12 Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Recipes Your Children Will Enjoy

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When people hear the word vegan, they initially turn their nose up at the idea. This is especially the case with children, who want to try everything and crave to fit in with their friends. They don’t want to feel like outsiders because of dietary choices made by parents.

It’s time to start making everyday meals with a vegan twist. You get to help your children feel like they’re having the same as everyone else – and others around them will see the food and believe that it’s just the same. Most of the time the food is tastier and so much healthier without the animal products, especially animal fats and animal forms of vitamin A.

Macaroni and cheese is a popular dish for kids. It’s simple and can be so much fun. After all, there are so many ways to spruce it up. Did you even think you’d be stuck with a normal mac and cheese for the rest of your life?

Not at all! Here are 12 vegan macaroni and cheese recipes that you and your children (and of course their friends) will love and want more.

Gluten Free Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Let’s start with a very simple recipe that you can make throughout the week. This is one of those to do on a night after work when the kids are starving. You can even bulk make it, so you have extra for a night that you know you just want to pop something in the microwave and heat up quickly.

It takes an hour to make fully but you only need eight ingredients. The best thing about the world now is that there are plenty of alternatives for normal animal products in grocery stores, so you’ll easily find anything that you need.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 10-12oz gluten free penne pasta (if you don’t need it to be gluten-free, you can opt for normal penne pasta or macaroni)
  • 4 tbsp oil of choice
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 ½ tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 cups of almond milk, more may be needed, unsweetened is the best
  • 5 tbsp nutritional yeast more may be needed
  • ½ cup of vegan parmesan cheese, more for serving
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Roast the garlic in an oven preheated to 400F; you’ll need to chop the garlic head off and drizzle with oil, roasting for about 45-60 minutes until you can smell the aromas
  • Allow the garlic to cool
  • Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the instructions, setting aside once finished
  • On medium heat, heat the oil in a skillet and add the fresh garlic, cooking for about 2 minutes
  • Add in the starch and cook for another minute
  • Add the almond milk slowly while whisking, cooking for two minutes; there will be some lumps, but that’s normal
  • Add to a blender with the roasted garlic cloves, the yeast, cheese, and some salt and pepper and then blend on high until creamy; adjust the seasoning and cheese if necessary
  • Pour the sauce into the skillet and heat until warmed through, whisking now and then; the longer you leave it, the thicker the sauce will become
  • Add the pasta and coat completely
  • Pour into a dish and top with extra cheese and grill for about 2 minutes until golden brown

You’ll need to watch when grilling as it doesn’t take long for the vegan cheese to brown. You don’t want to burn it! You can keep the leftovers in the fridge for three days, but they will last longer in the freezer.

Green Chilli Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

This mac and cheese recipe won’t take as long. Not all kids will like the green chili so you can omit it if you want. Encourage them to at least try it, because they really don’t know what they’re missing.

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz macaroni shells
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup of cashew nuts, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth
  • 1tbsp corn-starch
  • 1/2tsp cumin, ground
  • 3/4tsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 2tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 can have diced chilies, divided in half
  • 1 cup of tortilla chips
  • Fresh cilantro for garnishing if required

Method:

  • Crush the tortilla chips into fine crumbs and place on a baking tray with parchment paper
  • Spray the chips with oil and a bit of salt and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F
  • Make the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet
  • Sauté the onion and garlic over a medium to low heat and then season with some salt and pepper, cooking for about 7 minutes
  • Place the onions and garlic into a blender with the rest of the ingredients, except the chips and cilantro, but only add half the chilies, and blend until smooth
  • Drain the macaroni and cover, setting to one side
  • Add the cheese sauce to the pan you used for the pasta and cook on a low heat to thicken the sauce
  • Add in the macaroni and the rest of the chilies, stirring to combine
  • Serve with the chips and cilantro sprinkled over the top

This is best served immediately. You’ll find everyone wants to know the secret to the crunchy topping.

Vegan and Soy Free Butternut Mac

What if I told you that you could add some butternut squash to your macaroni and cheese? This is a great way to make a whole food plant based meal so you can focus on a paleo friendly meal. It’s completely healthy, but your kids won’t realize the difference.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of butternut squash, chopped into cubes
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • 16oz macaroni, cooked according to packet
  • ¼ cup pasta liquid, reserved after cooking
  • ¼ cup of cashew nuts, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinches of paprika, nutmeg, and turmeric

Method:

  • Cover the squash and onions with water in a pot and bring to a boil, before reducing the heat to simmer until tender
  • Cook the noodles, reserving the liquid after and set aside
  • Drain the vegetables and place in a blender, adding the lemon juice, nuts, mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, spices, and cooking liquid and blend until smooth
  • Add the sauce to the noodles and stir to combine, warming if needed

This recipe takes just 30 minutes to make. It’s one of the quickest to make for your kids at the end of a long day, and they’ll look forward to it the whole time they’re at school!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with a Vegan Twist

Cauliflower macaroni and cheese is a popular alternative to the traditional, boring mac and cheese. Kids get their vegetables without even realizing most of the time. You can add a vegan twist to it without too much hassle.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of macaroni
  • 1 cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp black pepper
  • Vegan parmesan cheese if required

Method:

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions and then set to one side
  • Bring a large pan of water to a boil and then add in the carrots and cauliflower, cooking for 15 minutes
  • Drain and add the vegetables to a blender with the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese and pasta, blending until smooth
  • Add the sauce to the pasta and warm through if necessary
  • Serve with the option parmesan

This recipe also tastes delicious with a little bit of paprika sprinkled over the top.

