Throw away ALL negative thoughts you may have about vegan mac and cheese because this recipe creates the most AMAZING mac and cheese I’ve ever had. I make this mac and cheese Cajun-style by adding sauteed bell peppers, onions, sausage, cajun spices, and hot sauce. This vegan cajun mac and cheese is so cheesy, creamy, and full of flavor. You NEED to give it a try.
This Vegan Cajun Mac and Cheese is SO CHEESY
I mean, CHEESY CHEESY. To make this mac and cheese super cheesy, I created a cashew cheese sauce in addition to using store-bought vegan cheddar cheese. For my cashew cheese sauce, I blend softened cashews, cashew milk, nutritional yeast, miso paste, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar.
The cheese sauce is, of course, cheesy but also very tangy with a slight umami kick from the miso paste. If you’re unfamiliar with the word ‘umami,’ it is a category of taste in food that’s not sweet, sour, salty, or bitter. It’s almost best described as meaty and savory, with a touch of earthiness that deepens the flavor of the dish it’s used in. This cajun vegan mac and cheese has a tiny touch of umami that is absolutely delicious and makes it taste more closely to a “real” mac and cheese.
Prepping Makes the Job Easier
This recipe is easy to make, but it does take some time and effort to whip up. My biggest tip is to read through my recipe before beginning it and follow my recipe steps in the order I’ve provided. I also highly recommend having all of your ingredients prepped and measured before putting the recipe together. This will make your time in the kitchen a lot easier versus running around like a crazy person with their head cut off.
I am beyond excited for you to recreate my baked vegan cajun mac and cheese, as it’s one of my favorite recipes. It’s so cheesy, savory, slightly spicy, and ultra-creamy, and comforting. I love that it has some veggies and vegan meat in it, making it feel like a whole meal, so I don’t need to cook any other foods to go along with it. I am more than confident you will love this vegan macaroni and cheese as much as I do!
If you make my baked vegan cajun mac and cheese (or any of my recipes!), don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make Baked Vegan Cajun Mac and Cheese
Cashew Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews (These need to soak in water for at least 3 hours to soften)
- 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened cashew milk
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp sweet white miso paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 vegan sausage links, cut into 1/2 inch round slices (I use Field Roast's chipotle sausage)
- 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
- 3/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded vegan parmesan
- 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta (I always use corkscrews)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup bell peppers, small diced (I use a combination of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, small diced
- 1 tbsp garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 tsp favorite cajun seasoning (I use Slap Ya Mama's)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened cashew milk
- 3 tbsp TABASCO original red hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese
Cashew Cheese Sauce
- Drain the cashews from the water and rinse them well. Add them into a high-powered blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blend until extremely smooth. Set aside and move on to the next step.
- Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add in the olive oil followed by the sausage. Cook them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Season the sausage with the cajun seasoning, stir well, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through. Do NOT overcook, as they will continue cooking in the oven later on. Set aside and move on to the next step.
- Add all of the ingredients into a small bowl and toss until evenly combined. Set aside and move on to the next step.
Macaroni Base + How to Bake the Mac and Cheese
- Cook your choice of pasta al-dente in salted water. I always use corkscrew pasta, and I cook it for 6 minutes in rapid boiling water. You do NOT want to overcook the pasta, as it will continue cooking in the oven later on. Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water to stop it from cooking. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the pasta and toss it to keep them from sticking together.
- Place a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add in the olive oil, followed by the diced peppers and onions. Saute them for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add in the cajun seasoning and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
- Add in the butter, and once melted, add in the flour. Stir constantly for 1 1/2 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in half of the milk and stir until smooth. Add in the rest of the milk and stir until smooth.
- Add in the Tabasco, liquid smoke, and the cashew cheese sauce you made earlier. Stir to evenly combine everything and cook until the mixture is slowly bubbling.
- Add in 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
- Turn the heat off and add in the pasta and sausage. Stir until evenly combined.
- Grease a 9-inch round or square baking dish with butter. Scrape the mac and cheese into the dish and spread it around evenly.
- Top the mac and cheese with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and the panko topping.
- To bake the mac and cheese, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, wrap the top of the dish with a piece of tin foil. Place the dish on the middle oven rack and bake it for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the dish for another 10 minutes. Lastly, turn the broiler on and broil it for 1 to 2 minutes or until evenly golden brown on top.
SAVE THIS RECIPE ON PINTEREST!