Vegan Green Chili Mac n Cheese

Vegan Green Chili Mac n Cheese! 30 minutes from start to finish and SO creamy and satisfying!

I’m sure we all have horror stories of the mac n cheese of our yesteryear. For me it was almost always boxed, but in the rare chance that it wasn’t, it was certainly made with that processed block of horror known as Velveeta (*shiver).

This is not that kind of mac n cheese. This is unprocessed, wholesome, dairy-free goodness for those of us who still crave a bit of our childhood favorites without all the junk.

Easy Vegan Mac n CheeseSoaking Cashews

Don’t be intimidated by vegan mac n cheese. I was a little skeptical at first because my initial attempts at cashew sauces were unsuccessful. But I’ve learned a few tricks here and there (how long to soak, how long to blend, what spices/seasonings to add) and I’m now a HUGE fan. It’s unbelievable how a jar of soaked cashews can turn into rich sauces, luxurious ice creams and bonafide cheesy goodness.

Plus, this particular recipe requires just 10 ingredients (minus the tortilla chips) and 30 minutes! It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Green Chili Mac n Cheeze #vegan

This sauce is infused with plenty of flavor thanks to cumin, chili powder and green chilies. Half of the chilies go into the sauce, while the other half get stirred into the final product. The result is oh-so dreamy.

Easy Vegan Mac n Cheese with Green Chilis!

Vegan Green Chili Mac n Cheese!Vegan Mac n Cheese with Green Chilis and Tortilla Chips! #vegan 30 minute meal

Once you stir the sauce with the noodles and the green chilies, it’s time for a little crunch. I toasted up some tortilla chips until golden brown then sprinkled them on top for another layer of flavor and texture. I was in love. Swoon.

You’re going to love this mac n cheese. It’s:

Creamy
Luxurious
Savory
Super Cheesy
Velvety
Perfectly spiced from the green chilies
Mega satisfying
Altogether dreamy

Oh, and by the way, each serving has 19 grams of protein! WHAT?!!

30 Minute Vegan Mac n Cheese with Green Chilis and Toasted Tortilla Chips!Vegan Green Chili mac n Cheese! minimalistbaker.com #vegan

I personally think you could serve this to a non-vegan and they would totally dig it. They may be able to tell it’s not “true mac n cheese,” but it’s so creamy and flavorful and satisfying that they’ll have to be won over. This makes enough for 4, or 3 very generously, so invite a few friends and take them to vegan cheese heaven. Cheers!

Green Chili Mac n Cheese! #vegan minimalistbaker.comGreen Chili Mac n Cheese! #vegan #healthy30 Minute Vegan Mac n Cheese with Green Chilis!

4.9 from 20 reviews

Vegan Green Chili Mac n Cheese
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

10 ingredient, 30 minute vegan mac n cheese infused with green chili and topped with crispy baked crushed tortilla chips!
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 10 ounces large macaroni shells (gluten free for GF eaters | I used pipe rigate)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 4-ounce can diced chills (scoop half into the sauce, reserve half for the finished mac n cheese)
  • Optional: 1 cup tortilla chips, fresh cilantro for topping

Instructions
  1. If topping with tortilla chips, crush chips into fine crumbs and add to a baking pan lined with parchment paper or foil. Spritz with olive or canola oil, sprinkle with salt and stir, then bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Boil macaroni according to package instructions.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, sautee onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, stir and cook until soft and fragrant – about 7 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Add onions and garlic to a blender with remaining ingredients, omitting the tortilla chips and adding only half of the green chilies. Blend until smooth, using the “liquify” setting if you have it to get it really smooth. Otherwise just blend for up to a minute, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
  5. Drain the noodles, set aside and cover (with a towel). To the same pot you boiled the noodles in, add the cashew cheese and cook on low stirring frequently until slightly thickened.
  6. Add the macaroni noodles to the cheese, along with the remaining green chilies and stir. Serve immediately, topping with crushed toasted tortilla chips and cilantro (optional).

