This green mac and cheese is loaded with hidden veggies. It's so creamy and flavorful you won't believe it's dairy free!
Serve this recipe for St. Patrick's Day or anytime you want to mix up your mac and cheese game!
This recipe was originally published on 3/13/17
I start St. Patrick's Day with my healthy shamrock shake and end it with this green mac and cheese. Both are packed with hidden veggies but you'd never know!
The special base of this green mac and cheese with veggies is so incredibly creamy you'd have no idea it's plant based!
Here is what you need to make the dairy free mac and cheese recipe:
- Dairy free milk - see notes below on the best kind to use!
- Apple cider vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Mustard powder
- Pasta of choice (for dairy free gluten free mac and cheese use gluten free pasta)
How to Make Green Mac and Cheese
The steps are similar to my other dairy free mac and cheese recipes, just more green from the hidden veggies! Lucky for us it's super simple. Don't you love it when healthy food isn't a complicated process?
- Put cooked veggies in a blender with all sauce ingredients.
- Add the sauce to your favorite pasta and mix.
How to Prep Ahead and Storage Tips
Want to have this green mac and cheese ready to go when you are? You can either prep a lot or a little:
- Cook the cauliflower, potato, onion and cashews in advance.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to blend.
- Completely make the sauce and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
- Freeze the dairy free cheese sauce for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- Defrost in the refrigerator the night before, or quickly in the microwave.
- Reheat the prepared sauce in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave.
- The consistency may change a little, simply give a good stir or re-blend.
- If you need to thin it out you can stir in some dairy free milk until you reach your desired consistency.
What to Serve With Green Mac and Cheese
Make an entirely green meal by pairing this green macaroni and cheese with any of the following:
What is vegan mac and cheese made of?
I usually make my vegan mac and cheese with veggie based cheesy sauces like classic vegan cheese sauce or vegan sharp white cheese sauce. But for this dairy free mac and cheese recipe I upped my game and made a fun colorful version.
I love using whole foods to mimic all things creamy and cheesy. And don't think this is a sham, because my vegan creamy sauce game is legit!
My base in this green mac and cheese is loads of veggies: cauliflower, potato and even spinach for that signature green look.
The timing is perfect for St. Patrick's day, but let's be clear, you should eat this ANY DAY. So many reasons why:
- Hidden cauliflower
- Packed with spinach but undetectable in taste
- Fun and colorful
- Easy to make with a quick zip in the trusty high speed blender (or regular blender when you grind the cashews or soak them well)
- Perfectly festive for St. Patrick's day, Easter or even Christmas
How do I get my toddler to eat vegetables?
Let me start with saying, I think it's very important to present your kids with veggies constantly. It takes over 25 times for a child to be exposed to something before they can decide if they like it or not. So keep sharing new veggies and fruit and don't despair!
One great way to to serve mac and cheese with veggies, but here are a few tips I like to live by:
- Always present a new veggie with another you know they like.
- Allow them to come shopping and pick out their own new veggie they'd like to try.
- Get your kids involved with cooking and meal prep so they feel in control
- Present the veggies in many ways, different shapes, placed different containers, and cooked with different techniques
- Use holidays to present themed food, name the meals too, this was a great fun dinner for St. Patrick's Day! I told my kids that this was Leprechaun Mac and Cheese. The only snafu was when they looked wide eyed at me and asked if I made it with actual leprechauns, so I had to think fast and assure them it was purely four leaf clovers. Phew. Crisis averted.
- Have wine stocked near by, it's always a good back up for you
Because the reality is that most of us will constantly be enduring veggie meltdowns, I also advocate to sneak in veggies everywhere you can. Which is why I created this hidden veggie green dairy free mac and cheese recipe!
It's packed full of healthy ingredients, so when the meltdowns happen, I can walk away without a full hostage negotiation.
More Dairy Free Mac and Cheese Recipes
Love the comforting taste and feel of good 'ole macaroni and cheese? Enjoy it any time without the dairy with any of these plant based recipes:
Dairy Free Green Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup cauliflower , chopped (about ¼ of a head)
- 1 cup cooked potato , about 1 medium potato
- ¼ of a medium onion
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 clove garlic , medium size
- ¾ cup raw cashews (see note)
- ½ cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk , I use Silk brand
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seed powder
- 16 ounces your favorite pasta
- Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C
- Chop cauliflower and sprinkle with a bit of broth or oil. Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until slightly crisp.
- Meanwhile, cook potato and onion by boiling until soft.
- Once cauliflower, potato and onion are done, put them in a high speed blender with all other ingredients, except pasta, and blend until smooth.
- Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse, then return to pot.
- Pour sauce over pasta and mix over low heat until thick and gooey.
- Sauce makes about 3 cups.
- The best method to cook the potato is by boiling it with the onion. See instructions.
- If you are not using a high speed blender you can either soak the cashews overnight, boil them with the potato and onion or grind them into a fine powder using a coffee grinder.
