Creamy, Vegan Mac and Cheese

vegan mac and cheese

If there were a Family Feud category for “comfort foods” (and I’m sure there was at some point), how many people would go with mac and cheese as their first pick? I don’t think I’m alone on this one; mac and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food. In this spirit, I created a mac and cheese that could be made in your slow cooker for those inevitable lazy nights. Only one pot needed — and you don’t even have to cook the pasta!

I know there are many nights that I get home from class and want to take Woodley for a run or run some errands, but looming in the back of my mind is making dinner when I get home. I dread working late into the night just to enjoy a home cooked meal (my college days of cereal and granola bars for dinner, I’m happy to say, are over). With this recipe, you can throw everything into the slow cooker, run some errands, and come back to a warm meal. I must warn, however, that some intermittent stirring is a must with this dish — so make the errands quick. Or even use the time to watch Oprah(ok, so not everyone is the fan I am, but you can feel free to sub in your favorite show here) or take a cat nap. This is supposed to be comfort food, after all. Why not make the rest of your evening comfortable and lazy as well?

Serves: 4-5

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese:

1 8-oz. box gluten-free quinoa elbow pasta (uncooked)

florets from 1 head of broccoli, washed and chopped

2/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons sesame tahini

1/2 cup Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cream cheese

1 cup unsweetened soy milk

3 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup water, divided


1. Add all above ingredients (only 1 1/2 cups water) to your slow cooker. Stir and cover. Set on a low setting for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.

2. After 1 hour has elapsed, add another 1/2 cup water. Stir. After 1 1/2 hours has elapsed, test macaroni for doneness before serving. If needed, you may add an additional 15 minutes to cooking time. Watch closely, though, to make sure pasta does not overcook.

3. If desired, to serve, toast 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes in a saute pan for a few minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle over individual servings.

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  1. says

    I love covering my dinner in Brewer’s Yeast! It’s one of my food addictions. But I’ve never tried the flakes toasted before. This recipe looks super yum.

  2. Kati says

    Hi! Can this be done with regular pasta? Or do you think it would fall apart from being in the slow cooker? Thanks! This looks yummy for my dairy free family!

  3. Beth says

    Hi Kati — hmm good question. I would say you can try it with a more firm pasta like shells and see how it works, or perhaps to the sauce in the slow cooker and cook the pasta separately and add it at the end. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but feel free to report back and let me know how that works for you. Good luck!

    Brookelynn — I can’t claim full credit for the toasted yeast. I’ve seen it in recipes before, I think in one of my favorite blogs, Vegan Yum Yum. It is super good, though, and brings the nuttiness out a bit more. Enjoy!

  4. says

    yum!!! sounds so so good! i don’t have a slow cooker, but i’m going to try this on my stove, recipe seems foolproofly delicious, so i’m not too worried!!

  5. Beth says

    Hi Cindy — Awww, you are so sweet! I may be biased, but I must say, I find him to be quite handsome myself. ha.

    Also, Happy (belated) Birthday!!

  6. shanna says

    you are an absolute genius. it is the most delicious lactose-intolerant-celiac friendly recipe i have found so far. THANK YOU for sharing this!

  7. Beth says

    Shanna —

    I am SO glad you liked it!! It’s always nice to hear feedback — especially when it’s feedback like yours! Thanks so much for your comment.

    take care,


  8. says

    This is brilliant. Haven’t tried it yet, but plan to. I have a few fave GF DF (vegan) mac and cheese recipes that I make and will try converting them to the crockpot. THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION!!!!!

    Here’s a link to one of my mac & cheese recipes (which isn’t really mine – I actually link to the original recipe in my post).



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