If you are looking for some vegan comfort food, this is your recipe. You don’t have to be a vegan or even a vegetarian to enjoy a vegan meal once in a while. This pasta dish delivers a big bowl of comfort and is a stick-to-your ribs kind of meal, perfect for these winter months.
I’m not going to try to pass this off as a macaroni and cheese knock off. If you prepare this thinking it’s going to taste just like the real thing, you will be disappointed. When I want macaroni and cheese, I make this.
When I want a lower-calorie, more nutrient-dense meal, I experiment with vegan pasta dishes.
I’ve never had great luck with making a vegan “cheeze” sauce. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every last recipe out there, and something was always off. I tweaked and changed ingredients, but never did I find a sauce I would ever have considered putting on my blog.
A couple of things work together with this sauce to create a great, vegan, creamy sauce that gives you that comforting, mac n cheese kind of feel.
The first thing I did differently was use some of the salted pasta water instead of a non-dairy milk. No non-dairy milks are neutral enough for me and I think that is what left so many of the other sauces I’ve tried tasting off. Using water lends a more mild, mellow flavor.
The soaked cashews give the sauce plenty of creaminess, and are subtly, but not overpoweringly, sweet.
Nutritional yeast adds flavor along with B vitamins (most brands include B12!), minerals, and a complete protein source. If you aren’t familiar with nutritional yeast, it’s yellow and looks a bit like fish food. Don’t let that scare you. You can find it in the natural/organic or bulk section of your grocery store. If you can’t find it at your regular grocery store, you can definitely get it at any health food store. I also have some for sale in my Amazon store.
The best part about this recipe is that it serves up a hearty, comforting, and nutritious meal in 20 minutes. You can’t go wrong with a quick and healthy dinner!
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, have a family member who can’t tolerate dairy, or you just like trying healthy, new recipes, I hope you’ll give this one a try.Print
20 minute dinner: vegan mac and (not) cheese with peas
This is a rich and creamy vegan pasta dish that delivers big comfort and big nutrition. Use gluten-free noodles to make it both vegan and gluten-free. Dinner in 20 minutes!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: main meal
- Cuisine: American
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight in water
- 2 cups salted pasta water (the water you boil your pasta in)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Put your macaroni in a medium pot and add enough water so the noodles are covered by about 2 inches. Add some salt to the water. Bring to a boil and cook according to package directions. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water before you drain it.
- Meanwhile, grind your soaked cashews in the food processor (a blender may work, too) until they are completely broken down.
- Return the reserved 2 cups of pasta water to the pot (just keep the pasta in the colander for now–no need to dirty another bowl or pot) and add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric, and salt. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer and add in the corn starch or arrowroot powder. Allow the sauce to thicken. Stir in the macaroni noodles and peas and cook until the peas are hot. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 322
- Sugar: 6.3g
- Sodium: 655mg
- Fat: 12.8g
- Carbohydrates: 37.8g
- Protein: 7.5g
Keywords: vegan main meal