Vegan Mac and Cheese: Idaho® Potatoes are the Secret in the Sauce!

« Back | Print

This dairy-free comfort food incorporates a decadent Indian-inspired vegan sauce.

Eagle, Idaho, May 14, 2020 -- Who doesn’t love a bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese? This creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese from food blogger Tina Dawson at Love is in my Tummy combines Idaho® russet potatoes, raw cashews and non-dairy milk to create a rich, reduced fat cheeseless sauce while maintaining the texture of “real” cheese. The sauce includes a variety of healthy ingredients like onions, carrots, garlic, nutritional yeast, turmeric and olive oil, giving it a savory Indian-inspired flavor profile.

This dish gets a spicy kick from the curried breadcrumb topping made with jalapeños, olive oil, thyme, panko-style breadcrumbs, curry powder and salt. If you’re meal planning, the sauce can be refrigerated for up to three days and the breadcrumbs will keep up to a week if stored in a clean, dry container. Your family will never want to go back to store-bought macaroni and cheese brands again!


For the sauce

  • 1 medium Idaho® russet potato (5 ounces), peeled and chopped
  • 1 small carrot (1.5 ounces), peeled and chopped
  • 2.8 ounces raw cashews
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Pinch of ground turmeric

For the pasta

  • 9 ounces dry macaroni pasta (penne or rigatoni can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste (optional)

For the curried breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeño, chopped finely
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ½ cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • Pinch of salt


Make the sauce

  1. Bring a small saucepan full of water to a rolling boil. Add the chopped potatoes and carrots. Cook until soft.
  2. Turn off heat, add the raw cashews and let sit for 5 minutes, or until the cashews soften.
  3. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, and drain the rest.
  4. Add cooked vegetables and cashews to a blender, along with the ½ cup of reserved water, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice.
  5. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the chopped onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt and ground turmeric, until soft. Reserve a ¼ cup of this mixture.
  6. Add onions to the mixture in the blender and process until smooth, scraping down the sides, if necessary. Set aside.

Cook the pasta

  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the dried macaroni and salt. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the pasta is soft.
  3. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water, and drain the rest.

Make the curried breadcrumb topping

  1. While the pasta is cooking, make the breadcrumb topping.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a clean frypan. Add the chopped jalapeños and thyme sprigs.
  3. Sauté until the jalapeños begin to brown.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add the breadcrumbs, curry powder and salt. Sauté until the breadcrumbs are crisp and brown, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer the curried breadcrumbs to a small serving bowl. Set aside.


In the same skillet, add the drained pasta, reserved sautéed onions and pour over the sauce. Stir to combine, adding as much sauce as you prefer. If the sauce is too thick, use as much pasta cooking water as you need to dilute it. Bring it to a slow simmer over medium heat.
Taste and adjust seasoning, adding nutmeg and/or ground black pepper to taste.
Transfer to serving bowls, top generously with the curried breadcrumbs and enjoy immediately.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. While reheating, you may need to add a little water to make the sauce smooth again.

For more vegan recipes like this visit the Idaho® Potato website.

About the Idaho Potato Commission

Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil, give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance. These ideal growing conditions are what differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states. For more information, visit