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Coconut Milk Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients For Coconut Milk Mac and Cheese

For this recipe you will just need a few simple ingredients. We can throw this dish together in a matter of minutes! You will need:

  • Soaked cashews
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • Dijon mustard
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Lime
  • Vegan Macaroni Noodles
  • Apple cider vinegar

Lets get started creating a creamy, delicious and nutritious vegan mac!

What is Vegan Mac and Cheese Made Out of?

There’s many ways to create the perfect vegan cheese by using plants. Here’s some common ingredients for making vegan cheese:  

  • Soy
  • Almonds
  • Sesame or Sunflower Seeds
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Rice
  • Nutritional Yeast

Depending on the source, the texture and flavor of vegan cheese may vary a bit.  

Some less common but very tasty vegan cheese combinations include ingredients:  

Starches allow the cheese alternatives to melt and stretch which makes them ideal for cheesy alternatives. This makes lactose free mac and cheese created with nutritional yeast and cashew a perfect balance!

Fats such as coconut oil give cheese alternatives the consistency people are familiar with. You can find all the ingredients you need to experiment with variations on this vegan food list for beginners.

Finally, the acidity and lime gives this mac a tangy taste similar to that of our true cheeses!  

Do Vegans Eat Cheese?

Long story short-no, vegans don’t eat cheese.  But we are artists- and anything is possible with a little creativity! We build “cheese” from plants. And that is pretty damn cool!

How Do You Make Vegan Mac And Cheese Creamy?

Making vegan mac and cheese creamy can seem a little tricky at first. Often we can get the flavor right, but the creaminess we find in a traditional mac and cheese is a little more tricky. Here are some ways to get your vegan mac and cheese creamy:

  • Use cashews. I don’t know what it is about these things but the fat in the nuts and the smooth and subtle flavor seem to make everything taste creamier.
  • Use a plant based milk that’s full of fat like coconut milk. Fat generally always adds creaminess
  • If you’re using a different type of milk with less fat you might need to add a starch such as corn starch or tapioca starch to thicken your mac and cheese
  • Don’t try to go low fat! This will kill creaminess, flavor, and all the joy that mac and cheese has to offer!

Vegan Mac and Cheese- The Ultimate Kids Vegan Food

If your kids love macaroni and cheese (and lets be honest, who doesn’t), they will LOVE this coconut milk mac and cheese.  

All is fair in love and war. Especially when that involves a collective decision on “what’s for dinner.” 

Imagine a set of 2-6 independent taste buds sitting around the communal dining space (aka the kitchen table). One’s a veggie lovin’ fool, one thinks all meat matters, and one eats nothin’ but Honey Nut Cheerios. 

Lets let choosers be choosers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few tricks to bring to the table as well!

macaroni noodles and cashews

Does Vegan Cheese Taste like Real Cheese?

Yes! .

I’ll be honest, one of my most difficult obstacles in becoming a full fledged vegan is imagining my abstinence from that yellow block of love teetering on my refrigerator shelf.

Cheese always seemed to promise the security of simple snacking and making all mediocre things great. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much all the vegan cheeses truly mimicked the taste of REAL cheese!

However, I do want to note there is an entire art of creating vegan cheese varieties similar to traditional cheeses. Since all cheese varieties taste different, we should expect the same for vegan cheeses.

Some vegan cheese varieties include:

  • Almond milk cheeses
  • Vegan blue cheese
  • Vegan brie
  • Vegan feta

The list goes on and on. We shouldn’t expect all vegan cheeses to taste like “cheddar cheese” because that isn’t what they were designed to do! Just like traditional feta will not taste like traditional cheddar!

Coconuts and milk

Vegan Mac and Cheese Variations

Here are a few things I might do to alter this meal. 

  • More root veggies.  Carrots and squash offer an excellent source of sweetness. 
  • Roasted red pepper or sriracha added to the dish. 
  • adding truffle oil, if I’m feeling adventurous.
  • adding garlic for an added kick of zest.

This mac and cheese has a tint of “tropical” or “sweet” flavor due to the coconut milk.  This is quite tasty, but if you want to tone it down, a little spice can help. 

How Long Does Vegan Mac and Cheese Last in the Fridge

Vegan Mac and cheese will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. 

Here are a few things to know about vegan mac and cheese kept in the fridge:

  • As the temperature cools down, you will notice a bit thicker sauce.  
  • Changes in temperature consistency of your coconut milk mac and cheese
  • Adding a small amount of water or fresh coconut milk after refrigeration will restore original consistency

Coconut milk vegan Mac

Create the Perfect Vegan Mac and Cheese

There are literally hundreds of ways to create a delicious vegan mac and cheese!  I absolutely love this coconut milk variation because there is just sooo much you can do with it! It’s the perfect plant based mac because it is

  • Hearty in flavor
  • Creamy
  • Quick
  • Kinda sweet which gives an awesome variation to standard mac
  • Has a zesty cheesy falovr!

Another one of my favorites is just adding some standard nooch sauce without the coconut milk to noodles.  

What is your favorite way to vary up this comfort food vegan style? 

macaroni and cheese on a plate
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Coconut Milk Mac and Cheese

This scrumptious comfort food is made entirely from from plants!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lactose free mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese
Servings: 8
Cost: $7.50

Equipment

  • medium sized pan

Ingredients

Plant Based Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup cashews soaked
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast small flakes
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice fresh squeezed
  • ¼ cup mustard dijon or ground
  • 4 cups pasta noodles
  • 1 can coconut milk

Instructions

  • Combine all sauce ingredients. Blend on high 1-2 minutes in a high powered blender.
  • Cook noodles for 10 minutes
  • Add cashew coconut milk mac and cheese sauce to noodles.

Video

Notes

The sauce will thicken as it is heated or sits.  

Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I'm an eating disorders dietitian in Washington state. I hold bachelors degrees nutrition & dietetics, cultural anthropology & psychology. I believe in honoring your hunger, having your cake whenever you want it, and that critically analyzing diet culture can change the world!

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