Total time: 30 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes
Photo by Vanessa Rees
This is a beautiful bright orange mac, flavored with pepperoni type pizza seasonings; fennel, thyme, and oregano. I used to call it Pizza Mac & Cheese, actually! I’ve written a lot about vegan Mac & Cheese in the past, so I’ll skip all the broohaha, and just tell you to check out the latest Make It Vegan video and then get your mac on! For roasted brussel sprout directions, use this recipe.
~I always have a jar of roasted red peppers on hand, but making your own doesn’t take much time or effort. If you’ve got the oven on to cook something else, anywhere between 350° and 425°F, simply sneak in a pepper or three on a small baking pan. Roast whole for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pepper appears collapsed, then transfer to a paper bag immediately and close the bag up securely. This will steam it, so that when cool the skin comes off easily. Once you get the skin off, open the pepper up (if it hasn’t already broken open) and discard the seeds. Voilà!
~If you don’t have any pizza seasoning laying around, simply use these spices: 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed or ground fennel, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic)
~You can make this a baked mac, if you prefer! Transfer the whole shebang to an 8×8 casserole and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
~If you forgot to soak the cashews, have no fear. You can boil them for the same creamy effect, and still have this on the table in 30 minutes. Just submerge in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain, and proceed.
1/2 lb macaroni or other small pasta
3/4 cups unroasted cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 roasted red peppers (jarred or homemade)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons pizza seasoning (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Preheat a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Saute onions in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender or food processor.
Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, red peppers, tomato paste, pizza seasoning, salt, mustard and turmeric. Blend until very smooth. Scrape down the sides every 30 seconds or so and test for smoothness.
Transfer the sauce in the blender back to the sauce pot where you cooked the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Taste for salt. It should taste slightly salty because you’re going to be pouring it on the pasta.
The pasta should be done while the sauce is thickening, so drain and place pasta back in the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.
When sauce is thickened, add it to the pasta in the pot, and use a large slotted spoon to mix well, taking care not to break the pasta. Serve!
I soak the cashews overnight and I still can’t get a smooth consistency even with a large cuisinart food processor. Can you buy pizza seasoning? Whole foods doesn’t carry it. I trieditalian seasoning but 1.5 tsp was too over powering. I would recommend only one tsp of spice.
This is our holiday/celebration meal now. My husband and I went vegan a little more than a year ago. This is his very favorite thing we make. So I save it now for Thanksgiving, Christmas and, at his request, his birthday this weekend. Thanks! Serving the brussel sprouts on the side is a must.
Made this for lunch today for the kids 🙂 We were all excited about how much the “cheese” resembles the orange-ish cheese from the box mac n cheese both in color and consistency. It doesn’t really take any longer to make either, since you’re waiting to water to boil etc. They gobbled it all up! Yippie!
This is my favorite dish I have made since switching to eating vegan about 8 months ago. Absolutely delicious.
Hello. I just made your recipe (spagetthi with cahews) and it turned out very delicious!!!! This is going to be one of my favorite recipes. I will make more of your recipes. thank you!!!
Do you just use one whole roasted red pepper?
Thanks so much for your recipes. This looks great and I’ll make it soon. Don’t have time for video right now, is it one jar of roasted red peppers? Not just one pepper right? Do they last a while once opened? Thanks a lot :)!
I love using this sauce as a base for the most delicious vegan pizzas! My family also loves putting it on nachos or just for dippin’ chips! There is always a container of this stuff in my fridge 🙂 Thanks, Isa!
This looks awesome! I will be trying to make this soon.
This was amazing! I’m so happy I discovered you and your incredible recipes! I’ve tried other vegan cookbooks and they were pretty awful… My kids loved this and I have one who is a very picky eater. I can’t wait to pick up the cookbook. Thanks Isa!
What are the measurements for the candied pepitas? Thanks!
I tasted this amazing dish recently at a big Vegan Picnic and couldn’t believe there was no cheese in it, NO not even vegan cheese! Am looking forward to making it myself and will try it on my “non vegan” family.
What if you don’t want it to taste like pizza? Just leave out the pizza seasoning, or does it need to be replaced by something?
I have made several mac and cheese recipes over the years and I was always disappointed. This past year I had totally given up trying anymore mac and cheese recipes. I saw yours and given it had such good reviews I decided to try it. I found it a little bland till I added a 1/2 cup of Daiya Pepper Jack Cheese to the roasted red pepper sauce, once it had finished cooking. Then I stirred well to blend. Wow that made it perfect! I used 1 tsp Italian seasoning instead of the pizza seasoning. I also, didn’t add the nutritional yeast. Thank you for ending my long search for a good tasting mac and cheese recipe. Oh I’m still addicted to your Hoppin John recipe.
Just made this for the first time and we are licking the bowls!!! My kids have no idea there’s no cheese (nor pepperoni) in this dish!!!
This was AMAZING!!! My two year old loved it, too! So, win win!! (:
omg sooo yum! Made it today and could drink that sauce all by itself it’s so good. And it’s fun to roast your own peppers! Makes the kitchen smell delicious! Thanks! 🙂
Oh. My. Gluten!
I made this with some leftover cheesy sauce (just added the missing ingredients) and WOW. I ate half a batch in one sitting. Oops. No regrets. Loved every bite.
I made this a few days ago. Awesome yumminess! The only thing that I’m gonna change is the pizza seasoning mix. Defo gonna leave out the thyme, it’s just too strong flavor, oppressed everything else. But this dish is a real Sunday comfort-gourmet. Thanks Isa!
Isa, you are truly amazing! My wife and I enjoy truly enjoy your recipes. I have to say when I see your name on a recipe, it brings a smile to my face. Thank you and happy cooking!
OMG!!!! I’ve just tried this and it is awesome! The best mac and cheese ever. I am not a vegan but my husband is a veggie and I cook for both of us a vegetarian diet at home. This is the kind of food that would make you go for more, and more, and more!!! Isa you are my new goddess 😀
Just made this last night and absolutely loved it! I would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether vegan or not. I would be careful about what veggie broth people use; I used a concentrated one, and although it’s not bad, I think that homemade would make it taste a lot better. I also boiled the cashews for around 10 minutes in addition to soaking them for two hours; they didn’t seem very soft after the soak, and I think that the couple minutes of boiling made a big difference.
if baking….would you still cook the pasta as directed in the initial directions, before baking?
This looks delicious . Is there by chance a substitute for cornstarch like maybe molasses or maple syrup?