Notes
*Adapted from the amazing Isa Chandra.
*Nutrition information is for 1 of four servings without tortilla chips.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/4 recipe Calories: 516 Fat: 17 g Saturated fat: 3.5 g Carbohydrates: 72 g Sugar: 4 g Sodium: 380 mg Fiber: 5.6 g Protein: 19 g

 

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Comments

  1. Steff says

    I am sure the vegan community appreciates your vegan recipes a lot, and I do, too, with colleagues allergic to gluten and egg – however, I am wondering if you know that most kinds of cheese are naturally lactose free? So being lactose intolerant you do not have to miss out on all the dairy products. The general rule is: the more fat they have, the less lactose. Parmesan for example is naturally completely lactose free.

    • Dana Shultz says

      Steff, thanks for the insight! I am aware of the various levels of lactose in dairy products, but regardless of that I still find that they upset my stomach. Therefore, I try and avoid them at all costs!

      • LynnGirl2000 says

        You can buy 100% lactose-free cheese and milk. I recommend Lactaid. I like it because unlike soy or almond milk, in a blind taste test you can’t tell the difference from the real milk. They also make other lactose-free dairy products, but the milk is the easiest to find in your average grocery store (i.e. walmart).

      • Jordan says

        It’s most likely the milk protiens (casien) that are concentrated in cheese. As a whole dairy products are very difficult to digest, so even if you arn’t lactose intolerant you can still suffer indigestion. Enzymes in milk also cause more mucus formation, resulting in a stuffy/runny nose and phlegm in your throat.

        ALTHOUGH milk products do contain a vitamin A that is very easily assimilated. It’s tough to decide whether dairy products are good or bad in the end (good= vitamin A and protien, bad = indigestion and mucus formation). Generally I try to avoid dairy products, but I do cook with ghee (clarified butter. It is butter minus the milk solids… so no casien or lactose).

    • VeganPunkgirl says

      Looks like a nice variation on Isa Chandra’s recipe. Does it work just as well with fresh chilis or only canned ones do you know ? I am not a fan of the vinegar taste in the canned ones, which is why I ask. I will make it tonight with fresh ones but will just slowly add them into the mix until it tastes OK (assuming that 14 oz of fresh chilis might be too strong ?).

      For Steff – the lives of cows are what I am concerned about when it comes to not having any dairy products. There is no physical imperative for a human to eat cow’s milk – only selfish reasons cause us to do this. The factory farming industry that abuses cows and calves for their artificially shortened miserable lives to produce veal, milk and cheese products is really truly immoral. I like most vegans, refuse to participate in that killing of these gentle creatures any longer. I just wanted to point out that it is more often for moral reasons that vegans avoid dairy products, and not merely for intolerance of digesting it.

      • Dana Shultz says

        You could totally use fresh. I’d just roast them beforehand to intensify their flavor and soften their texture.

      • Steff says

        I know that there are good reasons to avoid milk if you are vegan – I did not want to say that you should not avoid dairy products at all costs. Just that if you are lactose intolerant and NOT vegan you do not need to avoid all dairy products. I have the highest of respects for vegans.
        However, I strongly dislike the missionary ones who try to tell everyone how animals suffer because of them. I do not think that it is necessary as the facts are well known and, in fact, it is the kind of behaviour that makes people get irritated and hating vegetarians and vegans. It does not help your purpose at all.

        • Jan says

          It’s true; irritating people never works *cough* first-wave feminist revolution *cough* black rights movement *cough*. We should all just be really nice and calmly tell people what they’re doing is wrong. I mean, it worked for apartheid in Africa, right? I’m pretty sure the whole thing was sorted out over a cup of tea.

          But seriously, though. I’m trying this recipe tonight! I’ll be back with my feedback and if I’m able to change my rating I will. Right now, I’m giving it 4 stars based simply on the pictures!

