This vegan sweet potato mac and cheese is ultra creamy, comforting, and perfect for the fall season! The recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and made with wholesome ingredients. You’ll enjoy this healthy twist on the classic comfort food we all love.
Everyone loves mac and cheese. It’s a comforting, classic, childhood favorite for many of us. But, we aren’t all able to consume a giant bowl of shredded cheese and butter anymore. Whether you’re vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, or just looking to consume a healthier diet, this recipe is for you!
This vegan sweet potato mac and cheese is creamy, satisfying, and totally guilt-free with only nutritious ingredients. It’s a secretly healthy mac and cheese that brings comfort food to a whole new level. It has the indulgent texture and flavor of traditional mac, but actually contains no cheese at all.
What is vegan mac and cheese made of?
You can create vegan mac and cheese several different ways, but this recipe is based off of sweet potato, cashews, and nutritional yeast. Each of these ingredients contribute to a creamy, cheesy dairy-free sauce.
Here are all the ingredients in this vegan sweet potato mac and cheese:
- Sweet potato
- Nutritional yeast
- Tomato paste
- Lemon juice
- Garlic cloves
- Elbow noodles
How to Make Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
Let’s get right into it!
First, prepare pasta according to the package. I recommend cooking the pasta al dente because it will further cook when combined with the cheese sauce. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, soak the raw cashews. This step should not be skipped as it’s necessary for creating the creamiest sauce. To soak the cashews, simply bring a few cups of water to a boil. Then, pour the boiling water over the cashews. Soak for 30 minutes. After, drain the water completely. Set aside.
While the cashews are soaking, peel and chop the large sweet potato. Boil the cubed sweet potato for 15-20 minutes or until soft and tender. You can determine the softness by pricking the sweet potato with a fork. After, drain water. Alternatively, you can bake or microwave the sweet potato and remove the skin afterwards.
Next, combine all ingredients (except the pasta, of course) to a high-speed blender. Blend until a smooth sauce is formed. Depending on the power of your blender, you may have to scrape the sides down in between blending to achieve a totally smooth sauce.
It’s time to assemble the vegan sweet potato mac and cheese! Add the cheesy sauce and cooked elbow noodles to a pot. Stir to combine and heat for a few minutes until warm. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs (optional).
- Use your favorite pasta. Any type of pasta or noodles will work for this recipe – feel free to use your favorite. I used a protein-packed, gluten-free elbow pasta made from chickpeas. It tastes the exact same as traditional pasta but it’s way healthier! I highly recommend trying it.
- Always soak the cashews. This step is essential for creating a creamy sauce. When soaking, the cashews retain water and become plump in size. This helps them blend later on.
- Do not omit the nutritional yeast. What is nutritional yeast? Nutritional yeast is a commonly used cheese replacement in vegan recipes. Not only does it provide protein and B vitamins, it has a cheesy flavor that contributes greatly to this vegan sweet potato mac and cheese.
- Although I recommend consuming this recipe immediately after making it, you can store leftovers in Tupperware in the refrigerator. Be sure to cool the mac and cheese before storing it. It will be more similar to baked mac and cheese upon reheating and should keep for 2 days.
This vegan sweet potato mac and cheese is an ultra creamy, healthy twist on a classic comfort food we all love!
- 1 large sweet potato (~3.5 cups cubed), peeled and chopped
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1.5 cup water
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 12 oz elbow noodles (gluten-free if needed)
- Cook elbow noodles according to package. I recommend cooking the noodles al dente because they will further cook when combined with the cheese sauce later. After, drain water and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Add cashews to a bowl. Bring several cups of water to a boil. Pour boiling water over the cashews and soak for 30 minutes. After, drain water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel and cube the sweet potato. Boil cubed sweet potato for 15-20 minutes or until soft. After, drain water completely. Alternatively, you can bake or microwave the sweet potato and remove the skin afterwards.
- Combine cooked sweet potato, soaked cashews, water, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and chili powder to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Adjust seasoning to taste, as needed.
- Pour the cheesy sauce and cooked elbow noodles into a sauce pot. Stir to combine and heat until warm. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs (optional).
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