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The Best Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese Recipe

The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe- Delicious Cheesy Uncheese Sauce by Karina

My favorite gluten-free mac and cheese is 
also vegan and dairy-free. Seriously.

Some folks do it up fancy for V-day. Lobster. Steak. Chocolate-dipped strawberries. Not us. This morning when I asked my husband what he wanted me to make for our Valentine's Day meal, he didn't hesitate.

Mac and cheese. You? he asked.

Mac and cheese, I answered.

True love is groovin' on the same wave length. The comfort food wave length. And yes, there are already several gluten-free versions of mac 'n cheese on this blog (I can't ever stop tweaking; it's in my nature, let's face it) and hell yeah, they are all, each and every one of 'em, darn tasty recipes.

So like, uh, are you bored with me yet?

Being the kinda girl I am I just couldn't keep the latest vegan version of our favorite comfort food a secret. It's too creamy-uncheesy good not to share. So Dear Dairy-free and Vegan Readers, aren't you glad I like to tweak? If you're gluten-free and avoiding dairy too, this is the recipe that just might make you- or your GF/CF angel- smile. BIG.

The Best Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Don't mourn for Kraft-y macaroni goodness, Babycakes. I've got something tastier (and healthier!). This homemade cheesy uncheese sauce is creamy and delicious. And it's corn and soy-free, too.

For the casserole:

10 to 12 oz. dry penne or macaroni pasta, partially pre-cooked* - see below; we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne Pasta with Rice Bran but you could use Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows with Rice Bran as well.


4 tablespoons light olive oil
4 tablespoons sweet rice flour
2 1/2 cups plain hemp, rice or nut milk
1 rounded tablespoon sesame tahini or almond butter
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoons golden balsamic or rice vinegar, or lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
A dash or two of Simply Organic Garlic Powder
A dash or two of Simply Organic Minced Onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons white wine- Frey Organic wine is vegan and egg-free

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon turmeric for yellow, or paprika for orange color

For the topping:

1 cup Crunchy Gluten-Free "Bread" Crumbs (these crumbs have herbs and olive oil)
10-12 grape tomatoes, halved
A sprinkle of dried basil and parsley


*To pre-cook the pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and pre-cook the penne just until it is slightly tender but firm to the bite. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it quickly under cold water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the sweet rice flour (I like to use a whisk to do this). Cook and stir the flour for about 10 seconds, then slowly add in the hemp milk, whisking to blend the flour paste (called a roux) and hemp milk.

Bring the mixture to a bubble (it will thicken as it heats) then reduce the heat to low.

Add the toasted sesame tahini, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, golden balsamic vinegar, sea salt, a dash or two of Simply Organic Garlic Powder and Simply Organic Minced Onion, nutmeg and white wine. Add turmeric or paprika for color, if desired. Mix well with a whisk.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Pour the cooked penne into a 6-cup baking dish. Pour the cheesy uncheese sauce over the penne and gently combine. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the gluten-free bread crumbs and halved grape tomatoes. Sprinkle with dried basil. (For the sensory sensitive, omit the tomatoes, crumbs and basil.)

For individual gratin dishes, combine the pasta with the cheese sauce first; then spoon it into the gratin dishes. Top with crumbs and tomatoes and sprinkle with dried basil.

Bake for 25 minutes, until heated through and bubbling.

Serves 4.

Karina's Notes:

For those cooking gluten-free, the trick with baking gluten-free pasta in a casserole is: do not over-boil it. Keep it al dente because it continues to cook in the sauce when you bake it. For quick and easy stove-top cookery, cook the pasta until done and add it to the hot cooked sauce; stir gently to combine. Serve.

Recipe Source:

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  1. Karina, have you tried MimicCreme? It's a vegan cream substitute made from almonds and cashews. I've been using it in your Jazzed Up Turkey Tetrazzini and it makes a wonderfully creamy sauce. I haven't tried it in mac and cheese (yet).

  2. As usual, this simply looks fabulous.
    Just wondering, which brand of nutritional yeast do you use? I have been trying to find a gf one, but the one at the health food stores near me are not gf :(
    happy valentine's day!

  3. My Husband is allergic to yeast as well as wheat and dairy, can I leave out the yeast as this looks yummy? What could i substitute?

