This 3 Pepper Vegan Mac & Cheese combines some of my favorite things... Pasta Creamy…
Creamy, decadent and topped with a bacon and shallot breadcrumb crust, this is the Best Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese. Ready in less than an hour!
Well the time has come my friends for a brand new, super tasty, amazingly creamy mac and cheese recipe!
It has been almost a full year since I shared the recipe for my White Mac and Cheese.
And to this day it is one of the most popular recipes on TSV.
So today, rather than recreate the wheel, we’re going to take the original recipe and just enhance it with new flavors.
Some things you WON’T find in this recipe are:
- nutritional yeast
Nope. The base of this creamy sauce comes from good ‘ol vegan butter, non-dairy milk and vegan cream cheese. I have found this to be the best combo to get both a creamy texture AND a great flavor.
TSV TIP: My favorite vegan butter is Earth Balance and my favorite vegan cream cheese brands are Trader Joe’s, GoVeggie, Tofutti and Kite Hill.
In the original recipe there was no baking involved. You can literally eat that stuff out of the pan. But since this recipe calls for baking (because how else are we going to get that amazing crunchy crust???) there are a couple of tactical changes we need to make.
- You will want to slightly undercook your pasta. Just by a couple of minutes. This will allow the pasta to continue cooking in the oven without getting overcooked and mushy.
- And since the pasta will continue cooking in the sauce, you want to make sure the sauce is thinned out a bit. This will allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce but not dry it out.
Now that we have those logistics covered, let’s talk about this crunchy topping.
This is a tasty combo of bread crumbs, vegan butter, garlic, shallots and last but not least…bacon bits.
Yes, bacon bits!
And I’m not talking about coconut bacon or rice paper bacon (although you could totally go that route if you have the time and patience to make these from scratch). These are just your run of the mill, find them at every grocery store, bacon bits.
TSV TIP: Some brands of bacon bits are 100% vegan – shocking, I know. Obviously this is just by accident, but they have a great bacon flavor and are super easy to find.
You can find the ones I used here.
The combination of all of these flavors makes this mac and cheese extra delicious and totally different than anything you’ve ever had.
Get ready for vegan mac and cheese heaven!
The Best Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz dry pasta
- 6 tbsp vegan butter separated
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup bacon bits separated
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups non-dairy milk
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1/2 tsp turmeric optional*
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- fresh parsley for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.** Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic, shallots and a pinch of salt & pepper to the pan. Cook until shallots are tender, but not browned (approx. 3-5 minutes). Remove from the heat.
- Combine breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of bacon bits and shallot/butter mixture in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Add flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly.
- Stir in milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Once heated through and thickened, add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add parmesan, veggie broth, turmeric, garlic salt, ground mustard, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of bacon bits and pepper. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning as needed. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.
- Pour into a casserole dish and top with breadcrumb topping.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Increase heat to broil and bake until topping is browned. Remove from the oven, top with parsley and serve.
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