The Ultimate Cheesy Vegan Baked Mac—macaroni cooked in a meaty tomato sauce then smothered with a cheesy white sauce before being baked!
THIS CHEESY BAKED MAC IS:
- Somewhat creamy
- Super comforting
- Nut, soy, and dairy free
THE “MEAT’ SAUCE
For the baked mac “meat” sauce, I used TVP or textured vegetable protein, which is a great plant-based meat substitute. I always have this stocked in my pantry and just rehydrate it by soaking it in hot water until doubled in size.
You can opt to use other plant-based meat substitutes or even some cooked lentils or minced mushrooms, if you’re looking for a whole food substitute.
I then cooked down the rehydrated TVP in the tomato sauce to soak up all the flavours.
I used gluten-free rice and lentil elbow macaroni for this recipe, but again, it’s totally up to you what kind of pasta and what shape you want to use.
I find that elbow macaroni is the best of this since you can easily compress a lot of pasta in the baking dish compared to using other pasta shapes like penne and rigatoni. Other pasta shapes like fusilli and farfalle can work well for this baked pasta dish, too.
I cooked down the pasta and then added it into the ‘meat’ sauce to coat in the sauce and soak up all the flavours.
For the white sauce, I prepared some of my favourite vegan cheese shreds. I use Daiya Foods cheese shreds (this isn’t at all sponsored by them, I simply love their products) and used a mix of their mozzarella and cheddar cheese shreds.
THE WHITE SAUCE
For the white sauce, I used oat milk! I would recommend soy or oat milk for this recipe because I find that these 2 plant-based milks are richer and creamier than other plant milk like almond and rice.
I diluted the flour into the milk, which will help thicken everything together later during cooking.
I mixed the cheese into the white sauce to create this cheesy and creamy sauce, which we’ll top on the pasta later on.
ASSEMBLING THE BAKED MAC
I laid out the macaroni in my baking dish:
I then spread out the cheesy white sauce over the pasta!
I baked this to get that nice golden brown top, which also continued to melt down the cheesy while layer causing it to ooze to the macaroni below.
Take a scoop and enjoy this cheesy baked mac while fresh out of the oven because it’s SO GOOD and SO SATISFYING.
This recipe serves 3 so if you’d like to make a bigger batch, toggle on the servings bar below to adjust the ingredients.
It’s perfect to make in big batches to share with your friends, family, and loved ones especially in the upcoming holiday season!
Not only is it super comforting, but your non-vegan family and friends probably won’t even notice that it’s vegan. ?
Find the full recipe for this below. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
OTHER VEGAN RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- Pan-Fried Tofu Cakes
- Chili Garlic Butter Potatoes
- Scalloped Potatoes in Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce
- Filipino Kaldereta or Tomato ‘Meat’ Stew
- Crispy Eggplant Katsu
- Chinese-Style Bolognese
The Ultimate Cheesy Vegan Baked Mac
- Oven-safe Baking Dish, mine was 9×6 inches
- 1.25 cups dry elbow macaroni
TVP (See notes for sub)
- 1/2 cup TVP or texturised vegetable protein, see notes for sub, 45 g
Cheesy White Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil or melted vegan butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup oat milk or soy milk (cold or room temperature)
- 1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup vegan cheese shreds I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella from Daiya
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional for extra flavour
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- Dash of pepper
Meaty Tomato Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 button mushrooms or other mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1 cup rehydrated TVP or other plant-based ground (see notes)
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce see notes
- 1/2 tbsp tomato paste optional
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- Dash of pepper
- 2 to 3 tbsp sugar to sweeten as needed
- Chopped basil optional for garnish
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium high heat. Add some salt and oil. Cook the macaroni until chewy and then drain from the water. Set aside.
- Mix together the milk and all-purpose flour together until the flour has dissolved.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium pan over medium. Add in the oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté the garlic for 2 minutes until lightly browned.
- Over medium heat, carefully pour the flour and milk mixture while stirring.
- Keep stirring and leave to boil until it slightly thickens, around 4-5 minutes.
- When it boils and starts to thicken, lower the heat.
- Add in the vegan cheese shreds and keep mixing until the cheese melts. Add some salt and pepper, to taste. Add in the nutritional yeast, if using.
- The cheese will start to melt and the sauce will continue to thicken. Keep mixing to ensure that there are no lumps of flour. This will be a really thick sauce!
- Turn off the heat and then transfer the white cheese sauce to a bowl. Set aside while you prepare the meat sauce. You can opt to cook the meat sauce in the same pan or in the pot used to boil the pasta.
- Heat the pan over medium. Add in the oil. Once hot, sauté the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add in the rehydrated TVP or other plant-based ground and mushrooms. Season with some salt and pepper, to taste. Add in the tomato sauce and mix everything together.
- Mix in the cooked macaroni to the meat sauce. Stir until well combined and season more as needed. Turn off the heat.
Assembly and Baking
- Heat your oven or oven toaster to 350F/190C. I used an oven toaster since mine has temperature settings.
- Prepare the baking dish. Add in the macaroni in meat sauce in the dish.
- Scoop in the cheesy white sauce over the top of the macaroni and then carefully spread around. I placed my dish at the top most rack of my oven toaster nearest the top for it to nicely brown.
- Bake the dish for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese on top has turned slightly golden brown. You’ll also see the cheese bubbling as it bakes!
- Enjoy while hot! Garnish with some chopped basil, if desired.
TVP or plant-based ground
- I used 1/2 cup dry TVP that I soaked in room temperature water for 5-10 minutes until doubled in size.
- You can use other plant-based ground (like those that come frozen from Beyond Meat, Impossible, etc) or even cooked lentils or minced mushrooms. If using cooked lentils or mushrooms, you can add 1 cup of cooked lentils or 1 cup of finely minced mushrooms.
- Depending on the tomato sauce you’re using and your preference, you may need to add more or less sugar to adjust the acidity of the sauce. I like my tomato sauce on the sweeter side (it’s a Filipino preference I guess!) so I add sugar, to sweeten.
- The tomato sauce I use is one that’s cooked down so it’s already thicker and less watery than sauces like Italian Passata. So you’ll need to add more tomato paste to thicken the sauce as needed.
- You can use tomato paste if you want a thicker, richer sauce.
CHEESY WHITE SAUCE AND “MEAT” SAUCE
- You can also just mix together the cheesy white sauce and meat sauce then add in the basil. You’ll get a very cheesy and creamy tomato “meat” sauce with your pasta. If you do so, you can also opt not to bake this or place this pasta on a baking dish and top with some shredded cheese and bake until the cheese has melted.