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vegan mac and cheese

The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan mac and cheese
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
coming to pressure: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 416kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey
The sauce for this Mac and Cheese is entirely plant-based.  It is oil-free and made with vegetables, raw cashews, and seasoning. Make it using a pressure cooker and high-speed blender.  It is creamy, rich and cheesy, and healthy too!
Print Recipe


  • 12 ounces dry pasta small shape like elbow or shells

Goes in the Instant Pot

  • 1/2 orange bell pepper seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot roughly chopped
  • 3 large gold potatoes roughly chopped, about four cups
  • 1 clove garlic no need to chop
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/4 cup water

Goes in the Blender (The Seasonings)

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso paste


  • Follow package directions to cook 12 ounces of pasta.  You can do this while you are making your cheese sauce, or you can do after if you prefer.  If you do it before or during, drain and set aside.  This is an oil-free dish; but if you cook your pasta ahead of time, you might need to add a little oil to keep it from sticking. 

Goes in the Instant Pot

  • Rough cut your vegetables.  No need to peel.  Add to the pressure cooker.
  • Add raw cashews and water. 
  • Close the lid, making sure the vent is closed, and set on manual for 5 minutes on high.  Do a quick release when finished cooking.

The Seasonings and High Speed Blender

  • While the vegetables and cashews are cooking, get the seasonings together.  I like to add them all to a small bowl so that I can just dump when I'm done. 
  • After the vegetables/cashews have cooked and have cooled slightly, transfer to high-speeded blender - along with the water they cooked in.
  • Add all seasonings.  
  • Blend on high speed for 3-5 minutes or until creamy and smooth.
  • Pour on top of and mix into cooked pasta.  Season with extra salt and pepper to taste.  I also like to add paprika, chives, Maldon Sea Salt, and Parsley on top.
  • Save any left over cheese in an airtight container in the fridge up to a week.  Use on vegetables, potatoes, or chips.  YUM!


You MUST disclose to anyone you serve this recipe to that it contains nuts.  Nuts are not normally found in cheese sauce or mac and cheese and so it is important to disclose.
The cheese sauce can also be cooked on a stovetop it you don't yet have an Instant Pot. Follow these directions for cooking the cashews and vegetables. Then add to the blender along with the seasonings and other indredients and proceed with the directions. 
  • Directions for cooking on the stovetop:
    • Prepare all vegetables and measure out cashews.
    • Put into a medium/large pot and cover with water. 
    • Cover and bring to a boil on high. Turn down the heat slightly a gently boil for about 10 minutes or until all vegetables are fork-soft. Check the potato for the best estimate.
    • Reserve out 1 1/4 cup water. Dump the rest into a colander, draining  the vegetables/cashews of the remaining water.
    • Add the reserved water and drained vegetables/cashews to the blender and proceed with the rest of the (Instant Pot) directions.


Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 620mg | Potassium: 742mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 23.3mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 5.4mg