Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 3, 2024 ·  2 min read

Mac & Cheese: The Best Comfort Food Recipe With No Meat or Dairy

If you’re craving the ultimate comfort food, this delicious, velvety, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese will hit the spot. And the best part? It’s entirely vegan and gluten-free. Yes, mac ‘n’ cheese without the cheese!

This is the best vegan mac ‘n’ cheese I’ve ever tasted (if I do say so myself) and I know you’ll love it too. Instead of using vegan cheese, I chose to get creative and use orange vegetables along with some special ingredients like miso and nutritional yeast. I used the miso and nutritional yeast primarily because they add a beautiful umami flavor which is similar to that of cheese. It’s incredible what you can achieve using only plant-based ingredients.

You can use any gluten-free pasta you’d like. I used brown rice pasta but quinoa pasta would work really well too. The cheese sauce is also paleo-friendly and can be used in a multitude of ways – I’m thinking nachos but you can get as creative as you’d like!

Best Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Vegan, Gluten-free

Serves: 4

Preptime: 15 minutes


  • 1 16 oz (454 g) package brown rice pasta shells, cooked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 small Spanish onion, medium dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso paste
  • 10 cracks black pepper
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk from a can
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Before draining, reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water and set aside for sauce. Drain pasta, rinse under cool water, shake off and place back in pot. Drizzle noodles with olive oil and toss until fully coated to prevent pasta from sticking. Set aside.

Set up a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and add butternut squash and carrot. Steam for about 15 minutes or until squash and carrot are tender. Set aside.

Place a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Add garlic, squash, carrot and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let it cook together, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until it gets a little gooey and caramelized. Transfer to a blender. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus all the remaining ingredients except for the parsley.

Blend on high or until completely smooth. It should have the consistency of a creamy, rich sauce. If it’s too thick, add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out.

Add pasta to the sauté pan you used earlier (as long as it’s oven-safe). Pour sauce on top and mix so pasta is evenly coated. Place in oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and add parsley. Serve while hot.