For so many people, it’s not meat, it’s the cheese that they can’t imagine living without when they consider a plant-based diet. Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret…you don’t have to!

Take this dairy-free macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s simple, economical, and uses everyday ingredients so you can dig into this luscious, creamy, family-favorite anytime you want. Our approach is deceptively delicious. Carrots, potatoes, and chickpeas are blended to silky-smooth perfection, and together with few additional ingredients, create a sauce that is undeniably cheesy.

This dish is so good, you may want to make it when the kids are not around. We encourage you to make extra sauce and use it on broccoli or baked potatoes. And try it with our nut parmesan for an extra-special delight! Perfect for school nights when getting nutritious food into tired kids can be a challenge.

Recipe Developer: Chef Linda Soper-Kolton from the Compassionate Cuisine program at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Serves 6 to 8 with leftover sauce


Cheese Sauce:

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped, about 2 heaping cups
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed, about 2 heaping cups
  • ½ medium onion, roughly chopped, about ½ cup
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound elbow or shell macaroni, regular or gluten-free

Nut Parmesan:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, walnuts, or Brazil nuts
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. To make the cheese sauce, place carrots, potatoes, onion, garlic, and butter in a small pot and cover with the milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully pour into the blender. Add the chickpeas, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, turmeric, and salt. Loosely cover, allowing steam to escape, and blend until smooth and glossy.
  2. Cook the macaroni in salted water, according to package directions. To make the nut parmesan, put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
  3. When the pasta is done, drain and return it to the pot. Add most of the cheese sauce and stir to combine. It will seem very saucy, but the pasta will absorb some of the sauce as it sits.
  4. Serve immediately drizzled with additional sauce and garnished with nut parmesan. Store the remaining nut parmesan in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Extra sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

Allergen Notes: Contains ingredients that may contain gluten and soy. Nut parmesan contains nuts.
Special Equipment: Blender. Food processor for nut parmesan.


Calories 836 | Total Fat 21g | Saturated Fat 2g | Sodium 511mg | Total Carbohydrates 131.5g | Dietary Fiber 26.3g | Total Sugars 22.7g | Protein 35.6g | Calcium 305mg | Iron 11mg | Potassium 1685mg |

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