Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce

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This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Served with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes, each bite ends up being an explosion of flavor.

This recipe is part of a Virtual Pumpkin Party hosted by Sara from Cake Over Steak. So if you love pumpkin, you need to hop on over to this page and check out all the other recipes. Jump to Recipe

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

Words Hard, Ugh

Words are hard right now. I write a sentence and it sounds odd to me, I can’t get my thoughts down on paper, and I become frustrated. Which is ironic because this recipe came together for me with very little effort.

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

I threw stuff in the blender and it worked. Ta-da. I honestly wasn’t expecting much because it was all about using what needed to go in the fridge and not going hungry.

Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

By itself, the vegan pumpkin cheese sauce is a little underwhelming and nothing pops. It’s actually almost like a concentrate: it really needs to be added to something for it to shine.

Adding it to freshly cooked pasta and tossing in some basil leaves transforms it. Suddenly it’s creamy, bright, and flavorful. I dare you to stop trying to pop sauce-covered shells of pasta into your mouth.

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

Originally this post was only going to be a vegan pumpkin cheese sauce recipe. The first time I used the sauce, I put it on some pasta, added diced veggies that were looking sad, and it was a big hit.

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

For pictures though, I decided there needed to be some pops of color. Nothing pops better than cherry tomatoes, and I had a couple of cups from my garden that needed to be used. Instead of just using them as a prop, I decided to skin and slow roast them in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

I finally got fed up of not eating the tomatoes from my garden. Tomato skins are really hard for me to digest. By taking time to skin them, I can eat them without having to worry about digestive struggles. Plus, the slow roasted tomatoes almost turn into a savory sweet jam without their skins.

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com

I placed them on top of the pasta, took the pictures, and then dug in. And instantly knew I had to include them in the recipe. Getting a slow roasted cherry tomato and a pasta shell covered in the sauce is pure umami magic.

Happy #virutalpumpkinparty!!!

5 from 2 votes

Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Served with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes, each bite ends up being an explosion of flavor. 
Servings 6 to 8
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 55 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients

Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce

  • 1 large sugar pie pumpkin about 5 and 1/2 cups cubed roasted pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Morton Kosher Salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Morton Kosher Salt, to taste

Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta shells
  • 4 liters water
  • 8 teaspoons Morton Koser Salt
  • 2 cups Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce, or to taste
  • 4 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce (10 minutes prep + 40 minutes cook)

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • Cut the stem off the pumpkin and then split the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  • Lay the pumpkin halves face down on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Cut the pumpkin into wedges and then trim the skin off with a paring knife. Cut into cubes. You should have 5 to 5 and 1/2 cups.
  • Blend everything together in a high-speed blender on high until hot (about 5 to 7 minutes). Use immediately or allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (15 minutes prep + 60 minutes cook)

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Toss the cherry tomatoes in for two seconds, and then drain. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and run cold water over them. 
  • Pierce the top of the tomato with a small paring knife and then peel back the skin. Discard the skins and place the tomatoes in a bowl. 
  • Toss the skinned tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. 
  • Pour the tomatoes onto the baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring once midway through. Keep roasting until the tomatoes start to get wrinkly and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar start thickening up. Place on the top rack and broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly blackened and the sauce has thickened.

Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce (15 minutes cook)

  • Bring the water and salt to boil. Add the pasta shells and cook for about 11 minutes, until al dente. 
  • If you made the Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce beforehand, microwave it until hot. 
  • Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water. 
  • Toss the pasta into a large skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/2 cup of the reserved water into the pasta and stir. Add 2 cups of the Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce and the basil leaves and stir until combined. 
  • Serve with a side of the roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. 

Notes

The Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is great to make ahead of time and use throughout the week. The cherry tomatoes can also be made on a different day and is a great way to preserve tomatoes if you aren't able to eat them fast enough. 
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Main Dishes

This Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce is so creamy and cheesy tasting, people will ask what kind of cheese you used. Serve with a side of slow roasted cherry tomatoes for an explosion of flavor. | #pumpkin #vegan | www.megiswell.com</div/

Join the Conversation

  1. Hello Megan walls,
    this is beautiful I’ve never tried a vegan mac and cheese. I should be more adventurous- I eat far too much cheese!!!! And I need to use whole pumpkins instead of canned- I love th and i love virtual potlucks, its lovely recipe

    1. I know what you mean! It took me a long time to finally try vegan cheese sauces because I’m a cheese addict, but I ended up loving them. Thanks so much Prabhanshi!

