May 25th, 2018

Broccoli Mac & Cheese

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Serves 6
Takes about 30 minutes

Photo by VK Rees

There are a lot of vegan mac and cheese recipes in this world. But like kitten rescue, Joy Division T-shirts and Beyonce videos, you can never have enough.

I’m working on a cookbook for beginners (out Fall 2019) and this will probably be the first recipe in the first chapter. I love this particular recipe for new cooks because the most important part (the sauce, duh) needs no cooking and takes about two minutes to pull together. It also has my favorite vegetable built it: broccoli! (Yes, I am that basic.) It’s chopped into small small pieces and available in every creamy, dreamy bite. The method is also really easy and contains every cook’s favorite words: “one pot.” You simply add the broccoli to the pasta in the last few minutes of cooking. So yah, this is a great place to start.


~If you don’t have a Vitamix or highspeed blender, boil the cashews for 20 minutes, then drain. You can also soak them for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Then just use your regular blender, but it might take up to 5 minutes to get smooth enough.

~I like a little smoky heat, but if you aren’t down with that, try smoked paprika instead of chipotle powder. And if you are not even down with a little smoke, try regular paprika. Or try to live a little.

~The broccoli should be chopped pretty small, somewhere around the size of a pea to maybe at largest the size of a raspberry. It doesn’t have to be uniform.


1 lb small pasta (chiocolle or small shells or, ya know, macaroni)
6 cups finely chopped broccoli

For the sauce:
1 cup whole unroasted cashews
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon chipotle power
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot.

While the water is coming to a boil, make the sauce. Place all sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend for about a minute or two, or until completely smooth, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides every 20 seconds or so. (If you don’t have a high-speed blender, see tip above)

Cook pasta in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then add the chopped broccoli. Boil until pasta is cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.

Drain pasta in a large colander and add immediately back to the pot. It should still be piping hot and wet with pasta water. Do not rinse and do not wait. This part is important because you need the wet, hot pasta to get the sauce creamy and awesome and clinging to the pasta.

Add the sauce to the pasta pot and use the rubber spatula to mix. Turn the heat on low and stir for about 2 minutes to get everything warmed through. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve.

24 comments to Broccoli Mac & Cheese

  • Kailey Silliman

    THANK YOU !! For this recipe! Would you be willing to share the recipe for the Nacho Cheez sauce you make?!

  • Mims

    A version of this got me thru grad school. But i also added a chopped leafy green to the cooking macaroni: like chard, spinach or kale. Then I would add a cooked bean or lentil. Served with salsa, still my go-to comfort food.

  • Caitlin

    Looks awesome!

    +It says “built in,” instead of “built in.”

  • Angela Fitton

    I made this last night. I so wish i didnt use the smoked paprika. I found it too overpowering. BUT. I will make it again as i liked the consistency of the dish. Thanks for recipe.

  • Gayla

    Perfect! Gotta love a recipe that calls for 6 cups of broccoli!

  • This sounds so good!! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Rachel

    This was amazing! I’m actually making it now for the second time this week. My son requested it again, and that’s rare since he’s extremely picky. This time I added a little red bell pepper to the sauce since I needed to use it up and it still came out great. Tossed with some Trader Joe’s gluten free pasta and it’s a win! Thank you!!

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  • cheryl

    I am living in bulgaria and chipotle powder is not something I have found in the supermarkets. Can you suggest an alternative to this? many thanks!

  • UK Coursework 

    Make your favorite mac and cheese recipe. For our purposes, I commonly go together with the leftovers from the good old blue field with a piece of more cheese mixed in for brought gooey-ness. I did not promise you a classy dish, only a scrumptious one. UK Coursework

  • Angelica Mandy

    I like to cook my broccoli separately to get it at just the right tenderness but still a little crisp and then add it to the noodles right before I add the cheese. This way the broccoli softens a little more after added to the heat of the pasta and you can get the cheese mixed in real well with both the veggies and the pasta Do an Essay for me .

  • Kels

    I love this recipe. I have made it several times. It is so easy and all the ingredients are things I have in the pantry, so I can whip it up on a moments notice. Today I made it with a bag of wacky mac and frozen spinach. The sauce is so versatile and easy. Sometimes I change it up a bit with the addition of dried or prepared mustard or miso. Delicious. Love the recipe. I have your book and love the recipes in there too. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  • anna

    Mmm. Looks delicious !!!

  • Lesley

    Oh my…… just made this, and not only did I love it, but the 3 men in our household (all devout carnivores) raved about it, and even when I admitted that it was vegan, they still continued to wolf it down and said they would gladly eat it. This was my first experiment with vegan cheese sauce and I am so happy with the taste. Thank you so much for this great recipe!!

  • This was so good! I made it for my family for dinner last night, which includes 2 picky kids and 1 husband who is not vegan. Everyone gobbled it up. I will make it again soon! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Karen

    Made this on the weekend for 6 people and gladly doubled everything. Even the carnivores absolutely loved this super yummy ,quick and easy recipe.

  • I will try this recipe tomorrow for my family

  • valentinataylor

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