Updated: Jan 6
Want to make the creamiest vegan mac ‘n cheese using NO store-bought plant-based cheese? Our recipe uses inexpensive ingredients that you can buy at any grocery store. We also added a bit of heat by incorporating everyone’s favorite chili oil: the beloved Lao Gan Ma chili crisp!
I love trying new vegan cheeses! Miyokos, Follow Your Heart, and Violife are AMAZING products, and I think that everyone should give them a try.
But to be honest, I only buy my vegan cheese from Whole Foods or Ralphs if they're on sale (or if I'm feeling like treating myself). These products can be expensive, and I don't REALLY need them. That's why I decided to make my own cheese sauce using carrots and potatoes. Bao and I love spicy food, so we also incorporated Lao Gan Ma chili crisps into the sauce. If you want a simple yet delicious creamy vegan mac, give this a try!
Disclaimer: Some of the links provided are affiliate links, and I might earn some commission from these links. Think of it as a tip jar because this helps us keep our site ad-free! (:
Lao Gan Ma Mac 'n Cheese
16 oz large elbow pasta, dry
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp tapioca starch
2/3 cup nutritional yeast (more for cheesier taste)
1 cup pasta water
2 cup water (sub with unsweetened oat milk for even creamier consistency)
1-2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegan butter
Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions (make sure to generously salt your water). Save 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta. Set aside.
Fill large pot with water and toss in potatoes and carrots. Bring pot to boil and let it continue boiling for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Drain and set aside.
Add tapioca starch to pasta water and stir well to create slurry.
In blender, add potatoes, carrots, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, lao gan ma chili crisp, salt, 2 cups of water/oat milk, and vinegar. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add tapioca slurry and blend again to incorporate. Taste test then add additional salt or other seasonings as needed. If mixture is too thick to blend or pour, add water 2 tbsp at a time until desired consistency.
In medium sized sauce pan, melt vegan butter on medium heat. Then add the cheese mixture, and stir until all the butter is incorporated. Add extra water/oat milk as needed to achieve desired consistency of cheese sauce. If sauce is not thick enough, create another slurry with 2 tbsp tapioca starch + 1/4 cup water and add to mixture.
Pour desired amount of cheese sauce over macaroni. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.
We used a high speed blender for our sauce. If you don't have access to one, try to blend for a longer amount of time to get a smoother sauce. You might also need to cut your potatoes and carrots into smaller pieces. (Note: We swear by our Vitamix, and it's probably one of the best splurges we've made in the last few months)
Sauce can be made ahead of time! Just stop at step 4 and refrigerate until needed
To elevate the taste even further, melt some butter and mix it into bread crumbs (we love Panko breadcrumbs). Pour mac n cheese into baking tray and top with buttery breadcrumb mixture. Cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Then remove foil and broil on high for 2 - 4 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden.
Let us know what you think in the comments! What other ingredients would you try with cheese sauce?