    • nicole says

      dairy products may be lactose free, but they are NOT cruelty free. that is why the majority of people are vegan. =)

  2. says

    Just bought nutritional yeast for the first time yesterday — can’t wait to try this! Pretty sure I love cheese too much to be vegan (and I don’t have an intolerance), but maybe I can cut down with the help of sauces like this one! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. says

    I’m not going to lie, I have very fond memories of macaroni and cheese from my childhood. The Velveeta kind? My favorite. I do kind of cringe when I think about the ingredients now, but man, that stuff was good. I haven’t had it in years so it probably wouldn’t taste as good as I remember it, though. Anyway, this vegan mac and cheese looks lovely. I don’t think you can have too many versions of mac and cheese (real or vegan) in your arsenal!

  4. Susan Pantle says

    What timing I am having barbequed ribs tonight & wanted to make mac-n-cheese with it! Cashews are soaking!

    • Dana Shultz says

      I would say halve the recipe if it’s just you, although it does reheat pretty well. It doesn’t reheat like regular mac n cheese in that the sauce loses a bit of its texture/looks, but it still tastes good!

    • Dana Shultz says

      No, I say in a previous step to all onions, garlic and all remaining ingredients (including the cashews/excluding the tortilla chips) to a blender and blend to make the cashew cheese. So when I say cashew cheese, it’s an actual cheese sauce by that point. Hope that helps!

  5. says

    Greetings! I just discovered your blog & it’s my new favorite! Looking over your various recipes, it’s evident that you MUST open a restaurant! I am not vegan, but I cannot tolerate dairy & there are very few good options out there. I would also like to eat less gluten & become vegan at some point. Cashews are so wonderful & in fact, I just finished eating some! Pecans are great too & blended (preferably in a Vita-Mix!) with banana, ice cubes & organic raw blue agave makes a most wonderful “ice cream”! Cheers!

  6. says

    Being from Germany, I didn’t know about Mac’n’Cheese until I traveled to the US in 2006 for the first time. I don’t think I ever tried it either. But I love that there is a vegan take on it. I cannot eat dairy, so if I ever want to try Mac’n’Cheese, I’ll come back to this :)

  7. says

    Well, I very much enjoyed scrolling through all the beautiful pictures! ;-)
    Genius idea to make a vegan mac and cheese! So I guess it’s the nutritional yeast (UK Marmite? Australian Vegemite?) that makes it taste ‘cheesy’? Nice idea that I’d like to try!

    • VeganPunkgirl says

      Hi Helen – Marmite is not the same as nutritional yeast. It is far more bitter – nutritional yeast flakes have a slightly sweet nutty cheesey flavour. If you put in Marmite it will be more bitter and too salty. It is also not the same as what in the USA is called “brewer’s yeast” but looks a lot like it. Brewer’s yeast. In Australia and New Zealand, nutritional yeast is also called “savory yeast” or “savory yeast flakes”.

  8. says

    Saw this and said to Husband, “Husband, this is what’s for dinner.”

    Followed the recipe, but felt it needed a bit more oomph in the flavor department. Husband said “umame”, I felt maybe some salt, and maybe some more chili … and maybe some chopped tomato. I ended up grinding in some African Smoky Spice mix from Trader Joe’s, and the tomato. Somehow, we have no leftovers (alas!) Next time, I think I’ll salt the pasta water. The pasta diluted the sauce too much, I think. Or maybe boil the pasta in the veggie broth, and then use it to make the sauce. Yeah. Next time could be pretty soon! Thanks for this!

  9. Maria says

    I just made this sauce without the green chilis because I forgot to buy them and my god, this is delicious!! I’m definitely going to be making this again.

  10. Katherine B says

    Yummm! One of my favorite recipes is for “mac’n’squash,” which uses a sauce from cashews, butternut squash, nooch, and seasonings, tossed with pasta and baked. Now I am sure I need to try this one!!! However, I like to call it something other than “mac’n’cheese” so non-vegans will recognize its true deliciousness instead of being stuck on the fact that it doesn’t taste exactly like cheese.

