Vegan mac and cheese, please!
April 19, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any tips for vegan mac and cheese? Or favorite recipes would be nice also.

I've never made any version of mac and cheese, vegan or otherwise. I'd like to make a killer vegan version so if anyone has any tried and true delicious recipes, that would be awesome. Or just general tips about cooking methods would be nice too.
posted by MaryDellamorte to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
My tip is to go to Cafe Gutenberg (since I see you're in Richmond) and beg them for the recipe for their "cheese" sauce. Oh my good lord.
posted by srrh at 4:45 PM on April 19, 2011

I like adding nutritional yeast, but I'm still looking for a killer recipe. Just something to keep your eyes open for, good luck!
posted by cestmoi15 at 4:45 PM on April 19, 2011

Vegan Dad's Creamy Mac and Cheeze recipe is the best I've found. I don't use it that often since cashews are relatively expensive but it is really good. Most of the time I just make a roux with 2-3 TB of Earth Balance and white flour, then add soy milk (plain Silk is better than homemade but I mostly use homemade) and nutritional yeast at about 2:1. It comes out OK, not good enough to serve to non-vegan guests but good enough.

Fake cheese has also come a really long way, there might be a brand now that melts and tastes decent.
posted by ChrisHartley at 4:48 PM on April 19, 2011

I love mac & cheese more than almost anything on earth. I had actual painful withdrawals from cheese when I went vegan. The Chicago Diner has a magnificent mac & cheese. They also have a cookbook (check the comments on that page for links to more of their recipes), but I'm not sure if the recipe is in there.

At home, I use this fake cheese along with a regular mac & cheese recipe and it's pretty much as close to perfect as possible. It takes a fair bit longer to melt than regular cheese, so if you try it, be patient. Once baked in the noodles, it is a bit more liquid than regular cheese right out of the oven, but it firms up in the fridge as leftovers. The consistency doesn't bother me too much; you may feel differently. The flavor is right on, though. Oh man, I'm hungry. Happy cookin'!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 4:54 PM on April 19, 2011

I've used Daiya vegan cheese on pizza a couple of times and it has worked well, to my unabashed amazement. It might be worth trying in mac n' cheese. I think the stuff Fui Non Sum linked is gross but taste is subjective. I've heard the Chicago Dinner mac & cheese is really good but from looking through the index of the cookbook on Amazon Look Inside I don't think they include it.
posted by ChrisHartley at 5:09 PM on April 19, 2011

I've only been vegan for a few months and was pretty impressed with the basic Cheezy Sauce from the Veganomicon, plus some shredded cheddar Daiya as mentioned above.

As a general rule, I trust anything Isa Chandra Moskowitz comes up with. I haven't made this one yet, but it's next on my list to try.
posted by something something at 5:14 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

What have you tried?

I think the basic nutritional yeast sauce can be pretty good, of which there are many different recipes. Most are a base of water/flour with some fat -- either a vegan margarine or olive oil -- and other flavorings like yellow mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and/or soy sauce. I don't necessarily have a certain recipe to recommend because I think a lot of it is personal preference -- for instance, I like to add a tablespoon or so of miso to mine to give it a more "fermented" flavor.

I've found almost all vegan "cheese" disappointing. I like the Galaxy slices on sandwiches and other "cheeses" are OK in small portions.

I haven't tried the the Mac & Shews recipe either, but I likewise trust Isa. I love the idea of the sauerkraut in this. (I think her nutritional yeast sauce in Appetite for Reduction is the best I've had.)

I do want to say, though, probably nothing is going to taste quite like what real mac & cheese tastes like. But I think that's OK -- if it's warm and saucy and has that kind of fermented umami flavor, it's doing it's job.
posted by darksong at 5:17 PM on April 19, 2011

I've made this vegan cheese sauce before, and it's delicious -- even my husband (who is on the Ron Swanson diet and would prefer all of his foods to be meat-based, then wrapped in bacon and covered in cheese) loved it.
posted by ThatSomething at 5:19 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing daiya. I've made mac and cheese with it. It was yummy.
posted by brevator at 5:22 PM on April 19, 2011

I'm not vegan, but I put wasabi in my mac & cheese and it is awesome.
posted by aunt_winnifred at 6:10 PM on April 19, 2011

My best results have come from the Mac Daddy recipe (using the Cheezy Sauce) in the aforementioned Veganomicon, but using mashed chickpeas instead of tofu. This part is really important, the chickpeas add some of the bite that cheese has that vegan recipes often fail to duplicate.
Maybe my tastebuds have been warped by being vegan too long, but I think its the best ever.
posted by anthropophagous at 6:30 PM on April 19, 2011

If you are able to find it, try Teese Cheese by Chicago Soydairy. GOOD stuff! I've had mac and cheese made with Teese and it's indistinguishable from the real thing, in my opinion.
posted by mrbob14 at 7:00 PM on April 19, 2011

Ok, I'm one those few people that hate Daiya - too sticky, not cheesy.

Anyway, this is the recipe that we use, and it is awesome. But don't add the cup of water, I'm not sure why it's there, but it would make the sauce way too runny. Feel free to use more than 1/4 a block of tofu, and I leave the extra salt/vegesal out. BUT the key we've found to make it super special is to add sriracha sauce. The more the better, but I guess it depends on your sriracha tolerance. We do 3 tbs, sometimes more :P

Another awesome addition: peas and veggie crumbles. Om nom nom!
posted by theRussian at 8:42 PM on April 19, 2011

My standby has always been the one from the New Farm cookbook. (Basically you just make a roux with flour and oil, add nutritional yeast and spices, pour it over cooked pasta, and bake.) It's super easy and once you've made it a few times you barely have to measure anymore.

But I just tried this one the other night and it was awesome! A little bit more work but still, really good.
posted by mumblingmynah at 10:05 AM on April 20, 2011

Response by poster: This update is long overdue but after my vegan mac and cheese adventure, this is the recipe I've come up with after much trial and error:


4 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups red or yellow potatoes (peeled or not, doesn't matter, I don't peel mine)
3/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped

Everything else:

1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup raw cashews (cooked cashews don't work well in this recipe)
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Salt to taste


Now you can use any kind of noodle you want but I've found it just works best with a traditional macaroni noodle. I even tried using wheat noodles but it didn't work out too well. Depending on how saucy you want your mac and cheese, you can use a 16 oz. bag of macaroni or less. I use about 3/4 of a 16 oz. bag but I like mine real saucy. Cook the macaroni until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and add just enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are really soft.

In a blender add the cooked vegetables WITH the cooking water and the everything else ingredients list. It's important to use a blender and not a food processor because the blender will get it creamy and smooth. My first batch I used a food processor and it really didn't turn out well. After you blend it, taste it and tweak it how you want. I only add just a smidge of salt since the soy sauce or tamari is already a bit salty. I'd suggest making the sauce first and tasting it before adding any salt. That was another mistake I made at one point and I ended up with a much too salty batch of cheese.

I add the cheese sauce first into a large mixing bowl and then add cooked macaroni until it's at the consistency I like. Any leftover macaroni noodles I just make into a pasta salad for lunch the next day.

Pour the mac and cheese into a large baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20 min or until the cheese starts to bubble. You can add bread crumbs before baking if you want but this recipe is so delicious that it doesn't really need it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:48 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

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