  4. Karen10:12

    You're awesome! I am not vegan or gluten-free or anything - just trying to eat healthy! I've made so many of your recipes just because I love them. And this one looks like one I'll try as well!

    Hope your hip is healing well.

  5. Hi Jess! Bob's Red Mill makes a GF nutritional yeast. You can order it on-line.

    I found another brand locally that says "Gluten-Free" on the label: KAL Yeast Flakes- it's also NON-GMO. ;) I found it at Wild Oats. Good luck!

    Hi Tracey- The nutritional yeast gives this sauce B vitamins. And a nutty taste. You could try upping the sesame tahini by a spoon or two- taste test.

    Is mold a problem with yeast? He probably needs to avoid the vinegar, too. So use a tablespoon of lemon juice instead.

    And the prepared mustard has vinegar so try a pinch of dry mustard. And the wine has to go. :(

    With these changes, this won't be the sauce you see here- but that isn't to say you can't design your own yummy white sauce. Taste test and adjust spices and seasonings and call it a cream sauce rather than a cheesy sauce.

    Another alternative is to add some herbs- like parsley, and you can dill for a dilly cream sauce.

    Hi Karen! Aww...thanks. I appreciate your kind words. The hip is mending, and I am walking without assistance! Yay!


  6. thanks for the tip, I'm placing an order to BRM asap!

  7. April16:22

    Oh bless you once again. I was fine with cheese until recently, and now it seems that I have to give that up too. I have all the ingredients except the yeast, so I am going to make it tonight because oh, how I crave some honest to goodness comfort food.

  8. Sounds great and the thing I like about it is the dijon mac and cheese (vegan or not)is complete without it!

  9. Karina, keep these "uncheesy" recipes coming! I was about to experiment with using your uncheese sauce to make a mac n cheese recipe, and now I can use yours!

    I was really phobic of trying uncheese recipes. They seemed too complicated and I was afraid they wouldn't be the same, but they are not hard and really tasty!

    Nutritional yeast has opened up a whole new world fo us!


  10. I love that you had mac & cheese on valentines day! My husband and I had home made gluten-free pizza - it was great!

  11. Oh Karina! You beat me to it! Once you posted your "uncheese" recipe I started experimenting with and I went on ahead and made mac n' cheese with. I was about to post my comment and then you posted your delicious recipe. My hubby says this is better than traditional mac n' cheese. "It's complex, gourmet, if you will." Now if that isn't romantic, I don't know what is!

  12. Karina,
    I can't wait to try this and give it to my girls! They have never had mac n cheese in their lives - can you believe it??

  13. gotmywings2022:32

    I made this tonight and it was delish! I have to say, the crumb topping makes the dish! Thanks for allowing me the comfort and yumminess of mac n' cheese again!

  14. hi karina! i'm looking forward to trying this one... have you found a soy-free waffle yet for the crumbs? i seem to have developed a soy intolerance as well :(

  15. Jess- My pleasure.

    Dear April- I feel your pain. Hope you liked it! :)

    Hi Laura! I agree. Though I'm highly allergic to mustard. So I have to go without. Wine helps. :)

    Hello Katherine! I know. The whole UNcheese thing was off-putting to me, too. But after giving up all dairy (for almost nine months) this kind of recipe tastes creamy-yummy-good to me! Thank goddess.

    Hey Karen! Thanks- and pizza? Sounds perfect. :)

    Hi Mamambenshay- How wonderful! Now that's a compliment. And love, too.


    Alison- Wow! You'll have to let me know how they like it! Cool.

    Hola, GotMyWings20- Yayness. And you are more than welcome.

    BBG- I did not find any soy-free waffles, so I got a George Forman Grill with waffle plates and started to make my own- so tasty!

    The crumbs in this photo are made from a frozen white rice bread we get at Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage- it's egg and soy and dairy free. Very dry and crumbly- so it's perfect for making crumbs when we run out of waffles.



  16. Arya00:37

    Oh man, I just found your blog! I am an almost vegan mama to a vegan toddler (who turns into a monster when he eats dairy!) I am always looking for good mac and cheeze replacers. Not just for his sake, but I crave the stuff too!

  17. Arya- I'm glad you found us! I've been tweaking my vegan mac and cheese recipe for years- and this is (hands down) my favorite so far.

