner tonight? Not vegan (as you know), so will serve it up with chicken and broccoli… yum!

      • says

        So my first comment did show up! Wasn’t sure it would as my computer was acting funny. Got any pudding recipes? Wanting to make an ice-box cake for the next bday- no more baking in 100 degree heat!

        • says

          Hmmmm…pudding…I can’t say I have ever attempted making pudding before. I wasn’t a big pudding fan before I went veg…although my sister makes a pretty good bread pudding. Maybe I could recipe and try veganizing it.

    • says

      FInally trying this for the first time- it seems the babe can’t do diary or gluten, meaning I can’t do dairy or gluten :). We’ll see if he can do soy….

      • says

        Oh no! Well, if soy doesn’t do the trick, you can sub in almond milk and use some tahini and salt in place of the miso. I’d be glad to send you some basic dairy-free recipes such as ricotta cheese and other recommendations to hopefully make the switch a bit easier :-) I need to get my butt over to your place to see that cute babe! (Pics on Facebook just aren’t the same)!

    • says

      Definitely! Try mixing tahini with some salt. I know some other people have had success with that. The miso isn’t a big deal anyway, it’s all a matter of taste. But I think the tahini/salt mixture would work well. :-)

    • says

      No, you certainly don’t have to use miso. If you have some tahini, I suggest mixing about a 1/4 C with some salt and using that as a substitute. Otherwise, I’m sure it’s fine to omit. I’ve never not used miso, so I don’t know how leaving it out affects the taste, but I’m sure it’s fine.

  28. Vicki says

    I subbed flour (2x) for the cornstarch because I was out, reduced the oil by half (and used olive oil), used 1tsp of salt, and it was fantastic! The miso and lemon juice give it a strong flavor that holds up to pasta well. I think if I were making this for potato, I would leave them both out.
    Even with changes, Colleen’s recipes have always been outstanding! Thanks for sharing :)

    • says

      Yeah, I think over the course of making this dish, I’ve used less oil–and usually olive oil, too. I also tend to use 3 cups of almond milk instead of 3 and a half–it just seems to turn out thicker.

  29. Gina says

    Being a newly vegan family, I’m encountering some rebellion when it comes to missing dairy. I believe you just gave me an “in” with my teenage son!! Thank you!!!!

  30. Gina Benedict says

    Seeing that we are gluten-free as well, what can I substitute for the miso? I am still trying to get the hang of being vegan and gluten-free, so by the time it comes to substituting ingredients, my head starts to spin!!

  31. Gina Benedict says

    Thanks for the quick reply! My whole family loved it! I doubled the recipe and passed it around to anyone that was interested. They all loved it and look forward to using it in other recipes like Potatoes Au Gratin, Magic Cheese Sauce (to go over brocolli for the kiddos), Nachos for family movie night! There is something about comfort foods that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Thanks!!!!

  32. Mary Ann Martin says

    Holy cow, this is good!! I have been a vegetarian for several years but am a new vegan. I was surprised by how buttery and cheese like this tastes! I used the minute miso as I couldn’t find miso paste in my store and it turned out fine. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

  33. Heather says

    I guess I’m the only one, but we didn’t care for this. Actually I thought it was okay, but the kids didn’t like it at all. It’s soooo sweet! I probably used the wrong milk — used original almond milk since that’s what we always have. Should have gotten unsweetened (but thought that as long as it wasn’t vanilla it might be okay). Otherwise followed recipe exactly except using flour instead of corn starch. I did add a little to a tomato sauce to make a tomato cream sauce. Any suggestions as to what else I could do with it? I made the whole recipe — should have made a smaller batch first! I don’t want to waste it so I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to use it for something else or add to it to make it less sweet? Could I freeze it in small batches to add as a creamy sauce to other recipes? Thanks!

    • says

      Bummer! Well, I think freezing it in little batches would be a good idea. You could try it over a baked potato, steamed vegetables, or as a nacho cheese (maybe add a can of Rotel tomatoes with green chilies). I guess I never noticed it being very sweet. What kind of miso did you use? I find the red miso to be on the sweet side . . . Maybe another reader will have a suggestion on the sweetness factor, because I’m just not sure what would work to unsweeten it

      • Heather says

        Just looked at my miso — it’s called “sweet white miso.” It’s all making sense now! ;) I like the nacho cheese idea — maybe I’ll try a little with some spicy salsa and see what that tastes like. Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have to try the sauce again with less sweet ingredients!!

  34. Amy says

    Made this up for our cheezy quinoa and vegetable bake. I used about half the recipe and put the rest in the fridge. I was worried it would not reheat well. Surprise – it reheated just fine! This is now BY FAR my go to vegan cheeze sauce. FREAKIN DELISH!

    • Amy says

      Oh and I didn’t have any miso on hand and did the tahini/salt and it was great. I did need to up the salt more than I thought I would have to. Oh and I upped the pepper too, but that is just my taste.

  35. says

    I’m not vegan, but I make a garlic cream sauce using cashews that is lovely! I used it to make a baked macaroni the other day using sheep’s feta (for your non-vegan readers), but it’s VERY nice on it’s own. In fact, my milk loving nephew LOVED it on its own; he thought it was mac and cheese.

    I find if you soak your cashews overnight, or boil them for 10mins, then blend with one or two garlic cloves and equal parts pasta water to cashews you get a thicker sauce (extra thick cashew cream). You can add the nutritional yeast (I don’t use it, but for this recipe’s sake) and other seasonings, in the blender and then add it to your sauce pan to heat. It will be thick and creamy and you can add more pasta water to thin if necessary. This keeps you from needing cornstarch and you don’t waste your starch filled pasta broth.

