This delicious Vegan Mac and Cheese with Broccoli is seriously creamy and super satisfying. With a decadent sauce, vegan grounds, and broccoli, it’s a pasta dish that both vegans and non-vegans will love! The shells are perfect for capturing all the sauce, and will have you craving leftovers!
Mac and cheese is just one of those things. It’s comfort food, it’s (usually) simple, and it’s SO delicious. The traditional mac and cheese is made with lots of dairy products, but the vegan versions of mac and cheese typically come in a handful of forms.
Typical Kinds of Vegan Mac and Cheese
Some of the recipes have blended cashews as a large component of the sauce, while others have blended potato/carrot. This Vegan Mac and Cheese with Broccoli uses a similar method as the traditional one, with (vegan) butter, (vegan) milk, and (vegan) shredded cheese. Most of the recipes also include “nutritional yeast”, which is a deactivated yeast that is orange/yellow in color and has a flaky appearance. Nutritional yeast has a pretty cool flavor combination in my opinion, which I would describe as cheesy with nutty and smoky flavors too. I also use nutritional yeast, or “nooch” as some folks lovingly call it, in my Cheesy Pasta with Broccoli and Herbs.
The nutritional yeast helps to give the color to the mac and cheese. I also use ground turmeric in this recipe, which also helps provide a golden color even with just 1/4 teaspoon! In that amount, it doesn’t have flavor but does contribute towards the beautiful orange-yellow hue that most of us recognize for mac and cheese (no offense to the creamy white versions of mac and cheese!).
Why I love this Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe
This recipe is very simple and quick, and is so versatile too!
While the pasta is cooking, the vegan grounds and broccoli cook separately, as well as the sauce. Everything is ready around the same time, in about 30 minutes!
The recipe doesn’t have a huge list of ingredients, either. The flavor comes from the simple ingredients that pack a punch.
The versatility factor is great too. You can feel free to skip the broccoli or the grounds, or add in things like green peas or sun-dried tomatoes. Think of it as a “grown up” mac and cheese, and get creative! I top this dish with fresh parsley, and other tasty options would be fresh thyme or rosemary.
Tips for Making this Vegan Mac and Cheese with Broccoli
When you’re cooking the vegan grounds (after sauteing the onion), make sure to get the vegan grounds nice and crispy. This may take different amounts of time depending on the brand you have. You want the grounds to get nice and crisp/browned so that they maintain some texture after going into the sauce.
To make the sauce, you first melt the vegan butter then whisk in the flour. The consistency at that point should be slightly runny. Then you’ll slowly whisk the plant-based milk into the pan, but make sure to keep whisking quickly and consistently as you’re pouring the milk in. This helps to have a smooth sauce more easily, rather than needing to work a little extra by whisking lumps out.
Other Delicious Pasta Recipes
Vegan Mac and Cheese with Broccoli
- 1/2 lb. pasta reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb. plant-based grounds
- 1 cup broccoli florets cut very small
- 3 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1.5 cups plant-based milk
- 1 cup plant-based cheddar shreds
- 2 to 3 tbsp nutritional yeast to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 to 1 tsp kosher salt to taste
- 1.5 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- Cook pasta in salted water until just al dente, and drain (reserve 1/4 cup cooking water). Set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large pan, add the onions and oil. Cook onions on medium heat approx 10 minutes until translucent, adding a bit of water to prevent burning if needed.
- Add plant-based grounds, breaking up pieces with spatula. Cook until grounds are really browned and crispy, stirring occasionally.
- Towards end of cooking, add the broccoli florets and cover, cook until broccoli is bright green and fork tender.
- Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan on medium heat, add the butter and cook until melted. Then add the flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Slowly, and whisking constantly, drizzle in the milk until fully added and smooth. Very gently simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add remaining items in ingredients list except parsley, and whisk into sauce until melted.
- Add the sauce to the pan with the onion mixture, along with the pasta. Stir well and slowly add in up to 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water as desired.
- Serve and top with the fresh chopped parsley.