    • Dana Shultz says

      I think this one does taste like cheese! It is notably different, but definitely close. Hope you give it a go, Katherine!

  11. Steph T. says

    Made this last night and it was delicious!!! I definitely don’t think I could pass it off as real cheese to a non-vegan, but it was amazing nonetheless. It was more of a creamy alfredo, in my opinion. I ended up making my veggie broth more concentrated, to add more flavor (Orrington Farms broth base). Also added some frozen peas for some sweetness + an extra protein punch. Next time, we may even top it with a teaspoon of salsa. Great recipe, thank you!

  12. Mary says

    Have your photos always been on the site? I love that you added them/I found them! Prompted me to click and read more about you and I love how genuine your story is. I also am so encouraged to find others who try to live out what’s important in life, all the while being laid back and chill about it. So many people make assumptions about anyone who’s different these days.

    And thanks for always tackling these intimidating vegan recipes! I have never been disappointed and this mac looks awesome! The chili’s are a nice touch :) Can’t wait to try it!

  13. says

    Well, this is now officially what I want to eat for lunch today. :) There definitely haven’t been enough green chile and creamy sauces on my plate!

  14. says

    By the looks of it, I’d never be able to tell that it’s vegan. I love putting spicy things in anything (including chocolate) so loving the green chiles in it. Maybe some breadcrumbs on top to finish it off?

  15. Finn says

    Awesome! I will cook this for sure! It looks amazing!
    Three questions tho. I’ve never heard of nutritional yeast. Do I really need it?
    What kind of broth do you use? Just some “powder” ? By soaking you mean just putting them in water? :D

    Keep up the good stuff :)

    • Dana Shultz says

      I would say yes, yo do need nutritional yeast. It’s what gives it that cheesy taste. I use a powder veggie broth that’s vegan/GF. And yes, by soaking I mean soaking them in water. Hope that helps!

  16. says

    Mac and cheese is my weakness and favorite comfort food! This dairy free version couldn’t have come sooner; every grocery trip I pass by the boxes of shells and cheese and will myself not to pick any up; this will be the perfect replacement!

  17. says

    i am so excited to try this! i tried out a sweet potato vegan mac’n’cheeze (not fantastic) + another recipe ohdeardrea’s blog that i loved but this looks amazing too! thanks for sharing :)

  18. says

    Green chili mac and cheese?! OMG! You’re a genius. I’ve done cashew versions and sweet potato and butternut squash versions of mac and cheese. Have you tried the other two and if so, which is yours? I prefer the sweet potato version! :)

    • Dana Shultz says

      I haven’t tried other versions! But I was really pleased with this version. I don’t know if I’d like the sweetness of the sweet potato….but if you like it perhaps it’s worth a shot! Email me a recipe!

  19. says

    OH MY GOD. THIS LOOKS AMAZING. I’m literally so hungry and I made the mistake of going through my blog reader around dinner time. I love how creamy that looks, and the addition of chilis makes my heart sing. I’m definitely going to have to try this. Great photos as usual!

  20. Leigh says

    It’s been done. This graced our table last night it and it was fantastic! I felt my sauce colour was not as beautiful as yours though ~ not sure what I need to do to up the umph?

    I have tried butternut squash and pumpkin sauces but the sweetness changes things. Liquid smoke can help cut the sweetness and bring another level of flavour in case you want to try it!

    Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe it will definitely be made again and again…

    • Dana Shultz says

      Yay! So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Leigh. I think for the slightly brighter color I added a pinch of paprika at the last moment (not for any flavor, mainly for photos). Thanks for sharing your experience! Hope you enjoy it again and again.

  21. Laura says

    Dana, Do you have any suggestion on what you can replace the cashews with because of a nut allergy. Do you think sunflower or pumpkin seeds would work? This looks amazing! Thanks Laura

  22. says

    I´m wondering what exactly canned chili is? Is is just a plain diced jalapeño can? or is it something less spicy? I´m curious because I´m from Mexico, and that´s the only kind of chili you can find in a can, but I dont know if it sometimes tend to be too spicy.

