This version is my favorite everyday vegan mac and cheese. It’s fast enough to make with a toddler undertow, and the leftovers reheat wonderfully with a splash of water or soymilk. You can also store the sauce and noodles separately if you aren’t generally a fan of leftovers, as it does soak in a bit.
Vegan Mac and Cheese can be seriously so simple. There are certainly more complicated recipes out there, and they can be fun for special occasions (check out Alison’s famous mac and cheese in Inclusive Vegan Cooking and Meal Planning!,) but this one is creamy, cheesy, stretchy, gooey, and takes no planning ahead whatsoever. It’s fantastic as a side, as well!
This version doesn’t have any coconut, potatoes, carrots, or butternut squash. There’s no steaming, no blending, just a simple vegan béchamel sauce made cheesy with some nutritional yeast, and stretchy with some tapioca starch. You can leave the tapioca starch out if you don’t have any, but I recommend adding a handful of store-bought vegan cheese in that case. The Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella works great for that same stretch.
Vegan Mac and Cheese
This easy, creamy vegan mac and cheese is made with pantry staples that require no planning ahead and is sure to be a weeknight staple.
- 1/3 cup neutral oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 cups unsweetened soymilk
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 tsp iodized salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- fresh pepper to taste
- smoked paprika to taste
- 1 tsp lactic acid
Cook your noodles—I like to make them in the instant pot since I can just cover them with water & put them on manual low pressure for 2 minutes with a quick release (this will spray a bit, you can let it sit longer to avoid that but I just toss it all in the dishwasher after so I don't mind. Make sure it won't get on your cabinets) but however you like to cook noodles is just fine.
While your noodles are cooking, heat a large skillet—I always use my 12 inch cast iron*—but your biggest skillet should be fine. Add the oil, heat through, whisk in flour. Whisk in nutritional yeast. Dance a little. Whisk in milk. Whisk in tapioca starch, if you're using it. Add some salt, taste. Add a cup of water, whisk, and add another cup if it seems like it needs it. It should be nice and smooth. Mix in your noodles if your pan is large enough, otherwise you can add the sauce to the noodles directly.
Scoop into bowls, top with fresh pepper & paprika, or however you like to serve yours, and enjoy!