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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mac and Cheese with Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
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
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.
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.