Nacho Mac and Cheese Casserole with Taco Tempeh ‘meat’. Vegan Recipe

Vegan Nacho Mac and Cheese Casserole with Taco Tempeh meat | Vegan Richa

One evening, hubbs gets home as usual very hungry and sees the casserole ready to eat. I hand him a medium sized helping. He starts off with mmm it looks funny with those chips.. after 2 bites.. mmmm, interesting.. It does taste like nachos, but theres the pasta in it.. so I am confused or rather my tastebuds are confused.. mmmm interesting… mmmmmmm this is amazing.. (huge spoon fulls in).. mmmmmmmmm, can I have another helping? .. lets add more of those jalapenos.. mmmm mmmm.. this is awesome.. AAWwesome! Is there anymore left..mmm mm. gobble .. gobble..

One word.. Make it :) I mean seriously, this is a filling one pot deliciousness that you have to eat to believe. I just had to have my mac with the nacho cheese and all the fix-ins and make it into one delicious and healthy meal:)

You can also put this whole thing on a pizza! or in sloppy burgers. There is just so much flavor going on in the dish. The sauce tastes like Nacho cheese. There is layers of Mac in Nacho cheese sauce, Tempeh taco/nacho meat, salsa, cheddar, more Mac and cheese, chips, jalapenos. Lets hear it for a Nacho Mac and Cheese Casserole.

Those chips look funny but they actually work well to slow you down.. When you eat a bite with a chip you think snack and slow down, else you will want to finish the whole helping without stopping. You can omit the chips or other layers. The cheese sauce and tempeh meat are amazing by themselves. 

You dont need the Daiya cheddar in this casserole. The cheese sauce has enough Nacho cheesy flavor profile. And no fear, there will soon be a melty stringy Nacho cheese cheese on the blog. 
Without the Daiya and Chips, this Casserole is refined oil-free. It can be made Gluten-free by using glutenfree pasta and replacing the flour in the sauce with a gf flour or more cashew flour. 

You can add some cauliflower in the cheese sauce like this Mac and Cheese.
For more bakes, pastas and such see the Collection here.

In other news, if you missed the crazy pinning frenzy(see the pin counts on them posts!), it is because of Vegnews featuring my Lentil and Cauliflower Burger in their Awesome things to do with Cauliflower Roundup here.
And my Roasted butternut, Sriracha Mayo Sandwich in Must eat Spicy round up here. 😀 I think I should keep making them burgers:) Thanks for the features Vegnews! and Thank you to everyone who made the burgers and loved them:)) me = super happy!

Virtual Vegan Potluck(VVP) sign up is now open. If you can cook vegan, want to connect with a bunch of awesome bloggers and win some prizes doing so.. Sign up here!


Mix everything for the Tempeh Nacho meat and cook covered for 25 minutes. Also in another pan boil the water to cook the Macaroni.

Chop up, gather and Add the cheese sauce ingredients to the blender.

Blend away until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and spice.

By this time the Mac must be cooked. Strain and add the cheese sauce to it. Mix and let sit. The heat for the pasta will thicken the sauce a bit.

In a casserole dish, layer the Mac and cheese. The tempeh should be almost done by now. Or take a break, play with your dog, eat some chips, and make some Salsa.

Then layer the cooked Tempeh filling.

Layer with Salsa.

then Daiya cheddar.

then more mac and cheese

then corn chips and pickled Jalapenos. Humor me.

Layer with more Daiya cheddar.

Bake for 25 odd minutes. Let cool for a few and dig.

Vegan Nacho Mac and Cheese Casserole

Nacho Mac and Cheese Casserole
Allergen Information: Dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free. Can be made Gluten-free, oil-free, corn-free, soy-free.
Makes a 8.5 by 6.5 inch casserole dish
Prep+cook 60 minutes. Serves 3-4

Cheese Sauce:
1/4 cup Cashew flour(ground raw Cashew)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
1-2 roasted/canned pimiento or roasted 1/2 red bell pepper
1 roasted Jalapeno(optional)
1/2 medium tomato chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons onion flakes or a 1 teaspoon onion powder
3-4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper flakes(optional)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil(optional)

Tempeh Nacho/Taco “meat”:
4 oz tempeh crumbled
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons liquid aminos or tamari
1 tomato chopped or 2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 tsp salt
(Or you can use salt, tomato paste and taco seasoning mix to add to tempeh+water)

1 cup dry Macaroni pasta

1/2 cup Salsa of choice(or chopped roma tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, salt and lime juice)
Corn chips
Pickled Jalapenos
Daiya Cheddar shreds

In a large pan, add crumbled tempeh, water and rest of the ingredients. Mix and cook covered on low-medium heat for 25 minutes or until dry. Stir twice in between. You can marinate the tempeh in the wet before cooking if you like for a deeper flavor.

