Cajun Mac and Cheese made with a zesty, easy cashew cheese sauce. Use gluten-free pasta shells or macaroni for a completely gluten-free and vegan pasta recipe.
I've probably said this every year, but when Mardi Gras season breaks out in New Orleans, a serious fear of missing out creeps up on me.
So, with my nostalgia kicking in hard lately, I've been making do with the flavors of my favorite city. Rich, comforting, and spicy foods abound there, and this lightened-up dairy-free and gluten-free mac and cheese fit right in.
Vegan Gluten-Free Cajun Mac and Cheese Ingredients
With better ingredients (see ya heavy cream!) and some plant-based substitutes, you don't have to forgo a creamy texture or flavor. Here's what you'll need:
- sweet potato (white or orange)
- raw cashews
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- Cajun seasoning
- gluten-free pasta
When it comes to the type of sweet potato to use, I've made this with both the white and orange variety. I like the lighter hue that the white sweet potato gives the cashew cheese sauce, but ultimately either one works great.
Customize Your Mac and Cheese
At its core, this Cajun mac and cheese recipe is a delicious vegetarian and vegan meal. But adding vegetables or protein of choice (vegan options or animal protein), makes it even more versatile.
So, whether you are looking for dairy-free mac and cheese, a vegetarian mac and cheese, or a vegan mac and cheese option, this one is for you.
And speaking of the magic of sweet potatoes, Erin's easy roasted sweet potatoes would make for a delicious addition to any weeknight meal!
More Recipes for Mardi Gras
Gluten-Free Bananas Foster Waffles
Cajun Mac and Cheese (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Cajun Mac and Cheese
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 package gluten-free shells or macaroni noodles 12 oz
- 2 cups cooked sweet potato (white or orange variety) about 1 large
- ¾ cup water
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ¾ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- couple pinches cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Hot sauce
- Green peppers
- Andouille sausage (vegan, chicken, or pork) cooked
- Shrimp cooked
- Place your raw cashews in a high powered blender. Cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain and return cashews to blender.
- Bring a Dutch oven or large saucepan of water to a boil and prepare your pasta as directed on package.
- While your pasta is cooking, add cooked sweet potato, ¾ cup water, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to the blender. Blend, eventually on high, until mixture is smooth. Add a bit more water, if necessary.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to the saucepan. Pour cashew cheese sauce mixture over pasta. Stir to combine. Add additional salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning as desired. If adding optional mix-in's, turn heat to low, add to pot, and allow them to warm, up to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat low as too much heat will cause your sauce to thicken and lose its creamy quality.
- Serve warm. Drizzle with hot sauce if desired.
How many ounces is 1 package of shells or macaroni? You can buy them in 8 or 16 oz. so I am not sure how much you made for this Cajun Mac and Cheese recipe. Thanks.
Hi Deena - great question, thank you. I used 12oz box of shells (Jovial brand). 8 0z would work great too, just even creamier!