This Vegan Mac and Cheese is so creamy and cheesy! It’s the perfect dairy-free alternative to a classic comfort food. This one-pot recipe can be made stovetop or in the Instant-Pot.
A few years back I dappled in vegan cheese sauce recipes creating this Jalapeño Nacho Cheese. Around that time, the potato/carrot based cheese sauce was all the rage. So as you can guess, that was the base of my nacho cheese. It’s my favorite ‘cheese dip’, but I found it doesn’t go over pasta very well.
After that, I took a cheese sauce break.
But now I’m back with this Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese with Peas! The sauce is cashew based kicking the carrots and potatoes to the curb. The cashews, seasonings and, of course, nutritional yeast together create a perfectly creamy cheese sauce the whole family will love.
What sets this Vegan Mac and Cheese apart from the rest?
First of all, it can be made in the Instant Pot! If you don’t have one, I highly suggest getting one. While you’re waiting around for your new IP to arrive, give the stovetop directions a try. It’s super simple and can be cooked in one-pot as well.
Second, this isn’t your typical mac and cheese. It’s “Vegan Mac and Cheese with peas” The peas add a sweet burst of flavor to the dish, plus it’s fun to say…”Mac and CHEESE with PEAS! Please!”
Ok, Ok I’m done.
The peas aren’t the only flavor addition to this classic pasta dish. Sautéed onions also make an appearance. Sautéing the onions first brings out their natural sweetness further enhancing the taste of this vegan mac and cheese.
Instant-Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese: Pasta Tip
There have been a few times I’ve made pasta in the Instant-Pot with a slight hiccup. The pressure time begins counting down before the pot has reached full pressure. Since pasta sinks, it can stick to the bottom of the pot. When this happens, my solution has been to turn the IP off, set the valve to release any pressure that may have built up, then carefully open the lid.
Now give the pasta a good stir being sure to free any noodles stuck to the bottom. Reseal the lid and set the IP to low pressure for 10 minutes. It should come to pressure now and cook perfectly.
(I have included how to avoid this in the instructions but, if you still encounter the pasta sticking use the above method.)
more instant-pot recipes
If you make this creamy vegan mac and cheese, be sure to snap a photo of it before it’s gone!
Tag me on Instagram @whereyougetyourprotein and #WYGYP so I don’t miss it! I can’t wait to see your creations!
Vegan Mac and Cheese is so creamy and cheesy! It’s the perfect dairy-free alternative to a classic comfort food. This one-pot recipe can be made stovetop or in the Instant-Pot.
15 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
Yields 4 servings
5 based on 2 review(s)
1 onion, diced*
Neutral oil for sautéing (I use about 2 teaspoons of refined coconut oil)
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
16 oz organic Ditalini pasta
1 cup peas
1 cup raw cashews, soaked*
2 cups water, divided
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
7-8 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons Himalayan salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard seed
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
pepper to taste
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups water (reserving the other 1/2 cup to clean the blender), soaked cashews, lemon juice and seasonings to a high speed blender. Blend until the cashews are smooth. (the sauce will be liquid after blending, but thicken up during cooking)
- Once the cheese sauce has been prepped, Using the sauté feature, sauté the onions in oil or water until softened and slightly browned. This should take about 5-8 minutes. Once the onions have cooked, press the cancel button on your IP,
- Now add 2 cups water, 2 cups broth and the blended cheese sauce to your IP. After adding the cheese sauce swirl the reserved 1/2 cup of water around in the blender and include that water to the IP. Give it a mix then wait for the water and onions to settle. Once the water has settled, add in the pasta but don’t mix again. (Allowing the onions to settle on the bottom of the pot will help keep the pasta from sticking.) Seal the lid and steam valve.
- Using the manual feature, cook on low pressure for 13 minutes.
- Allow it to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes before opening the lid.
- Carefully open the lid and give the mac and cheese a stir.
- Add in the peas and give it another stir.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. (If needed, add more salt, garlic and/or nutritional yeast)
- Serve immediately!
- Start by prepping the above cheese sauce.
- Add the diced onion and oil to a large ceramic or non-stick pot. Sauté over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.
- To the onions, add the remaining 4 cups of water and blended cheese sauce. Swish the remaining 1/2 cup of water around in the blender to clean it, include that water to the pot as well.
- Add in the pasta and give it a mix.
- Bring the pasta to a low simmer. Continuously check and stir the pasta to keep it from sticking to the bottom and adjust the heat as needed. Simmer for 7-10 minute or until the pasta is al dente. (If necessary, add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, to maintain creaminess while the mac and cheese cooks.)
- Add the peas to the pasta and stir.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. (If needed, add more salt, garlic and/or nooch)
- Serve immediately!
To soak cashews: In a small saucepan, boil a cup of water. Turn off the heat and add the cashews. Allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes or until softened for easier blending.
Instant-Pot: The above Instant-Pot cooking method produces an al dente mac and cheese. If you like your pasta softer, add up to 1/2 cup more water and allow the mac and cheese to sit for 20-25 minutes.
Seasonings: I never level seasonings and spices while cooking. I measure them slightly rounded.
Leftovers: Reheat in a non-stick pan. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of water to bring the creaminess back.