- Cook cauliflower, potato, onion and cashews.
- Best kid food ever. Overcook pasta for young baby and mash well.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
Giving this a go tonight. Can I freeze the sauce and does it reheat OK? Cheers 🙂
Hi Tania! Yep, you can definitely freeze the sauce! Just put out to defrost slowly when you want to eat it again. Then warm it up on the stove or microwave and mix well. The texture will come back.
Can I ask what you used the veggie broth for? It was in your notes on the bottom of the recipe.
Hi Aylin! Thanks for catching that. I have been going through and double checking all of my recipes since I transferred to a new recipe plugin and a few things got messed up, and I did not catch that. I don't use broth in this recipe, I use the cashew milk instead.
I did this today, and omg it’s so gooood, I honestly thought it wasn’t going to be good but it is so delicioussss
I'm so happy you liked it!!! Thanks for letting me know!!!
My husband and I both agreed that this dish was really good. You really do need to have a high speed blender to process everything - really made my Vitamix work. I did use some of my pasta water to thin out the sauce.
Hi Belinda! I am so happy you guys liked this! If you look at the notes in the recipe, you actually can get a pretty smooth sauce using a regular blender by grinding the cashews first with a coffee grinder. I had to do this once when I had no access to my trusty vitamix and it worked really well! I was super surprised.
I’m an adult and I love this Mac and cheese! An easy way for me to eat my greens.
This tasted awful, I took a bite and wanted to throw up immediately ?
Hi Shaylen, it sounds to me like you didn't follow the directions. I have had many people make this with big success. Not to mention, my 5 year old is the worlds pickiest eater and he devoured this so I'm pretty sure it isn't awful. It's pretty important to follow a recipe to the tee in order for it to work. Best of luck in your future recipe tries.
Thanks Deborah! I actually had responded to him back then because I know it doesn’t taste awful. LOL
OMG, I don't think I've ever seen kids happier to eat veggies! But I would have been pretty darn happy if my mom fed me that mac 'n cheese, too!
Ha! Thanks Alisa! They loved it especially my picky middle one!
Oh my, I love everything about this post. Such a healthy and creamy Mac and Cheese recipe and you and your family are so beautiful.
Thanks Michelle! You are too sweet. The kids love the dish so much that I have made it many times already!
Linda @ Veganosity
LOVE those pictures! My favorite is the one with the signs. Everyone is making a silly face, and the baby is like, "I have nothing to do with these people." So fun. 🙂
The sauce sounds fantastic, nothing wrong with being sneaky when it comes to spinach. Although, I have to admit that I'm wondering what clovers would taste like?
Thank you so much Linda! Yes, he was NOT impressed by our jokes. LOL And I'm pretty sure clovers are delicious 😉
I'm typing this one-handed as Willow is sleeping on my other one so I apologize for any typos ? THIS SAUCE is freaking amazing!!!!! Omg. I made this for my whole family yesterday and everyone approved (even my hard to impress grandmother). They enjoyed it with both gluten free noodles and spiralized sweet potato. I kept sneaking bites of the sauce while the noodles were cooking - i couldn't get enough of the flavor! It had a tangy zip to it and the creaminess factor is just incredible. I'm so grateful that I can have cashews again...I'm hoping I can be friends with beans again soon because I've been dreaming about your cauliflower dip!! Wonderful recipe, my friend!! ❤
Thank you so much Mandy!! I'm so happy you guys love it as much as we do. I baked it tonight with a crispy breadcrumb topping and it was devoured! I loved your use of it on IG with the veggies, I shared on my page! Hope that was okay. I'm thrilled you made up with cashews! I'd be doomed without them. LOL!
The Vegan 8
Ok, the recipe sounds delicious but I must admit my favorite part of this post are those pics! I LOVE that pic of you and Leo looking at each other...soooo cute!! And then the family photo where y'all are all smiling and he's looking at the camera like, "what's up", LOL! So freaking funny! I can see why everybody loved the mac and cheese too, yum!
Haha! Yes, he was not impressed with our funny faces. It was such a fun shoot!! Thank you!
Awwww!!! I love these pics of your beautiful family! And obviously the teaser pics of the cookbook 🙂 This mac and cheese looks sooooooo good! So creamy and any time you can sneak a little bit of green into a meal is a huge bonus...St. Patrick's Day or not. I'm definitely going to make this ASAP!
Thank you Mandy!! I think you guys would love this one. My kids, and the biggest hubby kid, devoured it! Let me know if you try it!
Casey the College Celiac
What a cute idea! And I'm a sucker for a good vegan cheese sauce...
Thanks so much! It's so yum!
I love how festively green this is, and I love all of those hidden veggies!
I thought for SURE the green came from an avocado! Looks good and cute pics of the fam!
Nope! Ha. Thank you!!
I love this! What a festive way to sneak in some extra veggies.