Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

If you’re on the lookout for a delicious and hearty dish that caters to both your comfort food cravings and your commitment to a vegan lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place. Our Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a delightful twist on the classic mac and cheese, and it’s perfect for those seeking a comforting, plant-based meal. But don’t be fooled by its dairy-free and vegan status – this mac and cheese is incredibly creamy and packed with rich flavors that will leave you coming back for seconds. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps to create this savory delight, provide some handy tips and shortcuts, offer variations, and even suggest some food pairings to complement this dish.


Who Is This Recipe For?

This Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a versatile recipe suitable for a variety of dietary preferences and occasions. It’s ideal for:


  • Vegans and vegetarians looking for a cheesy pasta dish without any animal products.
  • Those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies.
  • Anyone who wants to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet.
  • Families seeking a kid-friendly and nutritious meal.
  • Those in search of a comforting and indulgent meal for a cozy night in.


Why Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Is Great

  1. Creamy and Indulgent

This mac and cheese is all about the creaminess. The blend of roasted pumpkin (or butternut squash), cashews, nutritional yeast, and other seasonings creates a luscious sauce that’s remarkably similar to traditional mac and cheese.


  1. Nutrient-Packed

Pumpkin (or butternut squash) is not only a tasty addition but also a nutritional powerhouse. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, making this mac and cheese a healthier alternative.


  1. Easy to Customize

While this recipe is fantastic as is, you can easily customize it to suit your taste. Add your favorite veggies, some vegan protein, or a sprinkle of breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping.


  1. Perfect for Leftovers

This mac and cheese reheats beautifully, making it a great option for meal prep. Prepare a batch and enjoy it for a few days, whether it’s for lunch or dinner.


Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of making this delightful dish.



Before you get started, here’s what you’ll need:


For the Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese:

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin (aka “pie pumpkin”), or 1 small butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds or 1 kg)
  • Olive oil or avocado oil, for roasting
  • 1/2 cup (~60g) raw cashews, soaked in cool water overnight or for 1 hour in boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (40g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional but adds a nice sharp tangy flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (can substitute ground, but the flavor is much better with fresh)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt + more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mellow white or yellow miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour or cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (240mL) canned “lite” coconut milk
  • 10 ounces (280g) of rigatoni pasta, medium-sized macaroni shells, or pasta of your choice


For Roasting the Pumpkin or Squash:

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin (aka “pie pumpkin”), or 1 small butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds or 1 kg)
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper


Kitchen Equipment

  • Sharp knife
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil
  • High-powered blender (unless cashews are soaked overnight)
  • Large saucepan
  • Steamer rack or Instant Pot for steaming (if preferred)
  • Colander



Preparing the Pumpkin or Butternut Squash

  1. Use a sharp knife to slice the pumpkin or butternut squash in half.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits using a spoon.
  3. Drizzle the pumpkin or squash halves with a bit of olive oil or avocado and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven at 425°F (or 218°C) for 30-40 minutes until completely tender and lightly browned. Once done, let them cool, scoop out the flesh, and discard the skin.


Cooking the Pasta

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add salt generously.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the box directions until al dente.
  3. Drain the pasta in a colander.


Making the Cheese Sauce

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the roasted pumpkin or squash flesh, soaked and drained cashews, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutmeg, kosher salt, black pepper, miso paste, tapioca flour or cornstarch, lemon juice, and lite coconut milk.
  2. Blend until the sauce is completely smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly, adding more salt as needed, more miso paste for more umami, or more lemon juice for more acidity.


Combining the Sauce and Pasta

  1. Return the cooked and drained pasta to the saucepan.
  2. Add the cheese sauce and heat over medium heat until the sauce is well combined with the pasta and warmed through.
  3. Season the mac and cheese to taste.



  • If you’re in a hurry, you can use canned pumpkin puree (1 1/2 cups) instead of roasting or steaming the pumpkin or squash.
  • For a smoother sauce, soak the cashews overnight if you don’t have a high-powered blender.
  • To make “lite” coconut milk, mix 2 parts water with 1 part of canned full-fat coconut milk, then measure out 1 cup (240 mL) of the mixture.



Q: Can I make this dish gluten-free?

A: Absolutely! Simply substitute gluten-free pasta for the regular pasta, and ensure your miso paste is gluten-free.


Q: What can I add to this mac and cheese to make it heartier?

A: You can add sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or even vegan sausage for extra texture and flavor.


Q: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store any leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of coconut milk to maintain the creaminess.


Food and Drink Pairings

Pair this Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with a fresh green salad and a glass of crisp white wine for a delightful and balanced meal. The acidity of the wine complements the creaminess of the mac and cheese beautifully.


Our Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a fantastic addition to your plant-based recipe collection. It’s creamy, indulgent, and full of flavor, making it a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike. Give it a try and savor the goodness of this comforting dish. And if you love it as much as we do, don’t forget to share the recipe with your friends and family and subscribe to our blog for more delicious, plant-based creations. Enjoy!

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