  2. How does the sauce freeze? Because the sauce recipe makes more than double what the 1lb if pasta uses I’d love to freeze it in 1lb portions!

    1. I like the way you think Kristine! I’ve never frozen the sauce myself but I can make a guess that it will freeze just fine. I’ve frozen homemade pumpkin puree many times with excellent results. Also, since there’s no cream, milk, or cheese, which can separate when frozen, it should freeze well.

  3. This sounds lovely and that color is too pretty. Thanks for sharing!

  4. i’ve never used cashew milk before, so that sounds interesting! and love the addition of roasted tomatoes; on a huge roasted tomato kick over here, since tomatoes aren’t that great at the moment.

    1. Cashew milk is my favorite! It’s creamy tasting but very light. The only thing I don’t like to use it for is lattes because it doesn’t foam at all. And right?! Roasting tomatoes make even the sad ones taste good!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried a vegan mac and cheese. I should be more adventurous- I eat far too much cheese!!!! And I need to use whole pumpkins instead of canned- I love this!

    1. Trust me, I’m addicted to cheese. But it’s nice to have really tasty cheese-free options that taste good too. I sometimes wish I would just give in and use canned pumpkins but for some reason, I gag whenever I open a can, so I’ve always used whole pumpkins. Lol, I think it’s a texture thing?

  6. This looks bright and beautiful — and cozy too! Lovely photos. Happy pumpkin party!

    1. Thank you, Sonja!

  7. I love the sound of this vegan pumpkin cheese sauce! And the pasta with cherry tomatoes and this sauce looks delicious!

    1. I’m a huge fan of vegan pumpkin cheese sauces now! I’ve tried a couple different recipes and they’ve all been big hits.

  8. This is such a gorgeous pasta dish! I looove the addition of roasted tomatoes- they definitely add the perfect pop of flavor and color. This pumpkin party is always so fun for discovering new food bloggers and I am soo happy to have found you this year! Love your style + your photography <3

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Ruby! I’m still making my way through the list and I love all the new bloggers I’m discovering. Thanks so much!

  9. Not only are the colors beautiful in this dish, but it’s also an explosion of flavors! Roasting brings out the best in veggies, I think! The roasted tomatoes combined with the creamy pumpkin cheese sauce sound wonderful.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Wendy! My favorite part of fall is roasting all my veggies.

  10. 5 stars
    There’s nothing better than packing your mac n cheese with veggies! Creamy and delicious and nutrient dense! Hooray for the #virtualpumpkinparty!

    1. I like the way you think Emily! It’s really the best way possible to enjoy comfort food!

  11. I have to do a lot of word smithing when I write. I tend to start off by brain dumping everything that is in my head (which is usually a lot since my brain is constantly racing and my mouth and fingers can never keep up). I then spend a considerable amount of time finessing the words until they come together into a story of sorts.

    But. . .it’s okay if you never get to this point because these photos speak better than any words could anyhow. And can we talk about how much I adore those roasted tomatoes perched on top of this beautiful pile of mac and cheese? It makes for such a lovely contrast. . .and definitely pays homage to the colors of fall.

    1. Thanks, Lynn, lol I definitely decided to just let the pictures do the work this time. Hopefully, I’ll get my groove back soon and finessing sentences will no longer seem like punishment.

  12. Haha umami magic! Loving it. This dish looks incredible! You’re right–those pops of color are striking. Happy #virtualpumpkinparty! xoxo

    1. Thanks, Kelsey! Happy #virtualpumpkinparty!

  13. OMG, this recipe looks absolutely divine! I can’t say I’ve ever tried a vegan pasta before – I’m usually all about my cheese – but I don’t think I can resist this one, it just looks so creamy and heavenly. And those pictures – love them! The pop of color from the cherry tomatoes is a piece of art in itself.

    And I thought I was the only one who had trouble eating cherry tomato skins – so glad to know I’m not! I am SO GLAD your recipe actually includes steps on taking off the skins – now I have no hesitations about making this at all! I will definitely let you know how it goes once I do get around to it 😉

    1. I’m usually all about my cheese too, but every once in a while I like to treat myself to some healthier comfort food. I thought maybe I was the only one bothered by cherry tomato skins so I’m glad you appreciate the directions on how to take the skins off!

  14. pumpkin cheese sauce?! YUM. I could cozy up with this mac and cheese and netflix and be totally happy. 🙂

    1. You basically described yesterday to me!

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