I’m excited to share this smokey vegan baked mac and cheese recipe with you. It’s super creamy, cheesy, smokey and easy to make. A little different from the traditional mac and cheese recipes out there with a twist of smokiness.
If this doesn’t hit the spot, then I don’t know what will! I haven’t grown up eating macaroni and cheese, so I don’t have much to compare it to before we became vegan, but I’ve had my fair share of it when we were travelling the West Coast of the US a few years ago. You could get mac & cheese as a side dish, as a main, in burritos, and in pretty much every single place we went to.
I chose not to use vegan cheese in this recipe because they vary so greatly all around the world. I wanted to make sure that the recipe is as accessible as possible with the ingredients that you can find at your supermarket or health food store.
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A vegan mac and cheese with a difference
I love the slight crunch and different texture from the pasta that has baked on the top. I also love using smoked paprika in dishes like this one. It adds a new depth of flavour and works so well!
I’ve done a couple of recipes in the past that are similar in terms of texture, like this Creamy Pumpkin and Capsicum Penne. I also use the base of this sauce a lot. You can experiment for yourself to see what works best for your taste buds.
Can you use other types of pasta in this dish?
As I mention below, you can use whatever pasta you like. I prefer to use no larger than the classic penne as it works best to keep it smaller for the texture you’re trying to achieve with a dish like this. And of course, a gluten-free pasta would work just as well. Types of pasta that would also work well are:
- Small conchiglie
Can this be made ahead?
Yes, it certainly can! Just add a little extra water in the blender when mixing the sauce as the pasta will soak it up over time in the fridge. Complete the whole recipe without baking and put some foil or a silicone wrap over the dish. It can be left in the fridge for up to two days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven and add 5 minutes to the baking time as it has come straight out of the fridge.
Can this be made gluten-free?
Sure can be. Just switch the pasta to a gluten-free variety and cook as listed instructions on the packet.
Everything else in the recipe is gluten-free, so the pasta is the only thing you’ll need to swap out. I like this gluten-free pasta for this dish.
How long does this smokey vegan mac and cheese last?
In our house no more than 1 hour! Jokes aside, it will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze this dish for later.
Also note that if you’re not into spice (hot spice), then maybe consider reducing the amount of pepper you use. If you like a bit of heat, use the amount that’s in the recipe. Or if you really love hot food, then feel free to add a bit more. Just adjust it to your palette. Same goes for the salt.
I hope you enjoy my take on the super popular dish that is mac and cheese — made vegan and smokey. Just the way I like it!