Vegan Caprese Mac and Cheese! What is more delicious than a warm, cozy bowl of mac and cheese? And we’ve got a fun, new vegan twist that is luscious, flavorful, and belly pleasing.
Inspired by a classic combo, this healthy, delicious, and oil-free Vegan Caprese Mac and Cheese is the perfect comfort food the whole family will love! Got to love macaroni covered in a velvety “cheese” sauce and brimming with plant-based goodness. This mac and cheese is a winning combination.
Whole Food Plant Based, Vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients and gluten free.
Hi there, Ameera here!
I loved me some Caprese! What can be better than turning caprese into delicious mac and cheese comfort food. This Whole Food Plant Based conversion has us all dancing around the kitchen. Dad was totally in love with it. He gobbled up the majority of this tastiness.
And Yasmeen loved it too! You gotta give this one a try!
Tips for Success:
- Frozen Cauliflower vs Fresh Cauliflower: You can use either fresh or frozen cauliflower. If using fresh cauliflower, cut pieces into small florets. We used frozen cauliflower for convenience.
- Russet Potatoes: We used 3 cups small diced peeled potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes.
- Drained and Rinsed Petite Diced Tomatoes: Don’t forget to drain and rinse the petite diced tomatoes. They add great flavor to the dish. Draining and rinsing them ensures that the only thing you are adding is the diced tomatoes without the liquid or residue.
- Sauciness: You can control the “cheese” sauce to macaroni ratio by simply using 12 oz. of macaroni. If you want a little less sauciness, then use 14 oz. We used 14 oz. of elbow macaroni.
- Cooked Macaroni: Shake off any excess water and allow to drain for a few minutes. Any lingering water that hangs onto the pasta will water down your sauce.
- Pasta of choice: You can use your favorite pasta in this dish. We used a traditional elbow macaroni.
- Cayenne Pepper: The cayenne pepper adds great depth of flavor. We do not recommend leaving it out. It is barely discernable but adds great flavor. The dish has no heat to it.
- Pulse Herbs: We don’t recommend adding the dried basil or Italian Seasoning to the blender as they can intensify or become bitter when over blended. We recommend adding them at the very end and just doing a quick pulse.
- Fresh Basil: The fresh basil totally makes this dish a “Caprese” Macaroni and Cheese. We strongly recommend giving individual servings a generous sprinkle of freshly chiffonade basil.
- Amount of Sea Salt: Our family was completely divided over the amount of sea salt that this dish needed to be properly seasoned. Most landed on 1 ¼ teaspoons of sea salt. The good news is that you can taste test the sauce while in the high-speed blender to determine if you need additional seasonings.
Leftovers and Freezing:
Leftovers will generally keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Store in a covered container. Reheating can be done in the oven or in the microwave.
This dish can be frozen; however, it is best if served immediately after making or after refrigerating leftovers. Pasta does tend to get a little mushy after freezing.
Pantry Products Used:
- Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
- Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
- Frozen Cauliflower: We used a 14.4 oz bag of Birds Eye Frozen Cauliflower Florets. Feel free to use your favorite frozen cauliflower. Or use fresh cauliflower florets.
- Ume Plum Vinegar: We used Eden Ume Plum Vinegar. We get a lot of questions on ume plum vinegar. It is fairly inexpensive and adds amazing flavor. You can find it in most health food grocery stores. You can leave it out if you can’t find it, adjust your flavors accordingly.
- Dijon Mustard: We used Koops Dijon Mustard. Feel free to use your favorite Dijon mustard.
Kitchen Products Used:
- Stock pot to cook the pasta
- Stock pot to boil the potatoes, cauliflower, and cashews
- High-Speed Blender
- 9 x 13 Baking Dish
We certainly hope you give this deliciousness a try.
If you try this fun dish, we would love to know if you enjoy it as much as we do! Please leave us a review! Post a picture on Facebook or Instagram and tag us! We would love to hear from you.Print
Vegan Caprese Mac and Cheese
- Prep Time: 35 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 55 Minutes (+Rest Time)
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop, Oven
- Diet: Vegan
Inspired by a classic combo, this healthy, delicious, and oil-free Vegan Caprese Mac and Cheese is the perfect comfort food the whole family will love!
- 1 – [ 14.4 oz. bag ] frozen cauliflower florets *
- 3 cups Russet potatoes, peeled, small dice (1/2-inch cubes)
- 1/8 cup (raw) cashews
- ¼ cup unsweetened plain plant milk
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- ½ cup water
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ume plum vinegar *
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard *
- 2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari *
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (+/-)
Sauce Herb/Spice Ingredients:
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- ¾ to 1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- Large pinch cayenne pepper *
Pulse Herb Ingredients:
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- ½ teaspoon Italian Seasonings
- 12 to 14 oz. GF elbow macaroni (or pasta of choice)
- 1 – [ 14.5 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
- Fresh basil *
- 1/3 to ½ cup panko crumbs (or bread crumbs) *
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the Topping Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- Place the Sauce Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions to al dente, drain, rinse with cold water to remove any excess starch, shake well, set aside.
- Place the frozen cauliflower florets, diced potatoes, and cashews into a medium stockpot, bring to a boil, gently boil until the potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Drain off the water, shake well to remove any lingering water, then place in a high-speed blender.
- Add all the Sauce Ingredients and Spice/Herb Ingredients into the high-speed blender with the cooked cauliflower, potatoes, and cashews. Blend on high until smooth and emulsified.
- Add the Pulse Herb Ingredients to the blender and pulse just to incorporate. Do not blend.
- Place the cooked pasta back into the stockpot, add the drained and rinsed tomatoes, then pour the sauce over top, mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, then sprinkle the Topping over the top.
- Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes, switch to high-broil just to toast the top to a golden brown, then remove from the oven and allow to set for 5 minutes. Serve with a generous sprinkle of fresh basil.
*Please reference the blog post for Tips for Success, Pantry Items Used, Storage and Freezing, and Kitchen Products Used.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
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Oh my goodness, I made this the other night and it turned out GREAT! We loved it and I will be making this regularly. I followed the recipe exactly but used fresh cauliflower instead of frozen and I think I could of used a 16oz. Package of pasta because it makes a lot of sauce. Thank you for such a great recipe, I can’t wait to try more of them 😊
Hi there Debra 🙂
Yaaaayyy! We are so thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome review with us. We appreciate you taking the time to write.
-Ameera and Robin 🙂