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Vegan Taco Mac and Cheese

Chloe Coscarelli mac and cheese
Mike Smith / TODAY
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

This recipe is hearty with a capital H! It’s kind of like a cross between tacos and mac and cheese — make it for your hungriest friends and family members and dare them to say vegan food isn’t filling! The first time my roommate and I made this, afterward, we were so full that we said we would never eat again. Obviously, the next night, we craved it and made it again!

Technique tip: Blending nuts with water is a technique I use often to make luscious, dairy-free creams that serve as a base for sauces, soups or desserts. If you have a high-powered blender, you can blend your nuts raw without any kind of soaking. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you can try using them raw, but if you have trouble, soak the nuts overnight or in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain them before blending. This will soften them and ensure a silky-smooth cream once blended.

Swap option: You can use gluten-free macaroni in this dish. 


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups raw cashews (see tip)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving



Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Place the beans and corn in a large colander in the sink. Drain the pasta on top of the beans and corn, and return everything to the pot.


Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the water, cashews, nutritional yeast, agave, salt, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cayenne. Blend on high speed for about 2 minutes, until very smooth. Add the cashew sauce, tomatoes with their juices, and jalapeños to the pot with the noodles. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. If the sauce gets too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.


Top each serving with chives and smoked paprika and serve with a lime wedge.

Reprinted with permission from "Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan" by Chloe Coscarelli.