Vegan pumpkin mac and cheese – creamy, delicious, easy to make and packed with hidden veggies; this vegan mac and cheese is sure to please! Top with crispy garlic breadcrumbs to make it even more heavenly!
Since switching from a vegetarian to a vegan diet, cheese is the one thing that I miss. I can make awesome vegan cakes, I love plant milks, and Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter and cookies vegan ice cream is the bomb. But I think that commercially available vegan cheeses suck. They both smell, and taste, like feet.
I have yet to try any artisan ones, or attempt to make my own (though I plan to give it a go soon); so for now, cheese is mostly off the menu.
I did once try making mac and cheese the usual way but with vegan alternatives of the regular ingredients; and guys, it was not good. It was so bad in fact that the whole lot went straight in the bin.
It wasn’t the bechamel sauce that was the problem, but as soon as I added the grated vegan cheese I knew that I had made a mistake. Even the smell was terrible, let alone the taste.
A far better way to go is to ditch the cheese alternative and make this awesome vegan pumpkin mac and cheese instead.
It gets it’s cheesy flavour from nutritional yeast, miso paste, apple cider vinegar and some spices; and the creaminess comes from blended cashews, pumpkin and cauliflower.
This may seem like a weird blend of ingredients to make a cheese sauce, but trust me, it works. The sauce is rich, creamy and decidedly cheesy; and contains hidden vegetables too!
It is just the thing to hit that cheesy comfort food spot, especially if you top it with crispy garlic breadcrumbs – heavenly!
There are various recipes for this style of vegan mac and cheese floating around the internet, and I’ve played about with it until I found the right combination of ingredients to suit me.
I tend to vary the vegetables I use in the sauce depending on what I have. A mix of cooked potato and carrot works well; and you can swap the pumpkin for sweet potato or roasted butternut squash, using that along with the cauliflower (or swap the cauliflower for cooked potato).
How To Make Vegan Pumpkin Mac And Cheese:
(For ingredients and full instructions see the recipe card below)
The sauce is really simple to make but does require you to prep a couple of ingredients first – steam some cauliflower until it is tender, and soak some cashews in boiling water for half an hour.
If you aren’t using canned pumpkin puree then you will also need to either steam or roast some pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato.
Then chuck your cooked vegetables and drained soaked cashews in a blender along with nutritional yeast, a crumbled vegetable stock cube (or some miso paste), apple cider vinegar, non-dairy milk, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. I also like to add a little bit of melted vegan spread to give an extra hint of buttery flavour, but that is optional.
Blend it all together well until it is creamy and smooth. A good power blender like my Froothie Optimum Vac2 vacuum blender will get it super smooth in seconds.
I like the sauce to be quite thick, but if you want to thin it down a bit you can just add a drop more dairy free milk. (It also looks thicker in the pictures because I faffed around for ages setting up the photoshoot).
Pour the sauce over cooked macaroni, top with crispy garlic breadcrumbs and enjoy!
The sauce can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge; and I love leftover mac and cheese, I think it tastes even better the next day!
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Vegan Pumpkin Mac And Cheese With Garlic Breadcrumbs
Vegan Pumpkin Mac And Cheese:
- 240 g (1 cup) canned pumpkin puree (or steamed/boiled pumpkin/butternut squash/sweet potato/potato)
- 180 g (6.3oz) cooked cauliflower
- 1 crumbled vegetable stock cube (Or swap for 1 Tbsp miso paste)
- 4 heaped Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp salt plus extra to taste
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 70 g (1/2 cup) cashews soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes then drained
- 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened soy milk (cashew or oat milk would be the next best choices)
- 1 Tbsp vegan spread melted (optional)
- a good grinding of black pepper
- 400 g (14 oz) dry macaroni pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp vegan spread
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 100 g (3/4 cup) dry breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper
To make the sauce, place the pumpkin, cauliflower, stock cube or miso paste, nutritional yeast, salt, mustard, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cashews, milk, vegan spread and black pepper in a blender and blend until very smooth.
Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet; drain and add the sauce.
To make the breadcrumbs, place the olive oil and vegan spread in a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for thirty seconds then add the breadcrumbs and stir until they turn golden.
Remove from the heat and stir in the oregano and plenty of salt and pepper.
Serve the mac and cheese topped with the breadcrumbs, with extra on the side for sprinkling.
This recipe makes four generous servings.
Any leftover breadcrumbs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
*I’m a Froothie ambassador and was sent the Optimum Vac2 to review. If you click on the above links and purchase one of their products I will receive a small amount of commission. All opinions are my own. I only recommend products that I love and use myself.