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Gluten-Free & Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese Recipe

Update: This post originally ran August 21, 2013, but as the weather cools down we’ve been craving something warm. This is the perfect recipe for fall!

I recently made some major changes to my diet – giving up wheat, dairy, and refined sugar – in an effort to heal digestive and skin ailments that have been affecting me for quite some time. When deciding on a meal plan for the first week, I was suddenly reminded of this amazing ingredient I had read about: nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is free of gluten, dairy, and sugar. Its nutty, creamy taste and yellow color makes it an excellent ingredient in cheese substitutes – including vegan mac and cheese.

Nutritional yeast

After looking up some nutritional yeast “cheese” sauce recipes, I’ve created my own – and I think it’s pretty delicious. Here’s my version of vegan mac and cheese!


10 oz brown rice pasta (I chose to go with spirals instead of macaroni!)
5 large kale leaves
10 roma tomatoes
8 tablespoons nutritional yeast (found at health food stores)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or more if necessary)
2 tablespoons vegan buttery spread (I use Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
Sea salt to taste


1. Cook pasta on stove as directed.
2. While pasta is cooking, rip kale into small pieces and saute in water until soft.
3. Cut tomatoes into thirds and add in with kale. Saute 5-10 more minutes, until tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt buttery spread, olive oil, and almond milk together.
5. Slowly stir in nutritional yeast and brown rice flower, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, and stir until smooth (whisking if necessary).
6. Add in garlic powder, onion flakes, and sea salt, and reduce to low heat. Allow sauce to thicken, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat.
7. Drain pasta and mix into sauce. Add vegetables and stir until well combined.
8. Serve warm!

Vegan mac and cheese recipe

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Courtney -August 21, 2013, 8:27AM

OMG I’m vegan and this looks so good! I’ve been craving mac n cheese and been looking for a new recipe. Got to try this. Thank you!

Juliette Laura -August 21, 2013, 8:58AM

Good for you for making those major changes in your diet! This recipe looks delicious!

xo, Juliette Laura

Tia -August 21, 2013, 12:19PM

flour* :)

Jessica M -August 21, 2013, 12:29PM

Good for you for making the commitment! I did that myself a year ago — also for my skin — and noticed a dramatic improvement, moreso than any of the other skincare regimens I’ve tried in the past. It was really difficult to stick to it though; I wish I had had this recipe! Looks and sounds delicious. I let myself slip off the diet while traveling and have been meaning to get back on it for a while now — it’s just so difficult to take the plunge and have what I know will be the final sourdough sandwich! Fortunately there are so many helpful recipes out there these days — thanks for sharing this one!

fp brigette -August 21, 2013, 12:59PM

HAHA! Thanks, Tia. Clearly I am way more accustomed to writing about flowers than I am flour.

Dani -August 21, 2013, 1:15PM

Best of luck on all of your dietary changes… I’ve been gluten-free almost 6 years now, and in recent months went off all processed sugar (and processed foods!)
Time will [hopefully] heal all… <3 !!!

<3 dani

Natalie -August 21, 2013, 2:16PM

I don’t normally eat gluten free, but I need to try this… possibly tonight! It looks SO good! Kind of a healthy version and mac and cheese which I love! Thank you so much Brigette for sharing!
Halfway to Harmony

Julenecakes -August 21, 2013, 2:22PM

This. Looks. Delicious! I can’t wait to try it! Keep the recipes coming FB! :)

fp brigette -August 21, 2013, 4:10PM

Thanks so much, Dani! It hasn’t been too hard so far… now I’m just patiently waiting to hopefully see some changes! :)

Alison -August 21, 2013, 7:12PM

This recipe looks delicious! I love how there are so many vegan food recipes on this blog – I recently made the 4th of July vegan cheesecake and it was a hit!
Brigette, I hope you start feeling better soon! I’m sure that dietary changes will make a big difference.

Tiffany -August 21, 2013, 8:55PM

If you’re looking to improve digestion and your skin, you should try bentonite clay. It will pull all of the nasty toxins out of your body. It completely cleared up my skin, and I had been gluten and dairy free for a year.

Anonymous -August 21, 2013, 10:06PM

Any idea on the nutritional content?

Anonymous -August 21, 2013, 11:41PM

i thought garlic powder wasnt vegan?

fp brigette -August 22, 2013, 9:22AM

Garlic powder is made from dehydrated garlic cloves, so as long as there have been no additional ingredients added in the process, it is vegan! :)

fp brigette -August 22, 2013, 9:25AM

Tiffany – thanks so much for the tip! I do bentonite clay face masks every once in a while, but I didn’t realize certain kinds could be taken internally!!

fp brigette -August 22, 2013, 9:26AM

Thanks so much, Alison! So glad to hear the cheesecake was a hit!!

Emma -September 1, 2013, 11:55PM

I am allergic to almonds, is there any substitute I could do for almond milk?

meg -September 27, 2013, 2:42PM

Hmmm…this is something I may have to try!

Stephanie -September 28, 2013, 2:12PM

Emma- Maybe hemp milk?

celine -September 28, 2013, 11:29PM

thanks so much for sharing vegan/gluten free recipes guys!

Anna -October 11, 2013, 11:57AM

I’m writing about a typo on the recipe. The tomatoes depicted are cherry or grape tomatoes, not roma tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are much bigger.

Nicole -October 15, 2013, 1:18AM

My mother, sister, and I went vegan this summer, but I’ve been craving macaroni and cheese lately. I made this for dinner yesterday–everyone loved it!
Thanks for writing, Brigette, and good luck with your pursuit of health!

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