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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about mac and cheese. For one, my local grocery store just started carrying those Daiya boxes of mac and cheese that contain what I imagine is some sort of creamy sauce. I’ve never actually tried them, but they look so tasty, and are always pretty tempting. The weather is also starting to get a little cooler where I am, which always makes me want comfort food. So, this week, I decided to try my hand at a low carb vegan mac and cheese.
I decided to make my own vegan cheese sauce for this instead of using a ready made vegan cheese for a few main reasons:
- store-bought vegan cheese is crazy expensive
- store-bought vegan cheese very rarely tastes like real cheese, and when it does, it’s double the price
- most pre-packaged vegan cheese is crazy high in carbs, which doesn’t really work for us
- not every store even carries dairy free cheese, never mind a specific type
So, with this in mind, I thought I’d reference traditional cashew cheeses as inspiration, and go from there. Cashews are pretty high in carbs as well, so they didn’t necessarily seem like the best choice for this. Instead, I reached for the tried and true favorite: hemp seeds. Hemp seeds really bring creamy sauces to life – they blend up easily, are high in omega-3s, super low in carbs and don’t really impart any weird flavor to the overall dish, especially when cooked. Hemp seeds also contain an absurd amount of protein, making this a pretty well-rounded dinner.
I’m seriously so excited about how this recipe turned out! Not only is it delicious and filling, it’s also gluten free, soy free, nut free, dairy free, high in protein and fiber and pretty darn low in carbs. What more could you ask for?
Notes on Making Low Carb Vegan Mac and Cheese:
- I used shirataki macaroni for this, but there are plenty of fun shapes to go with.
- If you don’t have access to shirataki noodles, you could chop up 1-2 cups of cauliflower florets, roast them and use them as the noodle base instead.
- I actually stirred this in the oven a few times, just to make sure everything cooked evenly. I definitely recommend doing this (carefully)!
- I added broccoli to this for some veggie power, but you could add spinach if you prefer, or nothing at all!
- I sprinkled some chili powder on this before eating and was definitely pleased with this decision. I also recommend sprinkling on parsley.
Low Carb Vegan Mac and Cheese
For the Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup chopped red yellow or orange bell pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2-1 cup of water
For the Macaroni
- 1 package shirataki macaroni
- 1/4 of the above sauce
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- To make the sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth - about 2 minutes. You can add 1/2 cup of the water in at first and blend, then slowly add the rest until a queso-like consistency is achieved. You may not need all the water!
- Thoroughly drain and rinse the macaroni.
- Combine the noodles and sauce in a small baking dish, and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- You can also do this on the stove top! Basically, you'll just sit there, stirring the noodles and 1/4 of the batch of sauce together on medium low heat, until everything is thoroughly heated and there is no excess moisture (from the noodles or whatever veggies you decide to add).
26 thoughts on “Low Carb Vegan Mac and Cheese”
Hi there – I am looking fwd to making this recipe tonight. I am confused, though, about whether I am supposed to add all the sauce or only a 1/4 of the sauce to the to the noodles before I bake it in the oven. Thanks!
Hi Shari!! You can just add 1/4 of the sauce before you bake it 🙂
The sauce recipe is so large because most blenders and food processors won’t work with less than 1 cup of ingredients!
Great, thanks! Amy udea how long the rest stays good in the fridge ?
I just finished off some today that had been in there a little over the week, and it was still lovely! I wouldn’t recommend too much over a week though, just to be sure.
Great – thanks!
Love your recipes! Does this recipe require any water or liquid as the mix is currently stuck to the sides of my blender and is very dry. Thanks.
Hi Lil, thanks! It does!! I meant to add that you need to add up to a cup of water (slowly) until you get a nice, thick “queso-like” texture!
I’m glad you noticed this!!
I added a cup of water and oh my goodness this recipe is *amazing*! You’ve saved my vegan keto Diet! 🙂
Ah, so glad to hear that, Lil!! 😀
I liked the look of this and threw it together for lunch. Well, the sauce, anyway. I didn’t have macaroni so used shirataki noodles instead – heated them in hot water and the sauce in a small pan. Combined with some newly microwaved broccoli it was awesome.
Also, my native love of garlic won out and I added in 4 cloves of garlic to the sauce. Nearly garlic-y enough. 🙂
I’m so glad you liked this! Haha, that sounds like medicinal levels of garlic. I bet you never get sick!
Don’t quite know where I went wrong. Hemp seeds have the outer shell which although blended, I ended up having numerous amounts of the shell embedded in my gums and a very crunchy but tasty sauce. :/
Hi Tracey! I’m so sorry, this is on me. I can’t actually buy hemp seeds that still have the hull on them where I live, and just didn’t stop to think that I needed to mention that I used unhulled seeds. I’ll update this right now. Thanks for letting me know!
Hi, I’m from New Zealand which doesn’t allow hemp seeds :(. What would you recommend as a substitute?
Hi Jen! Oh, no! Well, you could use raw sunflower seeds, cashews or macadamia nuts for the sauce as well, but the nutritional profile won’t be exactly the same. I think the best taste would be the macadamia nuts or cashews. Just be careful with cashews though, as they’re higher in carbs!
Just to be sure, one package of shirataki macaroni = 8 ounces? Am I right?
You are correct! At least, the kind I buy. I should make a note of that!
Thanks! One more question: top on or top off in the oven?
Hey again Neil! I keep the top off so it gets a little bit crispy on top 😀
GREAT RECIPE!, I’M TRYING TO GO DAIRY FREE AS WELL AS EGG FREE., MORE YOU’LL HAVE MORE SHIRATAKI NOODLES RECIPES.
Hi, I’m confused about your recipe! Your nutritional values don’t correspond with the results of feeding the ingredients into cronometer.. the hemp seeds alone suggest 885 cals, 78g fat & 7.5g carbs. Am i doing something wrong?! I really like the sound of this recipe but an struggling to find meals that dont send me over my total daily calories in just one meal!!
Hi Roxy! It looks like you are using the nutritional values for the whole batch of the cheese sauce. The recipe only requires 1/4 of a batch of the sauce 🙂
Hey, I don’t have hemp seed available where I live, they’re too expensive for me! ( South East Asia here, hi) You think I can substitute that for some tofu or sunflower seeds?
Hi to you in South East Asia! You could definitely use sunflower seeds instead! 🙂