Like a marriage between vegan mac and cheese and cream of mushroom soup, consider this is the ultimate, cheesy, umami-rich, mushroom lover's vegan mac and cheese! Includes instructions for stovetop and baked versions. Gluten-free; nut-free option.
First things first. If you're reading this, it's probably safe to assume you love mushrooms. In that case, have you tried my Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup yet?
That cream of mushroom is just sooooooo..... yes. With both fresh and dried mushrooms it's a mushroom flavor bomb. But unlike today's recipe, it's oil-free and surprisingly light. Anyway, that soup is the primary inspiration for today's recipe.
The mac and cheese part of today's recipe is inspired by my award-winning Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese. It's super milky, cheesy, garlicky, and so easy to make.
Why you'll LOVE this mushroom mac and cheese
Sometimes you want mac and cheese. Sometimes you want veggies. And sometimes you want something SO umami-rich, all you want to do is bury your face in a giant bowl of sautéed mushrooms. You feel me? Well, this creamy mushroom pasta just might be the answer to your cravings because it's:
- Luxuriously creamy
- Garlicky, salty, and cheesy
- Packing deep mushroom flavor
- Gluten-free if you use GF pasta
- A tasty way to eat spinach
- And it has a hint of rosemary that makes it next-level satisfying (although you can skip the rosemary if you're not into it)
How to Make the Ultimate Mushroom Vegan Mac and Cheese
If you're a visual person, be sure to watch the recipe video.
Here's a quick written summary just to give you an idea of how easy it is to pull this dish together.
- Make a mushroom "tea" by pouring boiling water over dried mushrooms, and rosemary. While the tea steeps...
- Sauté garlic and mushrooms in vegan butter. Oh yeah!
- Cook and drain the pasta.
- Blend up the cheesy sauce, which includes the mushroom tea AND a portion of the sautéed garlic and shrooms.
- Pour the sauce into the pan with the rest of the sautéed mushrooms, and bring to a simmer.
- Add the pasta.
- Add the spinach, and cook until dark green and wilted.
If you're rocking out the stovetop version, you're pretty much finished! Just let the pasta rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the sauce to thicken a bit and the flavors to mingle.
If you're making the baked version:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 C). Combine breadcrumbs, olive oil, and salt in a bowl.
- In addition to the package of vegan cheese slices that went into the blended sauce, you'll be using another pack of cheese. Grate it. Stir about half of the grated cheese into the pasta.
- If your pan is oven-safe, you're good to go. If it's not, transfer the mac and cheese to a 3 quart baking dish.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, then top with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
Obviously, this is not a budget recipe. But before you scoff at the idea of vegan cheese slices, cashews, and two forms of mushrooms, remember that this makes around 8 servings of vegan mac and cheese....and not just any mac and cheese. We're talking special occasion-worthy stuff here.
When you break the cost down by serving it makes a little more sense, doesn't it? You'd pay more for a serving for vegan mac and cheese in almost any restaurant, and in all likelihood it's not going to be better than this (or this)!
I think most of us agree that mac and cheese is an "ultimate" kind of dish anyway, one you want in your back pocket for occasions when a special treat is in order, or when you just want to impress your non-vegan friends.
I hope you love this Ultimate Vegan Mushroom Mac as much as we do! Be sure to leave a comment and a star rating below if you give it a try.
And if you’re on instagram tag a photo of your dish with @myquietkitchen. I always love to see what you’re cooking!
More savory vegan recipes:
Ultimate Vegan Mushroom Mac and Cheese
- 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini or shiitake
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, optional
- 3 cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces cremini and/or white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 3/4 cup raw cashews (if you don't have a high-speed blender, soak cashews overnight or in hot water for 1 to 2 hours, then drain) For nut-free, sub extra cheese or 1/2 cup soaked and drained raw sunflower seeds.
- 1 (7 oz.) package vegan cheese slices such as Violife, Chao, or Follow Your Heart, chopped (for baked version you'll need 2 packs; see below) *Choose neutral varieties like Violife Smoked Provolone or Chao Creamy Original.
- 2 tablespoons chickpea miso Sub mellow white miso if necessary.
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- freshly grated nutmeg, just 4 or 5 passes over a microplane, optional
- 6 ounces raw baby spinach
- 16 ounces elbows, shells, or other pasta shape Gluten-free, if needed.
- black pepper, optional
If making a baked version you'll also need:
- 1 additional package vegan cheese slices as described above, grated
- 3/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs or panko
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Combine dried mushrooms and rosemary in a small bowl, and add the boiling water. Set aside to steep for 20 minutes.
- Preheat a large saute pan over medium/low heat (optional -- if making the baked version, choose an oven-proof skillet large enough to hold the finished pasta (3 liter/quart); use it during both the sauteing and baking.) Add butter and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium, and add the sliced mushrooms. Stirring occasionally, saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the tamari, and cook for another minute or so. Remove from heat, and measure out a heaping 1/2 cup of the mushroom/garlic mixture.
- Heat a large pot of water for the pasta. Salt it generously, and cook pasta until not quite al dente. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain in a colander.
- In a high-speed blender combine the steeped mushroom-rosemary mixture (including the liquid), 1/2 cup cooked mushroom mixture, cashews, 1 package cheese, miso, tapioca, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt, onion powder, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce into the saute pan with the mushrooms (if pan isn't large enough to hold the finished recipe, use the pasta pot). Bring to a simmer, and add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat. Add the spinach, and cook for a few more minutes or until spinach is wilted and dark green. Taste and add salt and/or pepper, if desired. For stovetop version, set aside to rest and thicken for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
For baked version:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Combine breadcrumbs, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl.
- Fold about half of the shredded cheese into the pasta. If you need to transfer the pasta to a baking dish, do that now. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, followed by the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly brown and crisp. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, if needed.
- Let rest 10 minutes, and serve.