The Best Mac and Cheese

Yeah. The best mac and cheese? That’s a big claim. We’ve made mac and cheese on the blog before, but we’ve heard over and over again that this recipe below is THE BEST, so we believe it. Plus, we love it so much ourselves, so we’re going with it. And there will be some leftover cheese to make other kinds of cheesy goodness. Stay tuned this week for a good use for it!

Creamy, cheesy mac and cheese casserole with broccoli. It's vegan, gluten-free, and AMAZING! #fruitsohard #vegan #glutenfree #macandcheese #cheese #dinner #recipe

Seriously, what’s not to love? Potato/carrot cheese, gluten-free noodles, and added greens that taste like the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. And it’s all baked to perfection. Come on. Take one look at the photo below and try to deny how good that looks. You know you wanna. ๐Ÿ™‚

Creamy, cheesy mac and cheese casserole with broccoli. It's vegan, gluten-free, and AMAZING! #fruitsohard #vegan #glutenfree #macandcheese #cheese #dinner #recipe

If you want more ideas for dinner, check out our brown rice and lentil loaf, stuffed peppers, stuffed portobello mushrooms, and broccoli potato soup. And if you want some side ideas, try these cornbread muffins or these garlicky breadsticks. Nom! ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me know if you try this recipe! Comment below, rate it, or take a photo and tag meย @fruitsohardย on Instagram. Iโ€™d love to see your creations. And don’t forget to cultivate some positivity and gratitude today. Tell me in the comments what you’re grateful for if you’d like. Happy eating!

The Best Mac and Cheese
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
Yes, this IS the BEST mac and cheese! It's vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and SO delicious! This creamy, cheesy dish is a total crowd-pleaser.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegan | Gluten-Free
Servings: 8 -10
What you'll need:
  • 4 small/medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium/large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • (optional) 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small/medium red bell pepper, cut up and seeded
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can organic coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika (plus a dash more as topping)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos or (vegan) worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of liquid smoke
  • 2 small heads broccoli, cut into florets (including stems - about 3 cups)
  • 16 oz. pasta (we love shells with this)
What you'll do:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and ready a cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onion until soft (10-15 minutes). Then drain, saving 2 cups of the starchy water.
  3. In a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix), add jalapeno, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, cashews, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, cumin, apple cider vinegar/lemon juice, coconut aminos, and liquid smoke along with the potatoes, carrots, and onion. Run on high until smooth and creamy, adding the starchy water until the mixture is the consistency you prefer. Make it slightly thinner than you think because the pasta and the broccoli will soak up some of the moisture. Taste and adjust seasonings as you like.
  4. Spread broccoli out on cookie sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges start to toast.
  5. While broccoli is roasting, boil the pasta and cook to al dente (not yet soft). Then drain.
  6. Add drained pasta to large mixing bowl and pour in some of the cheese sauce. Stir until pasta is evenly coated, adding more cheese as necessary. Then add broccoli and more cheese sauce and stir. You will have leftover cheese. See notes for ideas.**
  7. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, spread it evenly into a large casserole dish and bake for 5-10 minutes (just to toast the top - longer for wheat noodles). Adding paprika for color or (GF) panko bread crumbs (optional) for crunch can be a nice touch.
Recipe Notes

*This dish is gluten-free with GF pasta. We love brown rice pasta (shells, specifically, for this dish).
**With the leftover cheese, you can make cheesy rice, cover baked potatoes with it, or top nachos! You can add it to tacos and burritos, make a soup with it, or dip chips into it. Add salsa and beans for a queso dip, or throw it into chili for a cheesy chili. Nom! ๐Ÿ™‚
***Sometimes, we add Gardein beefless crumbles and make a cheeseburger mac. So good!
****Big thanks to Husband for this recipe!