This vegan macaroni and cheese recipe is made super smooth and creamy with coconut milk. This recipe has no cashews or nuts and requires under 30 minutes to make!
I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut this past week. I just haven’t felt very creative or inspired. Until I started messing around with coconut milk. And I thought…wait. This is so creamy. Saucey. Delicious… why not make a macaroni and cheese sauce out of it?
So, I googled some recipes, and found that coconut milk vegan macaroni and cheese is not very common. It exists, but usually with coconut milk as an ingredient, not the main ingredient. Say what! I took that as a challenge.
And let me just say this: my boyfriend is a meat eater. He’s always willing to try my creations and laugh with me when they are just not good. He is honest (AKA his face gives his feelings away.) I offered him this vegan macaroni and cheese, thinking maybe it was in my head that it was actually great, and do you know what he said? “Can I have some for lunch?” Then he said, “I think you’re out of your rut.”
Vegan macaroni and cheese…made with coconut milk?!
Full fat coconut milk has the perfect texture for mac and cheese. It’s smooth and creamy, thanks to its high fat content. Fear not, this recipe has modifications to make it a “healthier” mac and cheese. Instead of using two cans of full fat coconut milk, you can use one light or reduced fat coconut milk and one full fat coconut milk. Ta-da! It’s still super creamy and lightly sweet.
Warning: if you’re not a fan of coconut flavor, this may not be the recipe for you. This mac n cheese definitely errs on the side of sweet macaroni and cheese, but it’s still savory and umami enough to make your taste buds jump.
How to make vegan macaroni and cheese with coconut milk
Making this mac and cheese recipe is quick and easy, thanks to a modified roux! A roux is a mixture of fat and flour. In this case, we’re using olive oil and coconut milk for the fat and all purpose flour for the flour.
- Saute 3 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Over medium low heat, stir in 1/4 cup of all purpose flour, mixing in as much of the oil as you can. It will be slightly lumpy- don’t worry!
- Add the nutrition yeast to the flour and garlic mixture.
- Slowly pour in the coconut milk, mixing with a whisk while pouring.
- Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a light boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Continue simmering until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add water as needed to thin the cheese sauce.
I can’t wait to try this vegan mac and cheese tossed with some broccoli and hot sauce and drowned in cashew parmesan. It tastes super yummy tossed with bread crumbs and baked in the oven for 10 minutes, but it’s also just perfect straight out of the pan.
Creamy Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
- 2 cups pasta of choice, dry
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 cans (13.5 oz each) unsweetened full fat coconut milk*
- water, as needed for thinning
- 2 tablespoons yellow miso
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic in oil for about 1 minute, until lightly browned and fragrant. Turn heat down to medium low.
- Add in flour, whisking for about 30 seconds, until lightly browned. Add in nutritional yeast. The mixture will get a little crumbly. Whisk rapidly while slowly pouring in the coconut milk. Add in miso, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower down to a simmer. Continue to whisk occasionally to prevent clumping.
- Add in water as needed to thin the sauce to desired consistency. When the sauce is thickened (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon without running off), stir in the cooked pasta.
- The sauce will thicken up as it cools. Just reheat it to smooth it back out! Enjoy.
Been here before and feel like the photos are different? They are! Here are some of the original photos, in case you miss them: