Vegan Mac and Cheese seems to be the Holy Grail for many vegans. Somewhat unattainable, a million variations to choose from, and nothing ever quite stands up to your memory of this classic childhood comfort food. I’ve come to think of mac and cheese the way I think of cheese—the vegan version just isn’t going to taste quite the same as the one I grew up with—and that’s OK! It can still be absolutely delicious in its own right. My Tahini Mac is just that—absolutely delicious!
About two years ago I finally stumbled on what I declared to be the best mac and cheese I had tried in a long time—Dreena Burton’s Mac Oh Geez. The sauce was made out of Brazil nuts and cashews as all good vegan creamy sauces are. It was delicious. After a year of keeping it on our regular rotation, our world came crashing down with the diagnosis of Jonathan’s food allergies. Nuts? Totally off our menu. So I went back to the drawing board, trying to think of a good replacement.
I remembered that a few years ago, when David was about the same age as Jonathan is now, I made an alfredo sauce that I called Tahini Alfredo. In fact, I’ve got a few different spins on mac and cheese made with tahini (and other ingredients)—see below! I went back to my original recipe this time. I tinkered and tweaked and came up with this delicious, creamy, stick to your ribs baked macaroni.
Tahini has become one of my new go to nut butter replacers. I like it because it’s ready made and very neutral, so it can adapt to go with whatever you are making. Recently I’ve made my Salted Caramel Granola using tahini in place of the sun butter, I used it as the filling in my Tahini Bon Bons, and now I’m using it as the base to this creamy spin on baked mac and cheese!
Interested in other macaroni and cheese dishes? Here are a few you might like:
Homemade Boxed Mac and Cheese
Mac and Yease (very similar, but not baked)
Mac and Cheese with Pumpkin
Mac and Peas
Messy Monster Macky Oni
When you get a chance to make this, will you take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag it with #frieddandelions? I’d love to see what you make!
- 1 pound macaroni or other small shaped pasta can be gluten free
- 2 c unsweetened non dairy milk
- 1 c water
- 1/2 c tahini
- 1 t onion powder
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 t apple cider vinegar or sub lemon juice
- 4 T nutritional yeast
- 2 T tapioca starch or sub arrowroot or cornstarch
Bread crumb topping
- 1 c panko bread crumbs or sub gluten free bread crumbs
- 1 T olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a big pot of water, bring water to a boil and prepare noodles according to package directions, erring on the side of al dente.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 9 x 13" pan, or two 8x8" pans and set aside (I like to divide mine into two pans, serve the first one for dinner, and freeze the second one, or at least only have a smaller pan to store in the fridge for leftovers.)
- While the pasta is cooking, place remaining sauce ingredients in your blender and blend until creamy.
- In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper well and set aside.
- When the pasta is finished cooking, drain, and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to coat well. Pour pasta and sauce mix into the prepared pan(s).
- Top the pan(s) with the bread crumb mixture.
- Place the pan(s) of macaroni into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. If the top is not brown, turn the broiler on for a minute and watch it like a hawk until the top is brown enough for your liking! Remove from the oven and serve!