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!
hi! 🙂 I reallyyy want to try this, but I was wondering, do you have an alternative for the olive oil? I prefer not to use it but if it’s the only option then okay but just wondering. Also, may I ask what the cornstarch does?
Made this tonight and it was fab. Used only a pinch of mustard as tried last week with a teaspoon as per the recipe and it over powered everything. Great comfort food served with crusty brown bread. Thank you!
Lily, having made it I think you’d be fine to fry the onions and garlic in a tablespoon of so of water. I’m guessing the cornstarch just thickens it 🙂
Isa, hope you don’t mind me commenting!
I just made this last night for the first time. So delicious! I didn’t have brussels so I roasted some chopped cauli and threw it in with the noodles (i tend to do this often anyway to cut down on the amount of pasta per serving), and also added a generous portion of chopped fresh basil at the end. The cheese sauce was amazing, I couldn’t believe how beautifully the sauce thickened up with the bit of arrowroot powder! And cashews – they really are magic. When I first learned to cook with nooch, I was told to always add a bit of lemon juice to make the ‘cheesy flavor pop out’, so I did add about a tablespoon of lemon juice, but couldn’t say if it really made a difference. I don’t know if it was the hint turmeric, but as I’m eating (scarfing) the leftovers right now, I keep thinking how awesome a coconut curry variation would be, by adding curry powder and supplementing half the liquid in the sauce with some coconut milk. Anyway, thanks Isa, I’m planning to (finally) plow through your cookbook! Next up is the New England ‘Clam’ Chowder, and then the Pesto Gnocchi Soup…TGISS (soup season) 🙂 You are AWESOME.
Making this for a Super Bowl party!
Great recipe! I recently went vegan and I never really liked mac and cheese before… but I love this version and it’s surprisingly cheesy in taste too so thank you! I look forward to making it again and maybe will try it out on some guests and surprise them with how good a vegan mac and cheese can be 😉
This was delicious! Although it didn’t remind my hubby of mac & cheese, my 2 year old thought it did and as a picky eater, he even asked for seconds! It didn’t have the cheesy taste I was hoping for, but I think maybe it’s because I used two red peppers? Regardless, it came out creamy and delicious with zero guilt eating it!
I don’t crave Mac n cheese with dairy cheese anymore! I find myself going to this version a lot! Never seem to have friggin tomato paste but always sun dried tomatoes which work fine! Thanks for all the great recipe’s over the years! Been following you since 2010 ish. You’re awesome!
Oh my god, this is so good. This is a definite keeper and crowd-pleaser. I used the whole jar of red peppers, since many people were asking. I subbed marinara for tomato paste and it turned out a little like pizza mac and cheese. Topped it with roasted peas. Damn good!
I have the same blue rubber scrapers! Present from my dad from Canadian Tire! 😉
Love this mac and cheese, making this tonight, we’ve got a friend of my stepson, hopefully everyone will approve again!
Why are you cooking the pasta so early on???
Hi! I am going to be making this during the week and am so excited! I’m just wondering if you maybe have a calorie count for it? Thank you!
Just made this last night and absolutely loved it! I would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether vegan or not.
Ilook forward to making it again and maybe will try it out on some guests and surprise them with how good a vegan mac and cheese can be
We made this with sun-dried tomatoes soaked with the cashews instead of tomato paste and peppers and it worked out great! Ours never got creamy, but it was so good. I thought about skipping the mustard, but it was perfect in this recipe. I want to try the baked one with broccoli now. I’m vegan for life, but I won’t lie, I miss cheese a little bit sometimes. And mac ‘n’ cheese most of all. Thank you, Isa! Filled a little hole in my heart with your mac recipes.
I’ve made this many times and I’m about to include it on our school canteen menu. My whole family loves it. I just bought your book too. Please make more videos 🙂
Where is your Pizza Seasoning Recipe? I cant seem to find it.
I just made this and I am O B S E S S E D. I didn’t have any brussel sprouts, but I mixed in some cut up spinach and collard greens at the very end and it was so tasty with the creamy sauce. This is my new mac & cheese go-to!
this is the best mac and cheese in the whole world. make it now. make it often.