An easy vegan, gluten-free pumpkin mac and cheese recipe ready in just 30-minutes! This plant-based recipe combines raw cashews, pumpkin puree, plant milk, sweet potato, pimentos, paprika, nutritional yeast, and my secret ingredient- red curry paste for the most flavorful vegan cheese sauce to pour over your gluten-free / grain-free noodles!
Hellloooo Fall! This is a first for the Healthy Little Vittles blog! Enter into this seasonal Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese! It’s made in just 30 minutes, is plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, but still so incredibly rich and delicious!
Now you may have seen, or even tried some pretty epic vegan macaroni and cheese recipes, but my recipe features a couple “secret ingredients” that help give it that orangy-yellow color and offers that subtle sharpness we all think of when we think of Mac n’ cheese.
Nutritional Yeast is a must in vegan macaroni and cheese recipes. It’s primarily what gives the vegan version that cheesy flavor. You could try and make it with the emerging vegan cheese products out there, but I do prefer to use nutritional yeast as its name states, it’s highly nutritious! It’s high in protein, a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids actually, and is also a great source of B vitamins, especially important on a vegan diet.
When I first tried nutritional yeast years ago, it was meh… but now I could eat it by the spoonful! #sorrynotsorry. Another common ingredient you’ll see in vegan mac and cheese recipes is cashews, and you’ll find them in this recipe as well. They definitely give this dish that creaminess, and while I don’t consume cashews often, I couldn’t omit them from this recipe.
And now perhaps to my “secret” ingredients… sweet pimentos and red curry paste! The addition of these two ingredients was kind of an experiment, but aside from the added color these two ingredients gave, I also love the added “sharpness” lost from omitting the traditional sharp cheddar dairy cheese.
You’ll also find that sweet potato sneaked its way in this Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese recipe, and of course pumpkin- which aside from being the epitome of Fall, adds some pretty great nutritional value as well! So basically, lots of really great things happening here! Garnish with some crushed gluten-free crackers and it’s a total game-changer too. YUMMM.
If you like quick, flavorful weeknight pasta recipes, be sure to check out my One-Pot Creamy Vegan Taco Pasta– also featuring my favorite Jovial Gluten-Free Organic Brown Rice Pasta (there’s also a grain-free cassava flour pasta option!) Anywho, this Autumn-inspired dish is so flavorful, so easy, and could quite possibly open the door for future mac n’ cheese recipes on the blog, so be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook @HealthyLittleVittles #healthylittlevittles if you make it! And keep your eyes peeled for more like it!
- 12 oz Gluten-Free elbow pasta (I used Jovial Foods GF Organic Brown Rice Pasta)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled
- 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 cups plant milk (like coconut milk or cashew milk)
- 4 ounces sweet pimentos
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons plant butter
- ground nutmeg
- Fresh thyme (optional)
- crumbled gluten-free crackers (optional)
- Add the cashews and sweet potatoes to a medium saucepan and cover with water. Boil them until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Strain the cashews and sweet potatoes and place them in your blender with all of the other ingredients (minus the noodles) and blend until smooth. *NOTE: you may need more plant milk to achieve the desired thickness of the "cheese" sauce.
- Make the pasta according to the package directions, strain, and then add back to the pot. Pour in the cheese sauce, stir to coat all the noodles with the sauce. Serve in bowls and then garnish with ground nutmeg, pepper, thyme (optional). Try crumbling gluten-free crackers over top!
** Make this recipe grain-free by using plant noodles, or Jovial Foods Cassava Pasta!