    • Charles says

      I’m wondering this too. I have a 4oz can of jalapeños, but I want to make sure I’m not making the dish too spicy.

      • Dana Shultz says

        It’ll make the dish spicy for sure. I’d use green chilis – they’re much milder than canned jalepenos in my experience. But if they’re all you have, use 1/4 to 1/2 the amount recommended.

  23. Jennifer says

    This was awesome!! Kids (age 4 &6) gobbled it up. Great flavour! Will be adding this to our recipe collection for sure. My son can’t have wheat or dairy, and of course misses Mac and cheese. Thanks! Looking forward to trying your other recipes. :)
    Jennifer

    • Dana Shultz says

      Oh that’s great to hear, Jennifer! So glad you and your family enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  24. says

    I had to come back to tell you something. I made this. It was the bomb! Well, we didn’t have green chiles, but otherwise followed it as written…which is really not like me at all. But there’s a first time for everything. Loved, loved, loved this. I should also tell you that I decided to make this in honor of a friend. She used to tell me stories about Mac & Cheese from her childhood days…and I would laugh. She was the coolest. Now I can’t have Mac & Cheese without thinking about her. She died recently and all of us who knew her are saddened by the loss. And I’m finding that when a friend dies it’s comforting to think about them. So we will be having a lot of Mac & Cheese for awhile. See? Sometimes it’s not just a recipe…it can be so much more.

    • Dana Shultz says

      This made my day, Marly. Thanks so much for sharing! Especially the sentimental value it held in light of your friend’s passing. If you try it again, be sure to add the green chilies! I think it makes all the difference!

  25. sarah says

    I just made this and it is deeeeeeeelish. However, grainy like texture from the cashews even though it blended forever. They soaked for 8 hrs. I guess next time I will soak for a day.

    • Dana Shultz says

      Hmm, it may have something to do with the quality of your blender? Is it a high powered one? I’ve found Ninja’s specifically not to work too well with fine pureeing…Otherwise, maybe it just needed more liquid to help it go. Either way, glad you enjoyed the flavor!

        • Dana Shultz says

          Yeah, ninjas – not sold on them. They’re great for a lot of things but not liquifying cashews. I also don’t like the way they make falafel and hummus.

  26. Mia says

    Made this last night (it was my first time using cashews as a substitute) and LOVED it. It reheated well for lunch too! Thanks for giving me the push to try to get some vegan and GF recipes in my diet!

  27. Michal says

    I swapped the veggie stock with a Thai culinary stock sold at Wegmans, and was out of cumin and subbed in curry powder. added salt to taste and it was amazing.

  28. Leslie says

    I have a dairy intolerance, and have been “cheese-free” for over a year now. I just wanted to say “thank you” – Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this recipe because – OMG – it totally satisfied that cheese craving I have had for the past year! I ate two huge plates of it – I was so full, I thought I would have to roll myself away from the table. It is honestly one of the best dishes – ever! I can’t stop talking about it. I even shared it on Facebook! The only thing is, I soaked too many cashews, so I am hoping I can save them for another recipe – and I also used too much pasta (12 oz instead of 10 oz) so it wasn’t as creamy looking as in your photos. But still – even my boyfriend who had been poo-pooing the recipe for a week (took me that long to convince him to let me make it) ate 3 plates and deemed it a winner. Thanks again!

    • Dana Shultz says

      haha, he was “poo pooing” the recipe. So funny! SO glad to hear you guys enjoyed this recipe. It’s literally one of my favorites to date! Thanks for sharing your experience. SO glad that it satisfied that deep down cheese craving you were having. Cheers!

    • Dana Shultz says

      Diced green chilies typically come in a can in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. But you can also buy green chilies and roast them yourself :D

  29. Elizabeth says

    I’m allergic to yeast… are there any alternatives to the nutritional yeast that I can use? I saw that people have suggested using miso in other recipes, but I’m allergic to soy as well.

