Macaroni Not Cheese

One of my favorite meals growing up was a plate of frozen Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese, which I’d make myself whenever my parents went out to dinner. After cooking it in the oven for thirty minutes, I’d excitedly pull a stool up to our horseshoe-shaped kitchen island and dig in while watching my favorite television program, The Wild, Wild West. Pure decadence.

I recommend making this for guests and keeping the television off.

  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Cook Time 25 minutes
  • Serves 3


1 onion, chopped

1 cup cashews

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 1/3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

16 ounces whole grain elbow pasta, cooked



Sauté onion on medium heat in non-stick skillet with a little water or low sodium vegetable broth for 5 minutes, until translucent.

In a food processor, combine the onions, cashews, lemon juice, water, and salt.

Gradually blend in roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Thoroughly toss the sauce with the pasta.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.


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  • QB

    Hey Rip I love mac and cheese and this looks really good but im allergic to cashews. How can i make this rad mac n cheese without cashews?

    • Debbie Lepoidvin

      use almonds

      • Nancy

        Could I use almond meal or flour? Does it have to start with real almonds?

        • Steven Z

          start with real almonds and soak them overnight. you could also substitute almonds with Tofu.

  • tmcleod65

    I’ve been wondering the same thing as I have a daughter who is deathly allergic to nuts. What is a good replacement for nuts/cashews in some of the recipes?

    • jilltheveggiequeen

      Use white beans or cooked winter squash to bulk up this sauce. If you can use seeds, soak sunflower seeds and use those. They work well, too.
      I teach cooking and often have nut-allergic students so I have gotten good at eliminating the nuts, not the students.

      • Ray

        Would you substitute one 15 oz can of white beans for the cup of (raw) cashews? Thanks!

    • Chris

      Vegan béchamel sauce – Recipe by The Vegan Corner …

      A version of the above seems like a good base with some minor modifications

    • Jen

      Firm, or maybe any, drained tofu or rinsed white beans sound good.

    • Kelly Rohl

      There is a recipe online to use eggplant for a vegan cheese sauce it’s great. Look it up

  • kdesign007

    Substituted a Leek for the onion due to allergy/sensitivity and this was a hit in our house! Thanks so much for replacing one of our favorite comfort dishes.

  • Christina Aerial Lucero


  • Steven Z

    We started soaking the cashews overnight and it has made it much more creamy and addictive! :)

    • Katie

      Yes!! I was raw for the whole of last summer (I missed cooking haha) and cashews are your genie in a bottle for the kitchen! Soaking them made for some super creamy raw cheesecake!

  • Jenny

    I can’t access roasted red peppers in my area. Can anyone make a suggestion of what I could swap and still have a similar effect in the recipe?Thanks!

    • Dana’re

      Jenny – I’ve used diced green chiles which taste great!

    • chele

      You can roast them yourself in your own oven or on a gas stove burner. Google for temps and times

    • Rachel P

      Fire roasted (canned) tomatoes that have been drained also add a nice flavor!

  • Cin Madrid

    Got to try this! :)

  • Sarah Nelson

    Does anybody have thoughts on a new p product called Heidi Ho plant based cheese?

    • Dasha

      Their new Ne Chèvre line does not have added oil. And it’s delicious AND E2-friendly. It’s just cashews, lemon juice and nooch.

      Sadly most of their other products have sunflower oil…or some other type of oil…which is a big E2 no-no. The cheddar/mac’n’cheese one is particularly a big E2 offender, though it is still vegan and delicious — a nice treat for a cheat day!

    • Jen

      Ne Chevre sounds good!

  • laurenwphoto

    Added a touch of pepper and paprika and even my 5 year old inhaled it. So yummy!

  • Diana

    I think this is great even if you don’t bake it. I end up eating big forkfuls before it even hits the oven. I love this stuff! Going to make some now…..

  • Diana

    Just made more…..gotta remember not to eat all at once…LOL

  • Johnathan Mark Smith

    how would you make this without salt? I had a heart attack a few weeks ago and salt is a no no now

    • Katie

      Braggs or lots of herbs!

  • Adrienne Kristine

    Johnathan, I don’t use salt because I find the nutritional yeast gives me plenty of flavor. Give it a try and good luck with your health (I’m a two-time cancer survivor).

  • Lea Lynch

    I sprinkled a crunchy topping on the surface before baking. The onion ring mixture that is in the My Beef With Meat book worked great for this!

  • Toms girl

    I noticed, too—no temperature for the oven. I would say he meant 350 degrees for 20 mins.

  • sophiesmommy

    Bake in oven covered or uncovered???

  • Liz Burns

    I tried this, and the texture of the sauce just didn’t work for me. It seemed like I had to much sauce for the amount of macaroni, and the sauce didn’t seem creamy enough. Do I just need to blend it longer to get it really creamy, or is it just different than a regular cream sauce?

  • ken

    too bad im allergic to 1/2 these ingredients. cashew allergies are more common than peanut, but most ppl arent aware enough to realize the reaction it causes. nutritional yeast isnt healthy since moderate amounts will adversely effect health. it’s almost more of a drug.

  • Dee

    after blending all ingredience, just heat the sauce up in the same pot you sautéed the onions in and toss with pasta…plate up and top with a dollop of salsa.

  • Raven

    I have tried a lot of vegan mac n cheese recipes and most of them don’t taste like the real thing at all. This one comes pretty darn close, and it’s delicious!

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