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Smoky Vegan Mac and Cheese


Creamy, smoky vegan mac and cheese topped with cheesy-crunchy breadcrumbs is an easy, delicious side dish. Just cook the pasta, mix the sauce ingredients in the baking dish, mix in pasta, top with breadcrumb topping, bake and done! I give you lots of options for toppings and mix-ins to make it your own!

smoky mac and cheese in the pan
Table of Contents

This is a super easy smoky vegan mac and cheese. You cook your pasta, then mix this sauce right in the baking dish and add your cooked pasta to it. Even it out, then top it with this amazing, cheesy breadcrumb mixture and bake until golden and bubbly.

bowl of smoky vegan mac and cheese

It is a super flexible recipe; you can change up the flavors as you like. Reduce the smoked paprika for a less smoky flavor or add in some mustard for more tang. Use extra black pepper for black pepper mac and cheese. You can add in chopped jalapeños, too, for a spicy jalapeño mac!  Or stir in some buffalo sauce or cajun spice for different flavors. Keep this pasta bake handy for weeknight meals!

The sauce has a mix of herbs, spices, some flour, non dairy milk, and non dairy yogurt or cream cheese or sour cream. It comes together in the pan itself and is perfect with any cooked pasta. Serve with my Crispy tofu or tofu schnitzels or my lentil loaf or chickpea loaf.

close-up of smoky mac and cheese in the pan

Why You’ll Love Smoky Mac and Cheese

  • easy, comfort food side dish
  • smoky, creamy sauce bakes in the oven – no pre-cooking needed!
  • crunchy, cheesy breadcrumb topping
  • delicious, smoky flavor
  • easy to make soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free
close-up of a bowl of smoky vegan mac and cheese

More Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes

Recipe Card

close-up of smoky mac and cheese in the pan

Print Recipe

Smoky Vegan Mac and Cheese

Creamy, smoky vegan mac and cheese topped with cheesy-crunchy breadcrumbs is an easy, delicious side dish. Just cook the pasta, mix the sauce ingredients in the baking dish, mix in pasta, top with breadcrumb topping, bake and done! I give you lots of options for toppings and mix-ins to make it your own!

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time30 minutes

Total Time50 minutes

Course: Side, Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Keyword: smoky mac and cheese, smoky vegan mac and cheese

Servings: 6

Calories: 280kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

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Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (170.1 g) macaroni or other pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained and rinsed in cold water

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (118.29 ml) non-dairy sour cream or yogurt or cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon yellow miso, use chickpea miso for Soyfree
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup (177.44 ml) warm non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup (59 g) vegan cheese like a mix of cheddar and mozzarella or cheddar and vegan Parmesan

For the Breadcrumb Topping

  • 3/4 cup (81 g) breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) vegan cheese, such as a mix of cheddar and vegan Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika depending on how smoky you want the topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C) and cook your pasta according to instructions on the package, if you haven’t already. (Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water, and mix and cook until the pasta is a bit more than al dente. ) Drain and rinse with room temperature water, and set aside. (I usually cook the pasta when ready to bake as it reduces the bake time)

Make the sauce.

  • In a 9×11” or similar-sized baking dish, add the non-dairy sour cream, miso, and ketchup, half of the non dairy milk, and mix really well. Be sure to mix the miso in to the mixture well, because otherwise later it will just be a blob in the entire sauce.

  • Mix in all of the spices, salt, and the flour and mix in.

  • Add in the remaining non-dairy milk, vegan cheese and mix. Add your cooked pasta, and toss well to a coat. If the sauce is too thick or not feeling like enough sauce for your pasta, add in 1/4 cup more non-dairy milk and mix. Then even out the top of the casserole with the spatula and make the topping .

Make the breadcrumb topping and bake.

  • In a small bowl, add all of the topping ingredients, except the olive oil, and mix really well. Then, drizzle the olive oil onto the mixture and mix in.

  • Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the baking dish, and even out the top of with a spatula

  • Bake for 14-17 minutes, until the top is golden and the sauce is starting to get nice and bubbly. You might need more or less cooking time, based on your baking dish and your oven.