    Hope you like it too!


  18. Anonymous16:45

    I made this today for our homeschool co-op, which includes my dd, a gluten-free girl, me, a vegan, and a little girl who can't have dairy and whose mom is going crazy trying to feed her something she will eat. This was a HUGE hit! Every child, whether GF or DF or neither, had seconds and RAVED. I thought for sure my cheese-loving 3 would poo poo it -- but they all loved it and my friend with the DF child was doing a happy dance. Thanks so much! Paula in IL

  19. Paula- What a fun story! Thank you for taking the time to share it with me.

    Happy dance? Aw. That absolutely MAKES my day!



  20. Okay, I'm determined to learn to like nutritional yeast since I'm working toward avoiding all dairy (including goat, sheep, etc.) now. This is my first stop (I've been looking at this recipe occasionally since you posted it), and I got some Red Star gluten-free nutritional yeast today to try this recipe in the next couple of days! Here we go . . . a new adventure!

  21. Ooh! It's excellent, Karina. We used fresh garlic and about 1/4 c. grated onion. While we munched on it for lunch, we talked about variations--a rice version with broccoli, a Tex-Mex version, etc. Delicious!

  22. Sally- I'm so excited! Yay. This sauce is delicious in a rice bake. I've also made a tetrazzini style bake with it. Would love to see what you do for a Tex-Mex dish!


  23. Tex-Mex version tonight--still needs a bit of tweaking, but it's a reaaaaaally good recipe for a Top-8 free, vegan one that tastes creamy! We added salsa, cumin, extra garlic, extra onion, bell peppers, cayenne pepper ... and more. Know what? I'll just blog it. :D

  24. Anonymous11:06

    My family is new at eating gluten free, does anyone have some simple transitions for us?

  25. Sally- Your Tex_mex sounds fabulous! Can't wait to see it.

    Anon- Check out my post on the sidebar links titled: The Morning After (diagnosis, that is). I offer tips on transitioning into the gluten-free diet and easy menu ideas.

    Welcome and good luck!


  26. Cara from Richmond VA12:50

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I tried another recipe for 'cheese' sauce based on coconut milk, but neither my son nor I enjoyed it. I am off yeast and so many things now, but both my gfcf boys LOVED this - including the 4 yo who eats almost nothing. Big hit! I did use part margerine for the oil, and some apple juice instead of wine. I also put the paprika and yeast in with the flour to let them cook a bit - i used to have a vegan yeast gravy recipe where you cooked the yeast for a while to bring out its flavor before adding liquid. Anyways, thanks again!

  27. Karina - this is fantastic. I've made it twice in the last few days, once with hemp milk and a second time with soymilk, both equally delicious. For the breadcrumbs, I took another tip from you and toasted a couple of waffles I had in the freezer, whirred them in a f.p. with some olive oil and herbs/spices. This recipe is a real keeper and will be a staple in our menu rotation. Thank you for posting it! Heck, thanks for creating it! I'll be blogging about it quite soon.

  28. Cara- Thanks for the tip on cooking the yeast!

    I Am Gluten Free- Aw. I'm so glad. Thank you for your kind words.



  29. KArina, I have to de-lurk to tell you how wonderful this mac and "cheese" was! My husband is vegan and I'm "vegan-friendly" and we LOVED this. Might try it next time with sauteed mushrooms. I used almond milk and rice wine vinegar and left out the wine this time, but added an extra tsp of the vinegar. It was SO good. We both had seconds. I'm making the cabbage sweet potatoe soup tomorrow night, and made your baked maple squash with the cornbread stuffing for TG. I guess you could say I am a huge fan!

    Jen (and Nathan)

  30. Monica Waggoner02:33

    You've got me wondering if I'm going crazy! You edited the recipe ;-). I printed it out the first time I made it, back in April, and since then have looked it up and worked from the screen when I couldn't find the print-out. So when I got out the paper copy today and saw *three* TBSP of the first two ingredients, I wondered if I was losing my mind, but no... it really does say FOUR on here now!

    Help those of us who worry about early senility by making a note that something's been updated, maybe? ;-)

  31. Jen- I love stories like this! Thank you for stopping by to let me know. And I think mushrooms would be delicious!

    Monica- Truth be told my blog is dynamic- meaning it is always updating. It's a living cookbook if you will. If I try something new and it's better I change the recipe to reflect that.