Make Your Macaroni Cheese with Pumpkin

How about adding pumpkin to your macaroni cheese? This is a delicious and nutritious way to make your mac and cheese vegan, without any complaints from the kids. They’ll love the slightly different texture and sweeter taste the pumpkin offers, especially if they get to carve a pumpkin along with it!

Ingredients:

  • 750g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 500ml vegetable broth, hot
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 320g macaroni
  • 1tsp cornflower
  • 3tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Black pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Add everything except the macaroni, cornflower, and yeast to a large pan, place it on a medium heat, and cook for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally
  • Cook the macaroni according to the instructions
  • Pour the pumpkin mix into a blender and process until smooth
  • Drain the macaroni and then return to the pan, adding in the pumpkin sauce
  • Coat the pasta fully and return to the heat, adding the cornflour to thicken the sauce
  • Remove from the heat and add the nutritional yeast, seasoning with the pepper
  • Sprinkle some nutmeg over the top for serving

The kids will want this whenever they have friends over and when the winter nights draw in. Pumpkin is one of those vegetables that offers a source of warmth and comfort.

Potato Macaroni

It’s time to use the trusty potatoes for your next vegan recipe. The downside of potatoes is that they have a lot of calories. While that’s great for the kids, if you’re thinking about having a portion you’ll want to keep the portion size down if you’re on a diet. The great news is that the potatoes are starchy, so they’re filling.

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes, peeled
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups of macaroni
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tsp paprika
  • 10tbsp oil

 

Method:

  • Place the potatoes whole into a cooking pot, covering with cold water and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, before draining and setting to one side
  • In a second pot, cook the macaroni in salt water, according to the instructions, stirring now and then
  • Remove the macaroni from the heat at the end, and then cover and leave for 5 minutes before draining and placing back into the empty pot
  • Place the potatoes into a skillet with the onions and mash lightly
  • Place in with the macaroni with 2tsp of salt and mix together with the paprika

This is a slight twist on macaroni cheese. Your kids will notice the difference, but they’ll love it. You can serve with a salad or some dill pickles on the side.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Sweet Potato and Kale Macaroni and Cheese

If you want something with a bit of a different taste, then why not try some sweet potatoes instead? When you add some kale, you get more nutrients thrown in without the kids trying to pick it all out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 pack of pasta
  • 1 cup of dairy-free milk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  • 2tbsp tamari
  • 1tbsp oil of choice
  • 2 cups of kale, shredded
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Make some holes in the sweet potato and wrap in foil, baking for about 45-60 minutes – you can cheat and do this in the microwave to cut down on the prep time
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions
  • Peel the skin from the potato once finished and cool enough
  • Add to a plenty with the rest of the ingredients, except the pasta and kale
  • Heat the kale in a pot until it’s wilted
  • Stir everything together and heat through until warm

This is best served immediately. The potato will help to give the sauce a creamy texture, especially with the dairy-free milk.

Roasted Carrot Mac and Cheese with Cashew Cream

This is an option for those who aren’t allergic to nuts. If you’re not sure, sometimes it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cashew nuts, soaked for 30 minutes in boiling water
  • 16oz of macaroni
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp cayenne pepper sauce
  • 8oz tofu
  • ½ cup of coconut milk
  • ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup of potato chips, crushed finely

Method:

  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions
  • Sauté the carrots in a skillet and oil for 2 minutes and then add the onion, cooking for another 3 minutes
  • Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant
  • Drain the cashew nuts and place in a blender, adding the vegetables, broth, lemon, salt, and pepper sauce, blending until smooth
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients, except the potato chips, and blend together
  • Stir in the sauce with the macaroni and warm through
  • Spread the macaroni and cheese in a pan and sprinkle with the potato chips and grill for a few minutes.

This is best served immediately but can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.

Traditional Mac and Cheese in a Vegan Style

There are so many fancy macaroni cheese dishes, and we’ll have plenty more to share below, but there are times that you just want something traditional. Your kids don’t want to feel like they’re eating something new, even if it is tasty. They want just to be able to tell their friends they have good ole mac and cheese. Well, here’s a more traditional recipe that is in a vegan style.

