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A close up of vegan sharp white mac and cheese in a white bowl with breadcrumb topping

Sharp White Mac and Cheese Bake

A normally unhealthy dish gets a whole food based makeover. This sharp white mac and cheese bake is as creamy and delicious as it's dairy counterpart!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Healthy cheesy pasta, Vegan cheesy pasta
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 408kcal
Author Sophia DeSantis


  • Sharp White Cheese Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water or water from cooking veggies
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed powder (take out or use less if you don't want it too sharp)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chickpea miso (see notes in sharp white cheese sauce recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 24 ounces your favorite pasta

Crispy topping (makes about 2 1/4 cups):

  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds (I used Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts)
  • 2 slices toasted bread use gluten free for gluten free recipe
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  • Make cheese sauce according to recipe. 
  • After it’s blended, take a spoonful and eat it because it’s so good. Then add the water, extra apple cider vinegar, mustard seed powder, chickpea miso and salt.
  • Blend again. It will now taste much stronger and be watery, but this is ok. When baking, it loses a bit of flavor and creaminess so this will make sure that it is perfectly sharp and creamy after baked.
  • Put all crispy topping ingredients into a food processor. Process until well combined.
  • Cook pasta for only about 2 minutes. You will be baking this so this prevents mushy noodles. Although it doesn’t seem like a long time, if you overcook then your noodles will end up mushy after baked.
  • Once pasta is done, drain and rinse well to prevent too much starchiness in the baked dish. 
  • Return to the pot and mix in cheese sauce.
  • Pour into a 9 x 12 baking dish. Sprinkle crispy topping over it evenly. You can decide if you want a thicker crisp on top or a thinner one.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy on top. Start checking at 10 minutes to ensure your pasta doesn’t overcook. I made this with a gluten free ancient grain pasta made from brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and corn. Different pastas cook differently so make sure to check it starting at 10 minutes.
  • Promptly stuff into face without getting burned, this is best hot from the oven!


  • This makes an extra sharp artisan style baked mac and cheese, but if you want it more mellow then leave out the extra sauce ingredients and simply add the water to the original white cheese sauce recipe.
  • The crispy topping makes on the more side, this way you can decide if you want a thicker layer or thinner layer. Keep leftovers for next time.
  • Tips to prep ahead: Make cheese sauce and crispy topping.
  • Baby/toddler food idea: This can be baked a little longer for baby and pulsed into a smooth or chunkier food. If baby is new to foods, you can also leave out the extra spice/seasoning ingredients in the sauce and it will be less sharp.


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 700mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2115IU | Vitamin C: 14.7mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 3.4mg