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Simple Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

A delicious and simple baked vegan mac and cheese, made with simple pantry ingredients. This recipe requires less than 30 minutes of preparation!
Course Main Course
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup raw or dry-roasted cashews, unsalted
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 small)
  • 1/4 cup split red lentils
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 package (375g) macaroni (elbow pasta)
  • Broccoli or peas (optional)


  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Heat the vegan butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder and salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the diced potatoes, lentils, cashews and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cook the pasta according to package's instructions. If using broccoli or peas, add them in the last few minutes of cooking to cook until just tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the potatoes, cashews and lentils are done cooking, add to a blender (with its cooking water), along with the nutritional yeast and white wine vinegar. Blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more salt, nutritional yeast or spices as needed.
  • Pour the "cheese" over the drained pasta in its saucepan. Stir together until combined. Transfer the mac and cheese to a 12" cast-iron skillet or casserole dish.
  • Prepare the topping: In a small skillet, heat the vegan butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs and thyme. Toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring several times to avoid burning. You want the breadcrumbs to be lightly golden and toasted. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.
  • This dish is best served immediately as the sauce thickens and it gets a little dry as it sits. But if you have leftovers, it's still good! Store it in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


You can find my stovetop vegan mac and cheese recipe here.
If you have a good blender, you don't need to soak the cashews. I didn’t have trouble getting the sauce very smooth with my Vitamix blender. If your blender is on the weaker side, soak your cashews overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.
Feel free to add more garlic, salt or nutritional yeast to taste. Taste the sauce and adjust as needed, keeping in mind that once it’s mixed with the pasta, the flavors aren’t as pronounced.
The lentils are technically optional in this recipe. They add a little color and fiber. If you want to skip it, reduce the water. Try 1 1/4 cup of water and add more to the sauce if it’s too thick once blended.