  • Remove the baking dish from the oven, and garnish with fresh herbs and optional pepper flakes. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Video

Notes

Variations:

  • Add in some sliced jalapeño to the sauce and on top, for jalapeño mac and cheese.
  • fold some blanched broccoli into the mac and cheese just before baking.
  • Use extra black pepper for black pepper mac and cheese.
  • Stir in some buffalo sauce or cajun spice for different flavors

Protein options: with my Crispy tofu or tofu schnitzels or my lentil loaf or chickpea loaf, crisped up vegan chicken, grilled portobello mushrooms, or plant-based protein of choice.
This is a soy-free recipe, if you use a soy-free non-dairy sour cream, non-dairy milk, and cheese.
To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free pasta and cornstarch or other starch instead of flour.
To make it nut-free, use a nut-free vegan cheese, non-dairy sour cream, and non-dairy milk.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Smoky Vegan Mac and Cheese

Amount Per Serving

Calories 280
Calories from Fat 81

% Daily Value*

Fat 9g14%

Saturated Fat 3g19%

Sodium 653mg28%

Potassium 131mg4%

Carbohydrates 42g14%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 8g16%

Vitamin A 421IU8%

Vitamin C 0.2mg0%

Calcium 82mg8%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe?Please do leave a comment and rating below.. Tag me on Instagram @veganricha
pasta, vegan cheese, and other mac and cheese ingredients in bowls on the kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • macaroni – Or use your favorite bite-sized pasta. Choose gluten-free, if needed.
  • non-dairy sour cream – Adds creaminess to the sauce. You can use vegan yogurt or cream cheese, if you prefer. Choose nut-free and/or soy-free, if needed.
  • yellow miso – Adds a cheesy, umami flavor. Use chickpea miso for Soyfree
  • ketchup – Or use tomato paste. Adds umami and color to the sauce.
  • ground spices – Onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika season the sauce. You’re using smoked paprika and onion powder in the breadcrumb topping, too!
  • flour – To thicken the sauce in the oven. Use cornstarch instead for gluten-free.
  • non-dairy milk – Adds moisture and creaminess to the sauce. Choose nut-free and/or soy-free, if needed.
  • vegan cheese – We are adding cheese to the sauce and the topping for maximum cheesiness! Choose nut-free and/or soy-free, if needed.
  • breadcrumbs – For the topping. Use gluten-free, if needed.
  • olive oil – Helps the topping brown in the oven.

💡 Tips

  • When you add the miso to the pan, mix it in really well, because it won’t dissolve during baking otherwise.
  • Save time by prepping the sauce and breadcrumb topping while the pasta cooks.

How to Make Smoky Mac and Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C) and cook your pasta according to instructions on the package, if you haven’t already. (Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water, and mix and cook until the pasta is a cooked bit more than al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside. 

In a 9×11” or similar-sized baking dish, add the non-dairy sour cream, half of the non dairy milk, miso, and ketchup and mix really well. Be sure to mix the miso in to the mixture well, because otherwise later it will just be a blob in the entire sauce. 

mixing non-dairy milk into the sauce
adding vegan sour cream to the sauce

Mix in all of the spices, salt, and the flour and mix in. 

adding flour, nutritional yeast, and spices to the cheese sauce

Add in the remaining non-dairy milk, and mix well, then fold in the cheese.

folding the cheese into the smoky mac and cheese sauce

Add your cooked pasta, and toss well to a coat. If the sauce is too thick or not feeling like enough sauce for your pasta, add in 1/4 cup more non-dairy milk. Then even out the top of the casserole with the spatula and make the topping .

adding pasta to the pan of vegan smoky cheese sauce
mixing the pasta into the sauce
evening out the top of the macaroni

In a small bowl, add all of the topping ingredients, except the olive oil, and mix really well. Then, drizzle the olive oil onto the mixture and mix in. 

adding spices to the breadcrumbs
vegan cheese mixed into the breadcrumb mixture

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the baking dish, and even out the top of with a spatula again. 

adding breadcrumb topping

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the sauce is starting to get nice and bubbly. You might need more or less cooking time, based on your baking dish and your oven. 

Remove the baking dish from the oven, and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve immediately and enjoy.

bowl of smoky vegan mac and cheese

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe allergy friendly?

This is a soy-free recipe, if you use a soy-free non-dairy sour cream, non-dairy milk, and cheese.

To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free pasta and cornstarch or other starch instead of flour. 

To make it nut-free, use a nut-free vegan cheese, non-dairy sour cream, and non-dairy milk.

Can I add veggies?

Fold some blanched broccoli into the mac and cheese just before baking. You can also top with sliced jalapeño for some heat and extra veggies.



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