Plant-Based Mac and Cheese Sauce

This gluten-free plant-based mac and cheese sauce is pure comfort food and can be enjoyed by vegans and dairy lovers alike. It’s rich and creamy and I think it tastes even more delicious than traditional mac and cheese. 

Mac and cheese in a bowl.

Main Ingredients

The creaminess in this gluten-free dairy-free mac and cheese sauce recipe comes from cashews that have been soaked and then blended with water. Don’t skip the soaking step as it’s important to soften the cashews before blending them in order to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency reminiscent of a cheese sauce. 

The “cheese” flavour in this sauce comes from nutritional yeast. If you haven’t tried cooking with nutritional yeast yet you’re missing out! It’s a nutritious ingredient commonly used in vegan and dairy-free cooking and it adds a delicious cheese-like flavour to the sauce.

I generally prefer to eat gluten-free pasta and this time I opted for brown rice macaroni. These days there are so many great gluten-free pasta options such as lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, quinoa pasta and corn pasta so take your pick and enjoy this vegan gluten-free mac and cheese sauce.

More gluten-free vegan dinner recipes

A bowl of noodles smothered with plant-based mac and and cheese sauce with cupboards in the background.
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5 from 1 vote

Plant-Based Mac And Cheese Sauce

This plant-based mac and cheese sauce is so creamy and delicious.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cashew cheese, dairy-free, gluten-free, pasta, vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 128kcal


  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup boiling water for soaking cashews
  • 3/4 cups water for the sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Pinch of nutmeg optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Soak the cashews for approximately 20 minutes in 1 cup of boiling water with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • After the cashews are done soaking, drain them, discard the water and rinse the cashews.
  • Add the cashews, 3/4 cups of water, nutritional yeast, garlic, dijon mustard, salt and pepper to a food processor or blender and process/blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of vegan cashew cheese sauce so scale up or down as needed.
  • Mix the sauce with hot gluten-free pasta such as brown rice pasta, chickpea pasta, lentil pasta or corn pasta.


Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 2mg