Creamy, rich, and deliciously vegan, this is the BEST dairy free mac and cheese that even gets melty and stringy like traditional mac and cheese. It requires only a few simple ingredients and is totally kid friendly.
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Mac and cheese was pretty much the only thing I ate as a child. I always preferred Annie’s to Kraft, and always the white cheese to the orange. Anyone else?!
I was super picky about how the sauce was prepared (sorry mom). Never too much milk and always make sure the clumps are removed before stirring in the pasta. I guess I became a food blogger so I could stop annoying people with my ridiculous food demands LOL.
Anyway, mac and cheese never failed to put me in a good mood (tbh ANY creamy pasta put me in a good mood) and I SO missed the lush and creaminess of mac and cheese when I cut dairy from my diet.
Well ladies and gents, this dairy free mac and cheese is the best one I’ve ever made and is a total crowd pleaser.
It’s rich, creamy, decadent, and you definitely won’t miss the dairy. Trust me! PLUS, if you didn’t think it could get any better, it only requires about 15 minutes of you actually cooking! Ready to try it?!
Believe it or not, you can make vegan mac and cheese out of a LOT of things! Some will have non-dairy cheese alternatives, some will have cashews, or even cauliflower, but I opted to make a much simpler version with ingredients you probably already have on hand. For this recipe you will need:
- Almond Milk: You can use any non-dairy milk for this recipe, just make sure it is both unsweetened and unflavored (not vanilla).
- Dairy Free Butter: The butter adds a really nice richness to the sauce, but it can be subbed for olive oil if desired.
- Roasted Garlic: You’ll need two whole heads of garlic, which I know sounds like a lot, but the flavor softens quite a bit when it’s roasted.
- Arrowroot Powder: This will be used to thicken the sauce. Tapioca or corn starch can also be used.
- Nutritional Yeast: The key ingredients for a cheesy flavor! You can also use your favorite dairy free cheese shreds instead.
- Homemade Dairy Free Cashew Parmesan: Essentially a mix of cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic. Feel free to use a store bought vegan parmesan instead.
- Paprika and Mustard Powder: Seems odd, but you just need a small amount to add a bit of flavor.
- Salt & Pepper: A generous serving of salt surprisingly makes the cheesy flavor shine through.
How to make this recipe
This recipe does have a lot of steps, but don’t be intimidated!! It’s only because it includes roasting the garlic and making the dairy free cashew parmesan.
Not including these two steps, this recipe will only take about 15 minutes to make. You can do both of these first two steps ahead of time to make your life easier, too.
All it involves is roasting the garlic-easy. Cooking the pasta-easy. Making the vegan parmesan-easy. And then adding all of the sauce ingredients to a blender until nice and smooth-easiest.
First up, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the both whole heads of garlic and cut off the top part so you can see the inside of each clove.
Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and place in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes. During the final 10 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
When the garlic is done, let cool until it is easy to handle. Squeeze the bottom so the cloves come out into a blender. Careful not to get any of the skin in there.
Add all remaining ingredients. Process the mixture until completely smooth.
Transfer the sauce to a large pan and heat over low heat. When it starts to thicken, stir in the pasta and allow the sauce to continue to thicken.
Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes to ensure it gets as thick as can be and then stir in the final 4 tbsp of nutritional yeast.
Taste and add more salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, butter, or cashew parmesan as desired.
If you’re trying to add more veggies into your diet, peas, broccoli, and green beans are all delicious with this recipe! You can stir them right into the sauce, or have them on the side.
The great thing about this dairy free mac and cheese is that it can be the star of the meal all on it’s own. I like to use a chickpea or legume based pasta to up the protein content, then just stir in some peas and you have yourself a delicious plant-based meal that is perfect for kids and adults!
Try these other recipes next!
- Nut free pesto pasta
- Vegan tomato basil cream sauce
- Pasta salad with creamy lemon dressing
- White bean sauce
Lastly, if you want more recipes straight to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to my email list. As always, if you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on instagram and leave a comment below so I can see your creation!
Roasted Garlic Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces pasta of choice (I like brown rice pasta if keeping it GF)
- 2 large heads garlic
- 2.5 cups unsweetened and unflavored almond milk
- 4 tbsp dairy free butter or olive oil (I suggest butter for the best flavor)
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder, tapioca or cornstarch
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (divided)
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 cup homemade cashew parmesan
- 1/2 tsp black or white pepper
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (see notes)
- Pinch of paprika (about 1/8 tsp)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the both whole heads of garlic and cut off the top part so you can see the inside of each clove.
- Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and place in the oven.
- Roast for 45 minutes.
- During the final 10 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- When the garlic is done, let cool until it is easy to handle. Squeeze the bottom so the cloves come out into a blender. Careful not to get any of the skin in there.
- Add all remaining ingredients.
- Process the mixture until completely smooth.
- Transfer the sauce to a large pan and heat over low heat. When it starts to thicken, stir in the pasta and allow the sauce to continue to thicken.
- Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes to ensure it gets thick.
- Taste and add more salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, butter, or cashew parmesan as desired.