Large bowl of smoky, vegan mac and cheese with thick macaroni noodles
Dinner,  Lunch,  No Oil

Smoky Mac and Cheese Recipe [Vegan]

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Smoky, creamy, and rich – you’re gonna want to load up your plates with this one!

The trick to this creamy recipe? Cashews. In fact, Cashews make for the perfect vegan cheese base with its smokiness, nuttiness, and rich flavors.

With a good solid cashew foundation, you can whip up just about any kind of cheese-based dish with a little bit of this-and-that. For this recipe, I utilized what was in my pantry.

You really need to try out this recipe yourself. With that said, let’s get to this smoky mac & cheese vegan recipe:

Smoky Mac and Cheese Recipe [Vegan]

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Cheese Sauce


  • 1 cup cashews raw, unsalted
  • 2 cups macaroni pasta uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved cashew water
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspooon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 4 cups water for boiling


  • First, cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions. I cooked and boiled mine for about 10 minutes in salted water. Drain and set aside.
  • Next, add water to a pot and set over high heat. Once it starts boiling, add your cashews.
  • Boil the cashews for 10 minutes to soften.
  • Once the cashews are done boiling, remove cashews from water and keep leftover cashew water.
  • In a blender, add cashews, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, tomato paste, garlic powder, fresh lemon juice, and 1.5 cups of the leftover cashew water.
  • Then, blend until smooth.
  • Finally, add the cashew vegan cheese to the pasta and mix evenly.


  • Use raw and unsalted cashew. This is a MUST. Toasted, seasoned cashews won’t get the right flavor and texture for the cheese sauce.
  • Save the water you used from boiling the cashews.
  • I just used ziti because that’s what I had in my pantry. In case you don’t have ziti, use whatever type of macaroni noodles you have.
  • This recipe makes about 4 servings.
  • Lastly, if you don’t set aside enough water from the cashew, just add regular water.
  • If you want it extra creamy and less healthy, add vegan butter. My vegan butter of choice is Melt.
Large bowl of smoky, vegan mac and cheese with thick macaroni noodles

Cookware Used In This Recipe

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Did you try out this Smoky Mac and Cheese Recipe [Vegan]?

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