Wholly Macaroni

I couldn’t shake the question out of my head. It ran loops around my brain, echoing off the walls of my skull. Surely, there were more important matters to consider, but no. All I could think about was cheese. Mac and cheese, to be precise. It suddenly struck me that many years had passed since I revisited my previous gold standard for Stove Top-Style Macaroni and Cheese, and wondered if it would still hold up to scrutiny.

Considering the great strides that dairy-free foods have made since then, the bar had been raised to lofty heights I could have never imagined back in the day, toiling over the stove with little more than memories of the blue box to light my path. Yes, indeed, it was still good stuff… But it could certainly be better.

A few tiny tweaks make a world of difference. It’s all about incorporating the subtle umami nuances and sharp bite that a good aged cheddar might impart, but nothing earth-shaking that would come as a wild departure from the norm. Just a bit more finesse, some higher-quality ingredients, and a better understanding of the alchemical changes that flavors undergo with varying temperature and time.

Toeing the line between healthy and indulgent, the new and improved sauce introduces a handful of red lentils for body and viscosity, with the side benefit of adding extra protein and fiber into the mix. At the same time, a fearless dose of vegan butter creates that inimitable velvety texture also known as kokumi, enhancing and amplifying flavors, much like salt. Nutritional yeast is essential, of course, but joining it in savory harmony is a dash of miso, lending a greater depth of umami flavor in every cheesy, creamy bite.

Yes, it’s a bit more involved than tearing open a packet of dried dairy-derived mystery powder, but there’s no going back once you taste the difference.

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 Servings

Vegan Stove Top Mac & Cheese 2.0

Vegan Stove Top Mac & Cheese 2.0

Make your own velvety cheese sauce that's even better than the box, without any dairy or gluten. Is this the best vegan mac and cheese recipe on earth? I'm not saying that... But you just might.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1/2 Cup Peeled and Diced Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Red Lentils (Dry)
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded or Finely Diced Carrot
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 1/4 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/3 Cup Raw Cashews, Soaked*
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoon White Miso Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened, Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter, Melted
  • 1 Pound Pasta (Gluten-Free if Needed), Cooked


    1. Place the cut potatoes, lentils, carrots, onion, and garlic in a small sauce pan, and pour in the stock. Set over medium heat on the stove, and bring to a boil.
    2. Once the water reaches a vigorous boil, cover the pot, turn down the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are cooked through and the potatoes are extremely tender.
    3. Meanwhile, place the cashews, nutritional yeast, miso, vinegar, mustard, salt, paprika, and tumeric in your blender. A high-speed blender is recommended for the best results, but you can also use an ordinary machine as long as you have patience. Give these ingredients a light pulse just to begin breaking down the cashews.
    4. When the vegetables on the stove are fully cooked and ready, pour them into your blender along with all of the cooking water. Add in the non-dairy milk, and turn on the blender to its highest setting. Thoroughly puree the mixture, until completely smooth and lump-free. If you’re using a blender that isn’t so hearty, this could take 6 – 10 minutes. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in melted butter, allowing it to properly emulsify.
    5. Pour the sauce over your cooked noodles, toss to combine, and serve immediately.


*You can either soak your nuts in room temperature water for 4 - 6 hours, or you can do a “quick soak” by covering them with water in a pot and bringing it to a boil. Once the water boils, remove them from the heat and let sit for an hour.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 542mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 9g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.




13 thoughts on “Wholly Macaroni

  1. Holy sh*t.

    I’m moving at the end of the month so I’m trying to hold off on buying new ingredients and kitchen staples and all that, so I don’t have to move it all, but with that photo, ooooh, man… I want this to be the first meal I make at our new place! Aaaaahhhhhhhh!

    Thank you for sharing your discoveries with us; that is way too cool. Cheers and smiles : )

    1. Such an honor to imagine my humble little mac and cheese recipe christening your new kitchen! I hope it’s a delicious start to many more fantastic meals to come. I want to hear what you think at some point of course, but just enjoy, take it easy, and best wishes on the move!

  2. Love this gorgeous golden mac & cheese! I’m sure that the healthy addition of lentils and sweet addition of cashew elevate this dish to a whole new level.

    1. Thank you! I hope you can try it and experience that cheesy goodness, too. :)

  3. Absolutely love cooking vegan! This is a recipe to die for. Thank you for sharing, and I will definitely add it to my list of yummy goodness recipes! =).

  4. […] Mac and cheese: Everyone’s favorite childhood comfort food is back on the table again. The easiest solution is to simply melt down vegan butter and stir in nutritional yeast until smooth. Season with salt and toss in al dente pasta. You can get a much more complex flavor from additional seasoning, but even the basics alone are highly satisfying. See Vegan Stove-Top Mac and Cheese. […]

  5. […] Macaroni and cheese is the foundation of every childhood diet, often the first thing kids learn to make for themselves. Meanwhile, macaroni salad is the catalyst for every summer picnic or backyard barbecue worth attending. How is it possible that these two keystone American staples have never met before? The share the same beloved noodle and the same creamy consistency; what’s kept them apart for all these years? […]

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