  32. Anonymous23:48

    Thank you So much - I cried when I found this recipe - my little autie angel LOVES his mac and cheese and we have recently starting see a DAN doctor and using the GF/CF diet - wow talk about new territory - thank you so much for this site and all the amazing recipes!!!! Now it seems a little less daunting - thank you again - AutiemamaAK

  33. Karina - thanks for the recipe! It has been a long 2 1/2 weeks since we started GFCF and this was reminiscent of my homemade mac-n-cheese. The boys "kicked it up a notch" with some hot sauce but it was nice to have a comfort food meal! I didn't have any bread or bread crumbs so I crushed some glutino pretzels and gf potato chips in a bag and it worked great as a topping! I love the other suggestions to add mushrooms or tex-mex stuff... will have to try that next time. Happy New Year!

  34. I made this last night and the results are in... a new favorite in my little gluten-free vegan household. I have been searching for a good mac and cheese replacement that is not over-run with nutritional yeast. The white wine really made the dish. I made fresh hemp milk for the recipe and next time will add some red pepper flakes to mine. Thank you. I appreciate having this recipe tucked away for future use!

  35. Autie Mama- Aw. Thank you. I hope your angel likes it- it may take a little time to change the taste buds- but once the body has a chance to adjust this mac and cheese is pretty darn tasty. Take care!

    Becky- just 2 1/2 weeks GFCF? Wow- good for you. I bet this is yummy kicked up with hot sauce. Sometime I add jalapenos. Be well!

    Abby- Yay. Glad you like the recipe. I bet red pepper flakes would be a good change of pace, too.

    Thanks, everyone! xox


  36. This is the BEST vegan mac and cheese ever. After going dairy free it was my quest to find good mac and cheese. This was the last recipe I was going to try before swearing off ever trying it again. Your recipes have yet to disappoint. Thank you so much!

  37. Oh, this sounds wonderful! I can't wait to try it. I'm thrilled that I have all the ingredients on hand to whip it up tonight.
    Thanks so much for this recipe.

  38. Just made this and the whole batch is already gone! This is a great recipe! I did not have wine, and therefore probably missed out on a bit of "bite" to the cheesy goodness. I did add a little extra Dijon as we like our mac and cheese on the sharp side. And I only had sweet sorghum flour so used that (not sure if it made a bit of difference). I can't wait to make this again and am thrilled that I can enjoy my favorite food, animal and gluten free!

  39. glutenfreefamily20:34

    Would it be possible to sub SunButter for the Tahini? My children are allergic to all nuts and sesame seeds. This looks wonderful - - I would just need to make substitutions.


  40. Jendolin- and Greener Girl-- Thank you both- so glad you like it. ;-)

    Amy- Hope you enjoy it!

    GlutenFreeFamily- Yes, Sunbutter works- I've used it. Delicious! Try adding a little less at first; taste test.

    Take care,


  41. Hi Karina, thanks so much for this recipe! I used chickpea flour instead of sweet rice, and homemade veg broth instead of white wine since I was out. Still came out amazing.

  42. Karina, this dish was so amazing (even without the white wine, as I was out). I was very nervous making it, afraid I might be wasting a lot of ingredients, but it was so incredibly delicious... my husband (not gluten free or vegan except to be nice to me) ate 2 helpings, and asked if I would keep making it!

    I spread the word on my own blog, for my gluten free friends to visit here. can't wait to try the waffles in the morning!

  43. Hi Karina!
    I am glad to see that you include the olive oil...I have a great gluten free vegan mac and cheese recipe and I just recently started using canola oil to smooth it out a bit..With the vegan cheeses it makes a world of difference in the consistency!

  44. Karina, I love you. Seriously. Probably your entire family. lol I just made this - the white wine and with 2x the tahini(cause I love tahini) and it was amazing. My daughter is allergic to, well a lot, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat mac n cheese again until she weaned(and I'm hoping on 3-4 years nursing) so YAY. It was so good I wanted to cuddle my bowl. Which is weird I know. But thanks!

