This nut-free vegan mac and cheese is a delicious twist on a classic comfort food. It is a simple, healthy, and delicious recipe that will satisfy your cravings for a creamy, cheesy pasta dish without using any dairy, nuts, oil, or gluten. It is a veggie-packed sauce that can be ready in just 20 minutes.
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When it comes to vegan cheese sauces, there is nothing like this particular recipe, this spicy vegan queso dip, or this creamy vegan nacho cheese. They are perfect for every occasion and allow you to enjoy classics without any dairy or animal products.
❤️ Why you’ll love it
One of the reasons I absolutely adore this recipe is the creamy texture that the potatoes and sweet potatoes lend to the sauce. It is amazing how these simple, humble ingredients can transform into a velvety, rich sauce that is so satisfying and comforting.
Plus, the sunflower seeds add a delicious crunch and make the dish more filling, perfect for those days when you need a hearty meal. This recipe also uses nutritional yeast. It has a mature, nutty, and rich flavor that is similar to dairy Parmesan cheese. It gives the sauce a depth of flavor that is hard to achieve with other plant-based ingredients.
You will also get a beautiful color that is reminiscent of traditional mac and cheese, thanks to the carrots and sweet potatoes. It gives the sauce an orange hue, making it even more appetizing and delicious.
🧾 Key ingredients
All of the ingredients needed to make nut-free vegan mac and cheese are simple and easy to find. You may already have several of these items in your pantry. I have also included several substitutes and alternatives so everyone can try this delicious recipe.
Potato, sweet potato, and carrot form the nutritious and colorful foundation of this vegan mac and cheese. These root vegetables add a rich, creamy texture to the dish. Remember to chop these veggies evenly and small to reduce cooking time.
Onion and garlic are essential for flavoring the dish. They add a depth of flavor that complements the sweetness of the root vegetables and the umami of the nutritional yeast.
Sunflower seeds are a great nut-free alternative that adds creaminess to the sauce.
Nutritional yeast is a key ingredient in vegan cooking, providing a cheesy flavor without any dairy.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
To make this nut-free vegan mac and cheese, the most crucial piece of equipment you will need is a high-powered blender. I am a big fan of my reliable Vitamix, which effortlessly transforms any ingredients into a silky, creamy consistency. This blender is particularly useful for this recipe as it guarantees that the sauce, made from vegetables and sunflower seeds, achieves a perfect smoothness that coats the pasta beautifully.
Preparing the ingredients
Start by boiling water in a large pot and add pasta. Follow the instructions on the pasta packaging for cooking time.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Peel and dice the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Remember, the smaller the dice, the shorter the cooking time will be.
Next, peel and chop the onion and garlic. Set these aside for later use.
Making the nut-free vegan mac and cheese
In a separate pan, add diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, chopped onion, and garlic.
Addd vegetable browht and allow these ingredients to cook until they are soft. Once the vegetables are cooked, reserve one cup of the cooking water. This will be used later in the recipe.
Transfer the cooked vegetables to a blender.
Add the sunflower seeds, salt, pepper, sweet paprika powder, and rice flour or cornstarch.
Blend these ingredients until they form a creamy sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water to achieve the desired consistency. Add nutritional yeast at last.
Drain the pasta once it is cooked. Pour the creamy sauce over the pasta, stir well to combine, and serve. Enjoy your delicious, nut-free vegan mac and cheese!
💡 Expert tip
Pay attention to the size of your vegetable dice to guarantee that your nut-free vegan mac and cheese turns out perfectly creamy and delicious. All root vegetables are hard and require significant time to soften. The smaller you dice your potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, the shorter the cooking time will be. This speeds up your cooking process and helps ensure your vegetables blend into a smooth and creamy sauce without chunks.
Experiment with different seeds. Sunflower seeds are not the only seeds that can make this dish creamy and delicious. Try substituting them with pumpkin seeds or flax seeds for a different flavor profile. Each seed brings a unique taste and nutritional benefits to this recipe.
Spice it up with chili flakes. If you prefer your food with a bit of heat, consider adding some chili flakes to the sauce. This will spice your vegan mac and cheese without overpowering the other flavors.
Turn it into a full meal by adding sauteed vegetables. Kale, asparagus, broccoli, and green beans go great with the flavors of this dish. You can also consider plant-based proteins such as crispy tofu or meaty oyster mushrooms.
🥣 Serving ideas
This nut-free vegan mac and cheese is one of the most delicious vegan comfort food recipes you’ll ever try. Consider serving it with some vegetables on the side, such as roasted asparagus and mushrooms, sautéed carrots in maple thyme glaze, or pesto vegetables.
Consider serving a delicious vegan dessert after enjoying this comfort meal. These vegan brownies are incredible and will finish off the meal with another great family favorite. I also love serving a caramel apple crisp pie after enjoying this nut-free dish.
❄️ Storing tips
Storing and reheating this vegan mac and cheese is simple, and it does not affect the taste or the creamy texture. In fact, it may taste better after a day or two as the flavors have more time to blend together.
To store the leftover sauce, allow it to cool down completely first. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh and delicious for up to three days.
Unfortunately, freezing is not recommended. This is because it contains many vegetables, which can become mushy and lose their texture when frozen and then thawed. This can result in a less-than-ideal consistency.
When you are ready to enjoy it again, you will need to reheat it. To do this, place it in a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat on the stove.
Yes, you can use other types of potatoes in this recipe. The recipe calls for regular potatoes and sweet potatoes, but feel free to use any variety you have on hand. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as different types of potatoes may have different cooking times.
You can substitute sunflower seeds with other seeds or nuts if you do not have them. Pumpkin seeds or cashews could be a good alternative. However, remember that this might change the flavor of the dip.
The hot chili powder or flakes add a bit of heat to the vegan queso dip. However, if you are not a fan of spicy food, you can reduce the amount or omit it altogether. The dip will still be flavorful without it.
Yes, you can add other vegetables to this dip. Feel free to experiment with other veggies you have on hand. Just remember to adjust the cooking time as needed.
If your sauce is not thick enough, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch and put it back on the stove. Bring it to a boil while stirring until it thickens to your desired consistency. Remember, sauces with added starch need to be hot to thicken properly. You can also consider other ways to thicken it. I have a complete guide on the 20 ways to thicken a dish.
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Nut-free Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup Potato (diced) 1 medium
- 1 cup Sweet potato (diced) 1 small/medium
- ½ cup Carrot (diced) 1 medium
- ¼ cup Onion (chopped) ½ small
- 1 clove Garlic
- 3 cup Veggie broth
- Boil water and cook pasta as per instructions on the packaging.
- Peel and dice potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. The smaller you dice them, the shorter will be the cooking time.
- Peel and chop onion and garlic.
- Boil veggie broth in a pan and add all vegetables (diced potatoes, diced sweet potatoes, diced carrots, chopped onion, and garlic). Cook them until soft.
- When ready, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
Blend everything to make a sauce
- Transfer all cooked vegetables into a blender. Add sunflower seeds (no need to soak them), nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, sweet paprika powder, and rice flour or corn starch.
- Blend them until you have a creamy sauce.
- When pasta is ready, drain the water. Pour the sauce on the pasta and enjoy!