Smoky Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Overhead shot of easy vegan mac and cheese with dairy free sweet potato cheese sauce in a white bowl with another bowl off to the side

This homemade Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese recipe is easy to make with a dairy free sweet potato and cashew cheese sauce that you will want to drink with a straw! This plant based macaroni and cheese is the BEST comfort food for everything from Thanksgiving dinner to a busy weeknight with the family. It’s also oil-free, easily made gluten free, and surprisingly healthy (although you’d never know it by the taste!).


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We love mac and cheese over here: From the multitude of boxed vegan options on the market these days to our homemade vegan macaroni and beer cheese to the many other versions we’ve experimented with in our own kitchen.

Today, we are SO happy to add this healthy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese to our growing list of dairy free mac n cheese options! This version has such a fun and unique flavor; I think you’re going to love it just as much as we do.

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Why We Love This Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

  • The recipe is dairy free, easy to make gluten free with your favorite gluten-free pasta, contains no oil, and is easily made nut free by swapping sunflower seeds for cashews.
  • The smoky / savory flavor is totally mesmerizing with just a hint of sweet. If you’re already a big fan of sweet potatoes, you are going to flip for this new sweet potato recipe.
  • It’s SO easy to make: Cook your pasta, blend up the sauce, and mix it all together. 
  • It’s surprisingly versatile: We served this dish over the summer alongside some BBQ tofu cutlets and seared garden green beans. (Incredible with a juicy glass of Zinfandel!) But it also makes a fantastic side dish for your Thanksgiving or any other holiday table.
  • This recipe makes a TON of vegan mac and cheese making it perfect for big family dinners when you need to feed a lot of people but don’t have a lot of time. Feel free to cut the amounts in half or just cut the pasta amount in half and freeze the other half of the dairy free cheese sauce.
Overhead shot of the ingredients you need to make vegan sweet potato macaroni and cheese: pasta, sweet potato puree, cashews, nutritional yeast, bouillon powder, miso paste, smoked salt, onion powder, garlic, and bbq sauce

Smoky Vegan Mac and Cheese Ingredients

To make this easy vegan mac and cheese, you’ll need a box of pasta – both small shells and elbows work! Feel free to sub your favorite gluten-free pasta if needed.

And for the sweet potato cheese sauce, you’ll need:

  • Sweet potato puree – We used canned.
  • Unsalted / unroasted cashews – Feel free to replace this with sunflower seeds or hulled hemp seeds if needed.
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Vegan chicken-style bouillon powder – We always use our homemade vegan bouillon powder.
  • Fresh garlic
  • White miso paste – This is a magic ingredient for vegan cheese making and will really amplify the fermented flavor in your sauce.
  • BBQ sauce – This adds a touch of smoky!
  • Smoked salt – Regular sea salt works too, but you may want to add a little extra smoked paprika if you use that.
  • Onion powder
A close-up photo of elbow pasta drenched in dairy free sweet potato cheese sauce and sprinkled with smoked paprika.

How to Make Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

Like I said, this Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese sauce could NOT be easier to make.

You’ll start by adding ALL the sauce ingredients to a high-speed and heat-safe blender or food processor, pouring the hot water in last. Let this sit with the lid off for about 5 minutes, so the cashews can soften. It’s a great idea to get your pasta cooking at this time!

Then, simply blend everything on high until it’s completely smooth. 

Two overhead photos of sweet potato cheese sauce before and after blending

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it, spray it with cold water, and add it back to the pot. Pour that gorgeous cheese sauce on top and stir until combined. 

From here, I like to heat it on low, uncovered and stirring often, for about 7-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and everything is warmed through. 

If you prefer a baked vegan mac n cheese, pop this in a casserole dish, top it with some breadcrumbs, and bake it on a low heat (I’m thinking 325-350F) for about 10-12 minutes. 

Two photos side by side: One is an overhead shot of the sweet potato cheese sauce being poured over pasta. The second is an overhead shot of a rubber spatula stirring the vegan cheese sauce with the macaroni.

If you make this Smoky Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese, let us know ALL about it! We love it when you rate the recipe and leave a review below. And don’t forget to tag us in your cheesy vegan photos on Instagram. In case you’re not already hanging out with us over there, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.

Close-up photo of vegan mac and cheese with sweet potato cheese sauce in a white bowl with a spoon digging into it and smoked paprika sprinkled on top

More Easy Vegan Cheese Recipes:

Yield: 10 servings

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

This homemade Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese recipe is easy to make with a dairy free sweet potato and cashew cheese sauce that you will want to drink with a straw! This plant based macaroni and cheese is the BEST comfort food for everything from Thanksgiving dinner to a busy weeknight with the family. It’s also oil-free, easily made gluten free, and surprisingly healthy (although you’d never know it by the taste!).

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-oz) box of elbows or shells

For the dairy free cheese sauce:

Instructions

    1. PREP: Get a large pot of water boiling on the stove. While you wait, add all the ingredients (except the macaroni) to a high-speed blender or food processor, pouring the hot water in last. Let this sit, so the cashews can soften while you start cooking the pasta. 
    2. COOK THE PASTA: Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. I like to stick to the lower end of the time range specified for this. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it, spray it with cold water, and add it back to the pot.
    3. BLEND THE SAUCE: While the pasta cooks, blend the sauce ingredients on high until it’s completely smooth. 
    4. BRING IT TOGETHER: Pour the cheese sauce into the pot of drained pasta and stir until combined. Heat it on low, uncovered and stirring often, for about 7-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and everything is warmed through. 

Notes

BAKING DIRECTIONS: If you’d rather bake the vegan mac and cheese, once you mix the sauce and pasta together, transfer it to a large casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs. From there, you can bake it at 325F for 10-12 minutes or until it’s reached your desired consistency.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

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