    If as some mentioned the sauce is sweet, you can soak the cashews for a few days in the refrigerator, draining and adding fresh water each day in the refrigerator. This will remove some the cashew flavor, allowing you to impart your own flavors more effectively.

    I wonder if you can tell by my post that I’m a cashew cream enthusiast…lol…I LOVE the stuff and use it in vegan and non-vegan cooking all the time to replace milk/cream.

  36. Deborah Carlson says

    Hi all! New to whole foods plant based diet and trying to not use any oil. What would you recommend in its place? Thanks for your help and any suggestions you could offer :)

    • says

      Welcome to the plant side! My first thought, is that you may be able to do without the oil all together; I can’t see it making a huge difference. I tend to cut it half anyway when I make this dish. You could also try a little unsweetened applesauce, or even half an avocado. You’ll end up with green mac and cheese, but I have a feeling it’d be really delicious! Maybe another reader would have an idea. Let me know what you try–I’d be interested to know how it turns out.

  37. Deborah says

    Hi again! Made your Creamy Mac and Cheese tonight and it was a HUGE hit! Didn’t use any oil and it still came out fabulous

    • says

      Fantastic! Maybe next time I’ll make it without oil too, especially if it tastes great without it. I have a 14 year old son, so I can imagine your joy finding a meal they like that everyone likes!

  38. says

    Great recipe!!!! I liked it way better before I put the miso in, so I’ll be leaving that out the next time (I’m not a huge miso fan and without it’s just perfect!) Thanks!

  39. J P says

    This was excellent. All my kids loved it and even my husband (who never liked mac and cheese before we were plant-based) enjoyed it. I used mostly rice milk (it’s what we drink) and a smidge of coconut milk because I ran out of rice. :) I also halved the nutritional yeast (the last of what was in the cupboard). Apparently I need to plan ahead. Anyway, we all ate too much and it was great! Thanks.

  40. Amanda says

    My daughter and I made this last night. We used the tahini instead of miso. Can I just say that we were totally blown away by it. It is absolutely delicious!!! Mac and cheese is one of our favourite comfort foods and this beats all other homemade recipes I’ve tried, vegan or not! I also love that the ingredients are things I always have in the house. We used brown rice gluten free macaroni. It made for a delicious dinner without wheat bloat or heaviness from lots of dairy cheese. This recipe has been bookmarked and favourited! This is our new Mac and cheese go to recipe. Even my non-vegan friends will be served this. I won’t tell them its vegan and I bet they won’t even realize it. Thanks for sharing it!

  41. gratefulvegan812 says

    I just made this and it was the best Mac & Cheese I’ve ever tasted. My 6-year-old agrees. I should have followed your recipe. I just went straight to the Vegan Table. Colleen uses an awful lot of oil. I see you cut it in half. I’ll definitely try that next time. Colleen’s book is definitely not a diet book, but there sure is some good stuff in there:) Do you notice a difference in flavor or texture cutting down the oil? Sorry, there are so many comments here, I admit I didn’t read through them all, so maybe my answer is in there somewhere. I love what you said about vegans needing to realize that vegan mac and cheese is never going to taste like “the real thing”. I’d eat this mac and cheese any day over that gloppy, artery-clogging stuff from the old days (and as much as I loved the Kraft stuff in a box as a kid, I can’t imagine ever feeding that junk to my own child! One more thing, in my opinion there is probably twice as much sauce and necessary. My food processor was way too full and flowing out of the cracks. I would either half the recipe or plan to use the sauce on something else over the next few days. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe!

    • says

      I just made this tonight at a friend’s house…I love it! Yes, I usually cut the oil (in most recipes) because I find it so unnecessary, and no, I don’t notice a taste difference. My friend had a great suggestion too: before adding all the milk to the pan (which I recommend using 3 cups instead of 3-1/2) reserve about 1/2 cup and shake it up with the arrowroot (or cornstarch) before adding it to the pan; it just thickens up better. I also tend to use a lot more than the 8-oz of pasta–usually more around 13 or 14 ounces. Some people have suggested adding veggies, but I haven’t done that yet; I guess I’m not ready to mess with a good thing! ;-)

      • says

        So, do you make it every night or was that just a coincidence that you made it the same day I replied? Just kidding! My son would probably eat it every night. He had three bowls yesterday. Next time I’ll have to get some greens in him before he starts on the mac & cheese, or just add some greens to the recipe. I’m sure Colleen puts some kale in hers. I’ll try the shake trick next time, too. I did notice some chunks in the bottom of the food processor. I’ll definitely cut back on the oil next time. Thanks for your quick reply April. Have a nice week. Mychael M

  42. celesta says

    I love the promise of this recipe. Any reason for using garlic & onion powders rather than just garlic & onion? Thank you for a great experiment in vegan cheese.

    • says

      No, you don’t have to use it (it’s fermented soybean paste). You’d find it in the refrigerated case where the tofu is sold. Other readers have commented about not using it as well—some suggest mixing some tahini and salt, or just omitting it all together. I happen to love miso, so I recommend using it if you can. I’ve actually never NOT used it, so I’m not sure how it affects the taste of this dish. If you have a chance, check out some of the previous comments; they might be able to help :-)

  43. Kari says

    I have tried several vegan mac and cheez recipes and never liked any of them-they were always a little too sweet, no matter how much salt was added, and lacked body. I had given up the attempt when I stumbled across your recipe. The truffle oil and miso definitely make this one a HIT! They give it that rich umami taste that is so fulfilling. Thank you SO much for sharing it!

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