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mac n cheese

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

erykah badu says that vegan food is soul food in its truest form. jme says, no other mac n cheese can run.

a classic and beloved soul food dish, mac n cheese is serious. it is an honour and a privilege to be granted the right to make it at family events, usually bestowed upon an aunty or grandma whose hands are guided by the ancestors. this recipe will make you say cheese? i don't know her. the sauce serves about 6. use macaroni or your favourite pasta shape.


white sauce:

3 cups plant based milk (I prefer oat milk)

1 tsp sweet paprika

½ tsp mustard (I prefer dijon but any will do)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp flour

1 tbsp vegan butter or oil

sea salt and pepper to taste

cheese sauce:

1 medium potato

1 small carrot

½ small onion

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp mixed herbs

dash of hot sauce

1 bulb of garlic or at least six cloves, peeled

1 cup nutritional yeast (get this from your local health food shop or online)

1 tsp sea salt

to garnish (optional):

choose from smoked paprika, thyme, parsley, nutritional yeast or black pepper.


1. preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

2. peel and roughly chop the carrots, potatoes and onions into large chunks.

3. cover in water and boil until the vegetables are soft. save the water do not drain it!

4. while these are cooking, start to prepare your white sauce. on a low heat, add your oil or vegan butter in a saucepan, add nutmeg, cayenne, paprika, flour and mustard and fry until slightly fragrant and golden.

5. slowly add milk, stirring or whisking continuously as the sauce thickens. careful not to let it burn!

6. boil the pasta in salted water. remove it 2 minutes before packet instructions. you want it to be cooked, but still firm and slightly chewy.

7. once the vegetables are soft, blend with the remaining cheese ingredients and the cooking water and add the completed cheese sauce to the white sauce. keep some sauce aside to top the pasta with. season to taste.

8. drain the pasta, reserving some pasta water, and finish cooking it in the cheese sauce. add some reserved pasta water and a glug of olive oil if it starts to stick.

9. once the pasta is cooked but still firm, transfer to a baking tray and cover with more cheese sauce and your chosen garnish.

10. cover with tinfoil to keep it moist, and bake at 200C for 10 minutes.

11. remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

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