Vegan Mac and Cheese

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Welcome to my new favourite healthy weeknight meal. Yes, macaroni and cheese really can be made healthy and still taste just as good as it's boxed counterpart. All you need to do is make this simple creamy vegan cheese sauce that's dairy-free, soy-free, and packed with loads of nutritional bonuses. Like nutritional yeast. It's full of vitamins B6 + B12, Thiamin, and Riboflavin. Plus it packs an excellent boost of protein and fiber. Just 2 tablespoons has 8g of protein and 4 grams of fiber.

Finger. Licking. Good.

Now this doesn't taste like real cheese but it's pretty darn tasty if I do say so. The sauce is made up of a handful of ingredients that starts out with sautéed onions and garlic for the ultimate flavour boost. I found that adding sautéed onions and garlic deepened the flavour of the "cheese" sauce in a wonderful way. It was so tasty!

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Next up we toss the onions and garlic into a high-speed blender and add nutritional yeast, soaked cashews, tomato paste, smoked paprika, turmeric and a small handful of other ingredients. I don't think it's necessary but if you prefer you can use unsweetened almond milk in place of water in the sauce.

Oh cashew-vegan cheeze sauce how I love you. This sauce cannot only be added to macaroni but many other things as well. Try adding it to: 

  • Mashed potatoes (russets, yukon, red, etc.)
  • Quinoa and rice dishes 
  • Casseroles
  • Sandwiches
  • Veggies of all kinds including steamed or roasted (broccoli, cauliflower and green beans are excellent!)

There are many options!

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The sauce makes enough for about 4 generous servings of pasta (I used brown rice elbow macaroni).

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Now I'm not going to tell you this is a recipe for old-fashioned mac n'cheese, because it's definitely not that. What I can tell you is that it's absolutely delicious and just as comforting. Besides you could totally serve this to a non-vegan and they'd love it! It's so satisfying you may even convert them over.

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Vegan Mac and Cheese |

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight, and drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 12 ounces macaroni or small shell pasta (gluten-free if needed)
  • Fresh thyme or red pepper flakes (to garnish)

Optional add-ins

  • roasted broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, or peas


In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes on low.

In a high speed blender, puree the sautéed onions and garlic with the cashews, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, paprika, water, nutritional yeast, turmeric, a pinch of cayenne, and a pinch of salt. Makes about 2 1/4 cups of sauce.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the sauce, adding the pasta water as needed to thin the sauce and make it creamy. If you're adding any roasted or sauteed veggies, this would be the time to do it.

Serve hot garnished with fresh thyme or a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Baked Ziti

Ah, there's nothing like comfort food at it's finest on a gloomy day.

Baked ziti is just one of those things that becomes an instant family favourite. It can pick you up and lift your spirits on a cold wintery day.

A steaming dish of golden cheesy tomato baked pasta heaven.

Mmm, melty cheese!

Do I have your attention?

It might shock you to learn that this comforting pasta dish is actually quite good for you. Here's a secret, ever play hide the vegetables? If you have kids, you know what I mean. It has 2 cups of shredded carrots, 1 whole onion, basil, and is bursting with tomatoes + homemade marinara sauce. Even the pickiest eaters in your family couldn't say no. Sure it looks and tastes like a traditional baked ziti that's packed with unhealthy fat and salt (not to mention heavy cream) but it's one of the cleanest pasta dishes you'll ever make. 

The perfect crowd pleaser. Great for entertaining large groups.

Easy to throw together in 20 minutes. Then you get to sit back and relax while it cooks.

Marinara Sauce

Baked Ziti

(makes 9 - 1 cup servings)

(Slightly adapted fromThe Eat Clean Diet For Family & Kids)

Print Or Email This Recipe


  • 1lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 2 Cups shredded carrots
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Cups homemade Marinara Sauce (or 1 can of no-salt added tomatoes)
  • 1 Cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 8 oz gluten free rotini
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup - 3/4 Cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook turkey, carrots, onions, and garlic until nicely browned. Add chicken stock, marinara sauce, pasta, and basil.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Pasta should be cooked al dente.
  4. Turn pasta mix into baking dish. Sprinkle top with shredded mozzarella.
  5. Place in oven and baked for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

This also makes great leftovers for easy lunches packed with nutrition and energy.