Try this Spicy Vegan Cajun Mac and Cheese recipe made with an easy dairy-free cheese sauce. Topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown and crispy. Rich, comforting and seriously satisfying.
Did someone say Spicy Cajun Mac and Cheese ?!
It is no secret that I do love the Spicy Cajun Mac & Yease at Plum Bistro in Seattle. A lot of the other vegan dishes that I have tried are touch and go. Some days they are ridiculously interesting and good and some other days it is like a pre-made, half the things forgotten affair.
The Mac n Yease though has almost always been the same. Gooey, spicy, crispy and floating in a load of oil. As my Mom says, that much oil will make anything taste better. I respectfully disagree, Mom.
Though I really like eating their Cajun Mac and Cheese it leaves me with an uneasy tummy after a few minutes. And I always think that if I had to make this, I would definitely reduce the oil/fat a bit. I mean sure it is supposed to be an indulgence that you would normally not eat at home. But there is just so much oil in it.
So I decided to try my hand at a delicious vegan Spicy Cajun Mac and Cheese recipe. I do not have a copy of Makini’s cookbook (which has a smoky Mac recipe), so this came out after some research and trying some things.
Ingredients for this Vegan Cajun Mac and Cheese recipe:
- whole-wheat elbow pasta as a healthy alternative to white pasta. Whole-wheat pasta will keep you full for longer. Feel free to use chickpea pasta to up the protein content of this vegan mac and cheese recipe.
- mustard for some heat and tang. I love dijon mustard for this recipe!! I think it adds a really nice “cheesy” flavor to this vegan mac and cheese.
- red pepper flakes for some spice.
- soy sauce for some more umami. You could use tamari instead.
- bread crumb topping for that lovely crunch! Check out the tips section below for making your own breadcrumbs.
- Cajun seasoning – the spices in this vegan cheese sauce really make it!
- nutritional yeast – this ingredient is what apports the cheesy flavor to this dairy-free pasta sauce which is why I do NOT recommend leaving it out.
Tips and Substitutions for this Cajun Mac and Cheese:
- You can reduce the amount of oil further and also increase the amount of non-dairy milk (add 1/2 to 1 cup more) to get more of that delicious dairy-free cheese sauce and hence more servings.
- Plum’s restaurant version has a good amount of Daiya cheese, making it quite heavy. You can always add some, if you want but I wanted to keep the sauce lighter.
- This is a rather spicy mac and cheese recipe. Use the pepper flakes and cayenne to taste. It is delicious without the spice too.
- You can make your own breadcrumbs for this recipe which is easy and works great! Simply toast 3 thick-cut slices of white bread in your toasted or oven and then brake them into pieces. Put them into the blender and blitz them into breadcrumbs. Transferred the crumbs to a bowl and add some melted vegan butter. Toss them up with it and then place on top of the Cajun Mac and Cheese. You can use brown or whole wheat bread but white bread works best for this recipe.
How to make Spicy Vegan Cajun Mac and Cheese – Step by Step:
1. Roast the flour and oil, then add the hot almond milk and water and spices. Whisk into a smooth consistency.
2. Add al-dente elbows. Mix and take off the heat.
3. Fill the ramekins with the spicy Cajun mac and cheese. Add the bread crumb mixture on top. Drizzle EVOO or thin slices of Earth Balance vegan butter on top.
4. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Let sit in the oven for another few. Remove from Ramekin. Look at that crispiness.
Customize your Cajun Mac and Cheese:
This Cajun mac and cheese recipe is a delicious vegetarian and vegan comfort food meal. However, you can make this truly yours by adding any of these vegetables.
- sauteed mushrooms
- caramelized Onion
- shredded Carrots
- par-cooked broccoli or cauliflower florets
- beans (Pinto, Kidney, black)
What can I use instead of vegan butter or oil?
You can use dairy-free margarine for this mac and cheese recipe. Just read the ingredients of the margarine and find one that is truly dairy-free. If you want, you can also make your own homemade vegan butter and use that in this vegan mac and cheese recipe.
More Vegan Mac & Cheese recipes on the blog:
- Roasted Tomato Chipotle Mac and Cheese
- Vegan Mac and Cheese Powder
- Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Nacho Mac Casserole with Tempeh Taco Meat
- Korean Mac and Cheese
Somewhat Plum's Spicy Cajun Mac and Cheese
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- 1 1/4 cup (2.65 oz) uncooked pasta I used whole wheat Elbows
- 3 Tablespoons Oil I used 2 Tablespoons earth balance and 1 Tablespoon organic canola oil. You can reduce this to 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup (1.1 oz) unbleached white flour
- 1 cup (8.82 oz) almond milk or other non dairy-milk
- 1/2-2/3 cup (4.41 oz) water
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1-2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon italian herb blend oregano, parsley, basil, thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1.5 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
- 3-4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup (27 g) bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Boil a large pot of water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Add uncooked pasta. Cook till al-dente. Heat the almond milk and water till it starts to boil. Meanwhile, in a wide pan, add the oil and flour, mix and cook on medium heat until fragrant. 2-3 minutes.
- Add the hot milk+water to the flour oil mixture slowly. Keep whisking to avoid lumps. Even if there are lumps, they will dissolve as the mixture gets heated up. Add all of the spices, sauces, salt. Continue whisking until bubbly and the sauce is evenly smooth. Taste and adjust salt, spice. Add more garlic, mustard, nutritional yeast, or red pepper flakes if needed. Mix the mac pasta into the sauce and take off the heat after a minute. Cover the pasta and let rest for a few minutes.
- Serve as is or top with some Daiya pepper jack. Or Put some mac n cheese in small ramekins. Mix everything under topping and add a Tablespoon of the bread mixture on top of the pasta. Drizzle a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil(less or more to preference) or put a thin slice of earth balance butter on top.
- Broil for 2-4 minutes until the bread mixture turns golden brown. Let sit in the oven for another 2-3 minutes so the pasta gets heated through. Serve as is or remove from Ramekin and serve. The mac is already spicy, so u use pepper flakes in the bread topping to taste.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2019.
~Brain to Blog Wednesdays~
Brambling some of what goes on inside me head onto the blog, as a part of Vegan Month of Food. These are questions and statements from real discussions. Check out other QA sessions on Wednesday posts from this month.
I know everything about how the animals are treated. I just choose to live with it.
This is a tricky one. Most times the person saying this does Not know enough about how animals are treated. And when you do get into more details, there is a very high chance of being shut out. 99 times out of 100, I have been met with disbelief about male calves and male chicks being slaughtered because they are just a no use by-product of the dairy and egg industry.
I cannot associate with animals, hence cannot feel the compassion, hence all this information doesnt do anything.
Also, I cannot associate with “all” animals too, like alligators, snakes and the likes. But I know that each animal species is capable of experiencing a lot of emotions, pleasure, and pain at different levels.
So, I can understand the happiness and pain of our adopted companion dog Chewie. Equally, I can understand the happiness and pain of my husband and family. I can understand that the animals I cannot associate with, feel the same. I can understand that if I had to endure the pain and torture that the animals in the food or other animal exploitation industry go through, I would be distraught, broken, and begging to be freed or killed.
Here are a few videos to get you thinking.
Evolve Campaign video on Why Vegan – Not very Graphic. Its a slide show.
Bite Size Vegans V-logs. – mostly verbal.
If you’d really like to know Where the meat, dairy, eggs come from, please see a few videos from this list.