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Quick Vegan Cheesy Pasta (Mac ‘n’ Cheese With Broccoli)

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This quick vegan cheesy pasta is so deliciously cheesy and super quick to prepare. A sure-fire mid-week family favourite for those busy days when fuss-free, wholesome one-pot meals are essential.

This dish is commonly known as mac an cheese in the US whereas over here in the UK its better known as macaroni cheese or cheesy pasta.

Enjoy as a stand-alone-meal or as a side dish as part of a veggie Thanksgiving, Christmas or other special dinner.

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Quick vegan cheesy pasta served in white bowl with green flower background.

Quick Origins of Mac And Cheese

A recipe for cheese and pasta has been located way back in history to a 14th Century medieval English cookbook titled  The Forme of Cury where pasta was combined with butter and cheese.

Although it wasn’t until 1769 that the first recorded recipe that best resembled todays mac and cheese was found in Elizabeth Raffold’s book The Experienced English Housekeeper.

Raffold’s recipe has the macaroni pasta mixed with a béchamel sauce, sprinkled with cheese and then baked in the oven until golden.

Nowadays cheesy pasta or mac an cheese are popular everyday meals in the UK, Europe, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Two bowls filled with cheesy pasta, wooden board background, circular chopping board with onion bread, and blue stock pot with cheesy pasta in to the side.
Serve with your favourite bread. Above I prepared a vegan red onion and garlic focaccia bread. The dough was prepared in my bread machine before being baked in the oven while the cheesy pasta cooked.

Quick Vegan Cheesy Pasta Or Mac And Cheese

Preparing this vegan cheesy pasta or mac and cheese is a really simple affair that involves just one pot and less than half an hour.

First the pasta is added to a pan along with the chopped broccoli. I like to use the broccoli stalks and any leaves attached. The stalks just need peeling, to remove the tough outer layer, and diced up rather similar to how you would dice carrots. My kids really enjoy eating the stalks and my daughter terms them broccoli carrots.

Next the plant milk and veggie stock is poured over the broccoli, and a few teaspoons of garlic and onion powder mixed through. Using dried powdered varieties of garlic and onion adds lots of flavour as well as saving time chopping.

The pasta-broccoli mix is brought to a simmer and cooked for however long the pasta needs to cook to al dente. Cooking for a minute or two less than the pasta packet directions helps prevent overcooking.

Once the pasta is cooked the pan is removed from the heat. Nutritional yeast flakes, vegan shredded cheese, white miso paste and an extra half cup of plant milk is mixed through to create the cheesy sauce.

The white miso paste adds so much flavour and contributes to the tasty cheesiness and saltiness. White miso paste can be found in Asda supermarkets within the UK, or within most wholefood stores, or online stores such as Amazon.

Finally the cheesy pasta is seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, and garnished with sliced spring or green onions.

It’s that simple and easy. And my kids absolutely adore this meal especially served with a chunk of vegan garlic bread.

How To Prepare Vegan Cheesy Pasta

Mac and cheese served with sliced green onions and red onion bread on wooden board, silver fork in bowl.
Serve with sliced green/spring onions for a tasty, fresh onion flavour.

Recipe Notes And FAQS

How do I store leftover cheesy pasta?


Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the fridge for 3 days.

I have not tried freezing this dish as my kids never leave leftovers or if they do the leftovers never make it past the first day! However, I would think that freezing would be fine for up to 3-4 months.

How do I reheat leftover cheesy pasta?


Place leftovers in a pan with extra liquid such as water, stock or plant milk enough to loosen up the sauce. Bring to a simmer and reheat for 2-3 minutes until piping hot. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Or enjoy chilled straight from the fridge as a snack which is what my daughter often does.

Can I substitute any of the cheesy pasta ingredients?


* broccoli can be subbed for kale, spinach, celery, peas, leeks, cabbage, asparagus, broad beans, etc. Just think anything green!

* or simply omit the broccoli and prepare the cheesy pasta without a green vegetable.

* replace the vegan grated cheese for vegan soft cream cheese

* use fresh diced onion or/and fresh minced garlic instead of dried

* sub out the spring/green onions for parsley, chives, dill or basil

Is vegan mac and cheese suitable for gluten-free diets?


Absolutely. With just a few considerations this meal can be suitable for gluten-free diets.

First choose a gluten-free macaroni or pasta shape. Use a gluten-free stock and gluten-free white miso. Although white miso is generally free from gluten but it is best to check.

Can I add anything extra to mac and cheese?


* as per a traditional mac an cheese you can bake the finished cheesy pasta. Scoop the cheesy pasta into a casserole dish. Add a little extra plant-milk to loosen up the sauce. Top with extra vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Sprinkle over some whole-wheat breadcrumbs and bake until crispy and golden. Some sliced tomatoes over the top is a yummy addition.

