Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese (vegan!)

September 7, 2020

This sweet potato mac and cheese is a healthier take on the well-loved dish, made with sweet potatoes and nutritional yeast.

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Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 45 mins

close up of some vegan mac and cheese

VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE IS HERE GUYS, and I cannot contain my excitement! And this isn’t just any mac and cheese recipe, it’s sweet potato mac and cheese. Yes, your favourite cosy pasta dish is being upgraded with a cheesy, creamy sweet potato sauce!

The best thing about this mac and cheese recipe? It’s made with good for you ingredients. I’m talking sweet potatoes, soy milk, and nutritional yeast. This might just be the healthiest mac and cheese ever! But trust me, you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s vegan 🙂

mac and cheese on a plate with a fork

This dish is perfect to make for lunch, dinner, potlucks, or even as a thanksgiving side dish! We don’t celebrate thanksgiving here in the UK, but I sure am thankful for this macaroni cheese.

The secret to making vegan mac and cheese, without cheese!

The trick to making perfectly cheesy dairy-free mac and cheese? Nutritional yeast!

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast with a cheesy, nutty flavour. It comes in the form of little flakes (which do remind me of fish food, I’m not gonna lie) but they add a delicious cheesy flavour to so many recipes, including my vegan chilli cheese popcorn!

You can find more recipes using nutritional yeast in my virtual pantry.

How to make sweet potato mac and cheese step-by-step:

This healthier mac and cheese starts with a creamy sauce made from boiled sweet potatoes. I like to do this on the stovetop (photo 1) which takes about 15 minutes. If you are in a pinch, you can cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave instead! Simply add the chopped sweet potatoes to a microwave-safe bowl with a little water and microwave for 5 minutes.

You want the potatoes to be very soft once they are cooked (photo 2). Then we’ll add them to a blender along with some nutritional yeast, roasted garlic, dairy-free milk, lemon juice, and salt and pepper (photo 3).

how to make sweet potato mac and cheese steps 1-3

Next we’ll blend up the sauce until it’s creamy and smooth (photo 4). It’s a good idea to leave the cooked sweet potatoes to cool slightly before blending the sauce. This avoids pressure build-up in your blender (which could result in a sauce explosion when you take the lid off!).

Meanwhile, we are going to boil some macaroni pasta until al dente. Then we’ll add our blended cheesy sauce to the cooked pasta (photo 5), stir together (photo 6), and simmer until the sauce is heated through.

Then it’s time for my favourite part: eat the mac and cheese! And there’s no post-consumption guilt with this pasta dish either, as the mac and cheese sauce is made with wholefoods ingredients – yay!

how to make sweet potato mac and cheese steps 4-6

Optional additional step: Transfer the vegan mac and cheese to an oven-proof dish, top with your favourite dairy-free cheese (I like violife here in the UK), and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 °C/ 350 °F until golden and bubbling.

Variations on this recipe:

  • Blend 1-2 jalapenos into the cheesy sauce for a spicy kick!
  • To make mac and greens: A few minutes before the pasta is finished boiling, add 1/2 head broccoli chopped into florets. You can also add any other greens of your choosing.
  • Saute some onion as well as garlic to blend into the sauce for extra flavour!

If you like this sweet potato mac and cheese recipe, I just know you’ll love my creamy pesto pasta, masala grilled cheese and hidden vegetable pasta sauce recipes too. Let me know if you try them!

I hope you try this recipe – if you do, I’d love for you to tag me on Instagram @shivanilf so I can see how it goes. You can also keep updated with me on Facebook and Pinterest – I hope to see you there!

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese (vegan!)

This sweet potato mac and cheese is a healthier take on the well-loved dish, made with sweet potatoes and nutritional yeast.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, vegan
Servings: 3
Calories: 566kcal
Author: Shivani Raja

Ingredients

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes Medium size, roughly 250 g total weight
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Sunflower Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup/ 120 ml Soy Milk or dairy-free milk of choice – make sure it's unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup/ 10 grams Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 cup/ 150 grams Macaroni Pasta

Instructions

  • Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 1 inch/ 2.5 cm cubes. Add to a medium-sized pan, cover with water and add 1/2 tsp salt. Boil oh high heat for 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Alternatively, you can cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes in a bowl with a little water.
  • Set aside the potatoes to cool slightly. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the garlic then saute in a small frying pan with 1/2 tsp sunflower oil until fragrant.
  • OAdd the cooled sweet potatoes, sauteed garlic, soy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, black pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp salt to a blender. Begin by blending on low speed then gradually increase the speed to high, until the sauce is creamy and smooth.
  • Meanwhile, boil the macaroni pasta in a large pot of salted water according to packet instructions. Drain the pasta and add back to the pot along with the blended sauce. Simmer on low heat until the sauce is bubbling. Serve hot and enjoy!
  • Optional additional step: Transfer the vegan mac and cheese to an oven-proof dish, top with your favourite dairy-free cheese (I like violife here in the UK), and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 °C/ 350 °F until golden and bubbling.

Shivani’s Tips

  • Variation: blend 1-2 jalapenos into the cheese sauce for a spicy kick!
  • To make mac and greens: A few minutes before the pasta is finished boiling, add 1/2 head broccoli chopped into florets. You can also add any other greens of your choosing!
 

NUTRITION

Serving size: 1/3 of the recipe
Calories: 566 kcal | Fat: 4.6g | Saturated Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 620mg | Carbohydrates: 108.8g | Fiber: 11.6g | Sugar: 3.5g | Protein: 23g 

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @shivanilf and use the hashtag #shivanilovesfood!

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