Boil the water for the pasta and cook until al dente. 

Nacho Cheese Sauce:
Chop up the ingredients. 
Add to blender and blend until smooth. Mix the sauce into drained hot Macaroni pasta.

Layer the Mac and cheese.
Top with Tempeh Nacho meat. 
Top with Salsa. (Or top the chips with salsa later).
then some Daiya cheddar.
Add the remaining Mac and Cheese. 
Top with Chips, Jalapenos and cheese shreds.
Bake at 370 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.
Cool for a bit before serving.

To make Soy-free, use lentils to make the meat layer. Soak 1/2 cup dried brown/whole red lentils for 2 hours, and cook in 2 cups water, and the rest of the ingredients under Tempeh nacho meat, partially covered, until tender and almost dry. 
To make Gluten-free, use gf pasta and substitute flour with Cashew flour or gf flour.

This insane deliciousness is being shared at Ricki’s wellness weekend. Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesdays
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  1. says

    Richa, you amaze me at every post! This looks so damn good, and can I admit I would eat this for breakfast right now and not think twice about it? The cheese sauce looks especially yummy.

  2. says

    richa, you just keep getting more and more amazing! this is unbelievably fabulous! where do you think of this stuff?! this casserole is like a dream.

  3. says

    You are amazing Richa- Vegnews Round ups are well deserved Chica! This looks exactly like my kind of casserole I am a sucker for anything slightly Tex Mex – and you had me sold with the layer of vegan mac & nacho cheezy goodness :)

  4. says

    I never had baked macaroni and cheese growing up, let alone such a radically creative casserole. It’s what boring, average mac and cheese wishes it could be! Take about a totally loaded dish.

  5. says

    What a fun twist on two different classics!! Love your creativity, and your photos look so beautiful that I’m not surprised your husband asked for seconds!

  6. says

    Where do you come up with this stuff, Richa! I mean, wow! I totally need to make this the next time I have potluck with omnis- this is the sort of thing they would go crazy over! :-)

  7. says

    I had this for dinner and my husband had three servings and asked me if he could have the leftover for his lunch tomorrow!
    Thank you awesome recipe!

  8. says

    Such a clever idea – I can totally see how well this would work. Mac and cheese always makes me very happy. I’m still a little leery of tempeh, but I have a sneaking suspicion this is what tempeh’s made for!

    • says

      Hi Anna, the sauce might not thicken and dry out as much during baking, but the taste will not be affected. :) You can add a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot starch in the sauce for thickening if you want. I’d say try it without the starch. I hope you all like it!

  9. says

    Hi Anna, the sauce might not thicken and dry out as much during baking, but the taste will not be affected. :) You can add a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot starch in the sauce for thickening if you want. I’d say try it without the starch. I hope you all like it!

  10. moomoo says

    This casserole is very rich and truly counts as comfort food! I doubled the recipe, in part to use a whole package of tempeh , and also because your recipes disappear too quickly if I only make the base amount. Sure enough this is the first time I have enjoyed tempeh! It tasted good even before I layered it in with the casserole, which is nothing short of a miracle in my book. I added a little cumin to your mix to mimic taco seasoning. Baked in a 9×9 pan. Added the chips after baking because I wasn’t sure if they would burn.

    Used only 1/4 C cashews as I didn’t have 1/2 C and added 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour as a sub. Perhaps could have used less of the arrowroot and/or flour as the casserole held together very well! I also had to use tomato paste in the cheese sauce as we are out of tomatoes. Did not use the oil or Daiya and didn’t miss them as this dish was truly bursting with flavor.

    Do you think chickpea flour could act as a sub for the regular flour? Since I already made 2 other substitutions I didn’t want to modify the recipe any further.

    • says

      Awesome! I love the tempeh filling in this and yes cumin definitely adds a wonderful flavor.
      In general if i use chickpea flour. i cook the sauce over stove top before using, because if the chickpea flour doesnt cook through well during baking, the sauce will taste bitter and you cant fix it any which way. You can use regular flour (white flour) or any starch to thicken if needed. the sauce will thicken considerably during baking even with less cashews or less starch.

      • moomoo says

        Thank you for explaining! I have a bunch of chickpea flour that I want to use but I will find another use (I know you have many recipe options!). I have been making Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s tofu mini omelets and using them instead of tofu paneer in Indian dishes, but that recipe only uses a half cup of the flour. In other news, that double batch of your casserole disappeared in a flash!

        • says

          yay! awesome! you can make chickpea tofu with all chickpea flour as well. or chickpea flour frittata or omelets. frittata and omelet recipes are on the blog. i’ll do a post on chickpea tofu soon.

  11. moomoo says

    Oh my goodness, I just realized that I forgot to add the almond milk to the cheese sauce! Can’t believe it. That explains why my sauce was so thick! It was delicious, but next time I will try with the almond milk.


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