* a cup of sweet or garden peas, canned or frozen is fine

* a cup of frozen or canned sweetcorn

* 1/2 a cup of edamame or broad beans, canned, fresh or frozen

* 1 sliced leek

* diced courgette/zucchini

* 1/2- 3/4 tsp of turmeric gives a nice colour to the sauce and helps bring a cheesy flavour

* a few scoops of vegan cream cheese mixed through before serving

* a tablespoon of vegan margarine or butter mixed through before serving

* chopped up vegan Quorn smoky ham or chicken slices

* vegan bacon bits

What can I serve with vegan cheesy pasta?


Nothing else needs served as this meal is filling and satisfying on its own. But if you need to get more portions out of this recipe then the cheesy pasta can be served as a side-dish or with accompaniments.

A few suggestions:

* crispy salad

* roast veggie traybake

* roast cherry tomatoes/tomatoes

* sautéed mushrooms

* steamed veggies

* sweet or white potato fries/chips/wedges

* baked potato either white or sweet

* veggie burger, vegan sausages, vegan sausage rolls, vegan pot pies

* vegan coleslaw

* vegan potato salad

* vegan garlic bread, or your favourite crusty bread

* breadsticks, crackers, cheesy crackers (vegan-friendly)

What can I do with leftover mac and cheese?


Lots of things!

A few ideas:

* use as a baked potato filling

* toast or grill a slice of your favourite bread and have a scoop of hot cheesy pasta served over, for a delicious quick lunch

* top a vegan carrot hotdog with leftovers. So tasty!

* add small dollops of mac and cheese to a pizza before baking.

* enjoy a mac and cheese toastie/grilled cheese sandwich

* mix a can of chopped tomatoes through leftover cheesy pasta and reheat, this is a great way to bulk out smaller amounts into several portions

* also got some leftover vegan chilli? mix it with leftover cheesy pasta and reheat for an instant chilli macaroni dinner

* have leftovers as a side-dish. Cheesy pasta is a tasty accompaniment to any dinner but especially so with a veggie burger, veggie hotdog, vegan sausage roll or vegan pot pie

* serve leftovers as a side to these tasty black bean, sweet potato and green lentil sloppy joes

Quick vegan cheesy pasta served in white bowl with green flower background.

Quick Vegan Cheesy Pasta

Print Recipe
This super quick and easy cheesy pasta meal is a family favourite packed with plant-based goodness and flavour. Perfect for fast, no-fuss mid-week dinners.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, British
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4
Calories 620
Author Jacq

Equipment

  • Large non-stick saucepan

Ingredients

  • 400 grams macaroni pasta or your preferred shape/gluten-free pasta
  • 450 grams broccoli chopped into small florets, peel the stalk and dice, and chop any leaves.
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 700 ml plant-based milk
  • 1 litre vegan stock boiling, use 1 stock cube/2-3 teaspoons stock powder/paste or half water and half ready-made vegetable stock

Add after pasta cooked:

Optional

  • 4 spring onions/green onions sliced, or replace with a bunch of sliced chives

Instructions

  • Add the pasta, broccoli, garlic and onion powder to a large pan.
    Pour in the hot vegan stock and plant milk. Give everything a good stir and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer gently until the pasta is just cooked. Check pasta package for instructions.
  • Stir frequently to ensure the liquid doesn't stick to the pan.
  • Sprinkle in the nutritional yeast flakes and plant-based cheese. Add the white miso and pour in 125ml/ ½ a cup of plant milk. Stir well.
    Season with enough salt to bring all the flavours together. Add black pepper to taste.
  • If desired add extra plant milk to thin the sauce and heat through over a gentle heat. Stir to avoid burning.
  • Serve with sliced spring/green onions scattered over.

Notes

  • Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is run through computerized nutrition apps.
  • For less sodium choose a lower salt vegan stock.
  • The grated vegan cheese is optional and can be omitted.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, for up to 3 days, covered. 
  • Reheat leftovers by adding to a pan with some extra liquid such as water, plant milk or veggie stock to thin the thick sauce. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and stir frequently until piping hot.
  • Leftovers are tasty served with a baked potato and side salad. Or served over toasted/grilled bread for next day’s lunch. Although my daughter enjoys chilled cheesy pasta as a snack straight from the fridge.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 620kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 1011mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 1189IU | Vitamin C: 103mg | Calcium: 355mg | Iron: 5mg

12 thoughts on “Quick Vegan Cheesy Pasta (Mac ‘n’ Cheese With Broccoli)”

    1. Happy cooking! The beauty of this recipe is that it is so quick and can be the answer for a nutritious meal when you have little time or energy to think about what to have for dinner! And it is very satisfying!

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