Ingredients:

  • 350g macaroni
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion
  • 1 liter soya milk – or another milk alternative
  • 100g vegan margarine/butter
  • 85g plain flour
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 ½ tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 50g vegan cheese
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ bunch of thyme stalks removed
  • Oil of choice
  • 40g breadcrumbs

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet in salt water
  • Halve the peeled onion and place in a small pan with the milk, bringing to the boil
  • Remove the milk from the heat and remove the onion
  • In another pan, melt the butter and then add the flour, stirring regularly to create a paste
  • Add in the milk a little at a time, whisking until smooth
  • Bring the sauce back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened
  • Stir in the mustard, yeast, and grated vegan cheese, seasoning with the salt and pepper
  • Add to the drained macaroni, coating well
  • Transfer the macaroni to a dish and put to one side
  • Cook the garlic and thyme leaves for 2-3 minutes and then place in a blender with the breadcrumbs, processing until roughly chopped
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumb mix over the pasta dish and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes and then serve

There really won’t be much of a different taste, and you can omit the vegan cheese if you’d like.

Green Mac and Cheese

Who said that your mac and cheese had to turn out yellow? How about turning it a bright green color? Kids love to do something wacky like this now and then. This is completely vegan and soy-free friendly.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of water
  • 4 cups of spinach
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tbsp coconut flour
  • 5oz vegan cheese, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 servings of macaroni/pasta noodles
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

 

Method:

  • Cook the pasta following the packet instructions
  • Combine the water and a quarter of the spinach in a blender, turning it into a liquid
  • Keep adding a bit of spinach at a time, until it is all pureed, and then place to one side
  • Melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and then whisk in the flour until smooth, reducing the heat to a low setting
  • Add the spinach puree, constantly whisking to create a sauce
  • Add in the cheese cubes and garlic, stirring until the cheese melts
  • Season with the salt and pepper and then fold in the pasta

You’ll get the bright green sauce from the spinach mix. The best part about this is you know your kids are getting their greens without realizing because they’re too intrigued at the funky coloring.

Curried Mac and Cheese

How about a taste of India with your macaroni and cheese? I bet you never thought you’d be able to do something like that, huh? Well, here’s the perfect vegan macaroni and cheese recipe for the kids.

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz of pasta, cooked to packaged instructions
  • 2tsp oil of choice
  • 1/4tsp of cumin seeds and coriander seeds
  • 1/8tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup of red onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2in ginger, chopped
  • 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, garam masala, and cinnamon
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of cashew nuts
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp lime juice
  • 2tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup of dairy-free milk of choice
  • ¼ tsp black pepper and onion granules

Method:

  • In a large skillet, heat the onions on a medium heat and then add in all the spices and seeds, cooking for 2 minutes until fragrant
  • Add the ginger, garlic, and salt and cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • Add the cayenne, cinnamon, and garam masala and stir to mix
  • Add the tomatoes, water, nuts, salt, and lime juice and bring to the boil, cooking for a few minutes
  • Allow to cool a little and then add the milk and yeast to a blender, blending until smooth
  • Return everything to the skillet and then add the pasta, onion granules, and pepper, cooking for another 3-4 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken
  • If you want a bit more of a bite, you can add some more spices or some mustard

Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before serving. It’s amazing with some paprika and cilantro over the top.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese with Chickpeas

Chickpeas tend to be a popular addition to any vegan recipe because they are so easy to use. This is the only one of the 12 vegan macaroni and cheese recipes that have them, though! Are you impressed? This one will take a little longer than all the others to prepare and make. You may want to save it to a none work day just for the first time until you get used to it.

Ingredients for the Chickpeas:

  • 1 can have cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup of buffalo sauce
  • Ingredients for the ranch sauce:
  • 3tbsp vegan mayo
  • 2tbsp plain vegan yogurt
  • 2tbsp cashew nuts, soaked for at least 30 minutes
  • 1tbsp dairy-free milk of your choice
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp onion powder and garlic salt
  • Pinch of dried parsley, black pepper, dried dill, and salt
  • Ingredients for the pasta:
  • 2 ½ cups of dried pasta, cooked to instructions
  • 1 tube of Cheddar Teese (vegan cheddar)
  • 1 cup of milk alternative of choice

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • Toss the chickpeas in a quarter cup of the buffalo sauce, coating evenly, and then spread on a lined baking tray
  • Bake the chickpeas for 12 minutes, turn them over, and bake for another 12 minutes
  • Place them in the bowl with an extra tbsp. of the sauce and put to one side
  • Place all the ranch ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, adding some milk alternative if you need to, and then pour into a cup and set aside
  • After the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with water and then place back into the pot
  • Set the pot on a low to medium heat and add in the vegan cheddar and milk, stirring until melted completely and coated well

To serve, you can add some romaine lettuce and celery to the mac and cheese if you’d like. Place the mac and cheese on the plate and add the chickpeas on top, drizzling with a bit of extra buffalo sauce. Top with the ranch sauce. Your kids will feel like they’re in the best restaurant in town!

Bring Veganism to Life in Your Kitchen

There’s no need to make your kids feel upset that they’re not getting milk and cheese on a regular basis. There are plenty of vegan alternatives in stores now. And you don’t always need them either! With the recipes above, you can have all sorts of variations of macaroni and cheese.

Your kids will love to have something traditional or a fun and quirky take that they can tell their friends all about. Just keep in mind that you’ll have a lot of requests for dinner parties with their friends, so they can show off your amazing cooking skills – and then the kids will want the recipes for their moms and dads to cook.

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