  45. judie21:26

    I seem to have been turned into a meat eating,gluten,dairy,egg intolerant vegan.It is early days in this journey,and this site gives me great hope. I can't wait to try this recipe.

  46. Hi Karina!

    I am so grateful for your recipes! They have been a huge help in our world of over 30+ allergies between me and my 3 and 5 year old! I would love to make this- any suggestions on substitutions for the tahini/almond butter? Also for other recipes that call for cidar vinegar- any suggestions- allergic to that as well. Thanks!! Hope you are feeling better every day! Laura

  47. Anonymous19:16

    Hi Karina, I am in Australia & just been told by a naturopath to detox on a gluten & dairy free diet (with possibilty a long-term basis). This is due to me having leaky gut syndrome, among other issues.

    In the past I used to get terrible gut pains if I ate wheat each meal, but testing to check for allergies came up negative. Doctors don't seem to recognise "sensitivities", only pure allergies.

    Anyway, in the past a GFDF diet was SO offputting, but since finding you online I am HOPEFULL and EXCITED! Thank you for all your hard work, I now have countless recipes to try!

    Sometimes here in Australia it's hard to find some of the ingredients. I googled nutritional yeast - said similar to brewers yeast but nutritional yeast is deactivated. I saw yeast flakes in my health food shop but didn't know if it would work/be the same. Same goes for brewers yeast. I made this mac cheese for the family last night - I have said too bad if they don't like what I cook now because I aint cookin' twice!! Haha. Stepson said it was not bad (thought he was going to refuse it). And this was me making it without the yeast and even no onion (as I didn't have any)! It was still so creamy & yummy despite this - so suprising considering NO DAIRY WHAT SO EVER! I also used nuttelex olive(butter substitute) to make my roux instead of oil (more buttery taste), and less tahini, more mustard. Yummo.

    Thanks so much for existing!! haha. Keep up the good work :), Katherine in Oz

  48. Rachel10:05

    Hi Karina, I was recommended to this blog and I AM SO HAPPY. I've actually been gluten/dairy free for about 2 years now and basically living on stirfry, meats and potatoes. I have a question about this recipe though, is sweet rice flour different from regular rice flour? that may be stupid, but never can be too sure! Thank you a million times again!

  49. Anonymous23:19

    I have made quite a few things from this wonderful blog and haven't commented, and this was just too delicious to stay quiet about. I have only just recently been diagnosed with an allergy to both gluten and dairy, but haven't been able to have mac & cheese since I was 12 years old without feeling very sick. Growing up it was always one of my favorite comfort foods.

    Since being diagnosed I have been feeling a little discouraged and disappointed. It seems that all my favorite treats (for now anyway) are not good for me. The last week especially I have been feeling deprived. Then I stumbled upon this recipe. I decided to give it a go, and I am so very glad that I did. The creamy sauce and those soft noodles hit the spot. And for the first time in the last month I feel like maybe this won't be so bad after all. Maybe it will be a fun adventure, trying to find healthy staples and new comfortable, yummy induglences.

    So thank you Karina! You have been an inspiration! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your blog, and your amazing recipes! You have made this process much easier and more joyful for me!

  50. Anonymous00:35

    I made this tonight for my family and it was so good! I am so full right now. I haven't eaten mac and cheese in years! Between my mom and me, we are wheat, soy and dairy-free. Finding satisfying recipes that everyone can eat can be challenging. The only change I made to the recipe was I added peas. ^_^

    I did have a problem with the sauce not thickening up. I have made roux before with wheat and had no problem, even using rice milk. This one wouldn't though. After everything had been added, I whisked 1 tbsp. of arrowroot with cold water, stirred it in and cooked until thickened. It worked and the sauce was still creamy. It was just odd that it didn't thicken on its own, that's all. Thanks for the fantastic recipe, Karina!


  51. WOW! I made this today and it is truly amazing. My 3 year old and 2 year old loved it as well. I made it with homemade hazelnut milk and it tasted fab. I'm now getting excited about using this uncheesy sauce to make all kinds of things I haven't been able to eat for ages.

    Thanks for this recipe :)


  52. We've made this mac&cheese twice now and it was delicious both times. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! It's the best vegan mac&cheese I've ever made.

  53. Thanks so much everyone! Your wonderful comments are mucho appreciated. xox