    • Dana Shultz says

      Hmm, just use a lot of spices. That’s the only thing I can think of. If I think of something else. I’ll let you know!

  30. Kendell says

    I made this today, and it is amazing! Didn’t add the tortilla chips, though, which may be why I had to add quite a bit of salt to taste. I also served it wtih sriracha for some extra heat. Thank you for the awesome recipe!!

  31. Stephanie says

    Is there any way to use cashew butter instead of soaking cashews over night? Don’t have a blender :(

  32. says

    Love love this recipe! So simple, so cheesy, so good!! We’re making it again tonight….husband requested, so I know it’s just that good. Thanks Dana. I truly have a healthy obsession with your blog. ; )

  33. Jess says

    I’ve been cooking more lately instead of just eating frozen meals. I wanted to try this out, but was unsure about my cooking abilities (and my itty bitty old blender). But I just made this, and it turned out fabulously tasty! And now I’m excited to find more recipes that use cashews as a substitute. Thanks y’all!

  34. Emily Rose says

    Hi, do you think it would also work with cashew meal instead of whole cashews (I have cashew meal already in the cupboard)? When making cheese sauces I usually have a hard time getting the cashew meal to smooth out and it ends up somewhat gritty which I don’t like, the taste is there just not the texture, although I haven’t tried blending it. What do you think? This recipe will be my next attempt by the way :)

    • Dana Shultz says

      I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot! I’m sure it’s fine. Just don’t soak it for as long since it’s so fine. Then rinse it through a fine mesh strainer.

  35. Felicia says

    Okay, this looks AMAZING and I want to try it immediately! Only, I have a problem.

    I want to make this for me and the bf, but I hate cashews and he can’t eat them. Is there another nut that could be substituted? Or maybe a mix of sometimes like another nut and mashed potato or something? I’d really love to make this.

    Thanks!

  36. Lorissa says

    I just finished making this and it’s really great! Good flavor and texture. My 4 year old (who’s pretty picky) ate it up. Fantastic! Thanks so much for a delicious recipe!

  37. Emma says

    I made this today, and good lord was it wonderful! My non-vegan family ate it and all went back for seconds. I added the tortilla chips on top, and that combined with the green chilis had my sister calling it a “vegan Mexican bake” (I didn’t bother to tell her that it wasn’t actually baked; I’ll let her think I worked harder than I did). Definitely a winner, thank you!

  38. Alex says

    I was wondering why none of the vegan mac and cheese recipes I’ve tried had the right texture…it’s all about soaking the cashews! GENIUS.
    and the texture of this sauce is PERFECT.

  39. Jacquie says

    Could I omit the green chiles? I know my fiancé won’t even try it if there is anything green! Can I add something else to still give it a spice/kick!?

  40. Sherry (BTLover2) says

    This was delicious! Every single recipe I have ever made from your site has been incredible! My Pinterest board is filled with your recipes. Every time I pin one, I laugh and think, “Of course it’s from Minimalist Baker!” The photos and the food — so darn fabulous!!

  41. caitlin says

    I’m an enormous Minimalist Baker AND vegan mac fan, but this was just a big thumbs down. It was the kind of recipe where I blended everything and then kept returning to the recipe to see what I must have left out ’cause it had to be missing something to be as bland as it was. I’ve had enormous luck with mac recipes from The PPK and Isa Does It, so I’ll probably stick to those in order to save my cash in cashews.

  42. Olemarlese says

    Looking forward to making this tomorrow.
    I’m curious though, why did you leave out the miso paste used in isachandras?
    I find that it has a really cheasy flavor on it’s own (tastes like fondue) and the recipe could propably benefit from it.
    Just asking if there is a specific reason why I should avoid it?

  43. says

    I really want to make this, but we just found out our daughter is allergic to nuts (Especially cashews. I know, I’m devastated). Do you think sunflower seeds could work in place of the cashews?

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