I know I promised you a recipe tonight, but this didn’t taste as good as it looked.  It was mehhh. 🙁


I was trying to create a dairy-less ‘macaroni and cheese’ combined with a baked cauliflower casserole recipe I saw in Runner’s World.


It was okay, but not tasty enough to share the recipe.  Something was just off.  Can you help?!


Here’s my made-up on the spot recipe (which didn’t work):  Combined 8 ounce cooked whole wheat pasta, stir-fried broccoli and cauliflower, 1 and 1/4 cups of nutritional yeast, 3/4 cup almond milk, an egg, some hot sauce, pepper, and rosemary; poured in casserole dish; topped with panko bread crumbs; and baked for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.


It was a little dry and overpoweringly nutritional-yeasty.  It just didn’t taste like my familiarly gooey macaroni and cheese (the Husband asked me to try to make a non-cheese option).  It was blah.


I had an awesome orange afterwards.  Loving the citrus lately.


Perhaps you all can help me tweak this recipe a bit?  Any advice to making the concept work without cheese?!



  • Anna March 27, 2011, 10:09 pm

    Angela- Oh She Glows- made a delicious looking non-cheese mac and cheese! She used a butternut squash sauce as the “cheese.” Sorry I do not have the link, but check out her site! (I believe she posted this only a week or two ago…)

    • Carolyn March 28, 2011, 8:20 am
      • Hannah Hawley March 28, 2011, 9:21 am

        That was one of the recipes I was going to recommend! OSG also makse a killer vegan alfredo! http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/03/quick-and-easy-vegan-alfredo/

        • Marie-Sophie March 28, 2011, 10:09 am

          😀 I immediately thought of Angela’s vegan mac&cheese – and the first comment already mentioned it! I highly second that – go for that vegan mac & cheeze, add a bit of vegan butter and don’t let it be in the oven for too long (or it will dry out, too) – I actually eat the sauce and pasta without baking it 🙂

        • Carolyn March 28, 2011, 1:53 pm

          Oh! I must try this soon! Thanks for sharing =)

      • Kristen March 28, 2011, 12:14 pm

        I was going to mention hers too! I think raw cashews added make a huge difference in the creamy-ness of the cheeze.

      • Angela (Oh She Glows) March 28, 2011, 1:28 pm

        Thanks ladies!

        My first guess was that it was too heavy with the nutritional yeast too. I find I can’t tolerate more than 1/2-3/4 cup in a mac n cheese recipe because its over powering. Also, I think the key is lots of seasonings, especially with vegan dishes. 🙂 Cauliflower sounds interesting though and Im sure it would make it creamy when blended! I’ll have to try that out.

        My fav so far is the b’nut squash version I made recently.

        • Hannah Hawley March 28, 2011, 2:01 pm

          I am not a vegan, not even an vegetarian, and I think your vegan mac and cheese rivals my Cabot Cheddar mac and cheese!

  • MorgzSyd March 27, 2011, 10:11 pm

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  • Vaala â—ª March 27, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I use this recipe (although I just put the ingredients for both the sauces in together rather than cooking them separately). We love it…

  • Sana March 27, 2011, 10:16 pm

    at least it looks good 🙂

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 27, 2011, 10:18 pm

    Maybe up the herbs to enhance the flavor. Or use some nut butter to add creaminess without a really sharp taste?

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 27, 2011, 10:19 pm

    Maybe try soaking some cashews overnight and then blending them in a food processor into a paste. Mix that with the nutritional yeast and a little bit of soy or almond milk (or H2O). I think cashews do help with the creaminess.

  • Lindsey @ SoundEats March 27, 2011, 10:20 pm

    You used WAY too much nutritional yeast! 🙂 There are many different recipes out there. Ange has some good ones, but here’s the latest vegan one I made. Basically a seasoned traditional mac and cheese, just with vegan substitutions (i.e. almond milk, earth balance, daiya cheese). You can totally play with the seasonings…leave out the mustard, garlic, herbs, and add or do anything else you want!


    miss you, friend!

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:43 am

      Miss you too 🙂

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) March 27, 2011, 10:20 pm

    Not sure how to fix it, but I am with you on the loving citrus lately!!!

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} March 27, 2011, 10:21 pm

    My first thought was too much nutritional yeast. What about adding some blended cashews for more creaminess?

  • joanna March 27, 2011, 10:21 pm

    add hummus!

  • Jessica March 27, 2011, 10:21 pm

    Maybe you can make a cheese sauce separate with and then combine it before baking… A cashew based nooch sauce might work!

  • Lindsey @ SoundEats March 27, 2011, 10:21 pm

    Another idea: try creating a creamy sauce with a hummus base! I may try this myself!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt March 27, 2011, 10:23 pm

    Hmmm…how about some paprika and less nutritional yeast? You could also try making sauce using ground cashews. 🙂

  • tina March 27, 2011, 10:25 pm

    i made this recipe from ashley at edible perspective tonight- OMG it was SOOOOO GOOD- http://edibleperspective.com/2010/12/healthy-comfort/

    • Christina March 27, 2011, 10:48 pm

      This was exactly what I was thinking, and the mustard is key even when making regular macaroni and cheese from the basics.

  • Caz March 27, 2011, 10:27 pm

    Nutritional yeast plain is great as a parmesan sub but to make a cheese sauce I think you’d need to blend it with some cashews and/or squash. I’ve made a vegan sauce before using the traditional method of roux (butter and flour but with a non-dairy substitute), non-dairy milk, some nutmeg, and nutritional yeast + ground cashews. It was decent. Probably good if you’re actually vegan but considering my love affair with cheese it wasn’t amazing.

    Look up bechamel sauce and try to veganise it?

  • gina (fitnessista) March 27, 2011, 10:28 pm

    maybe using soaked cashews will help thicken it and make it more cheesy?
    hope you’re having a great weekend <3

  • Lauren @ SassyMolassy March 27, 2011, 10:30 pm

    I’ve been wanting to add a little butternut squash and mix it with the cauliflower thing to see how it would be. I bet with a few more tries you’ll find something you like.

  • marge March 27, 2011, 10:33 pm

    I almost dont want to reveal my culinary secrets…
    As what Caz says, I have found a good way to veganise bechamel is using porcini mushroom powder (basically pulverized dried mushrooms) and vegetable broth. Slowly heat up earth balance, add the mushroom powder and slowly add the broth. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste.

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:42 am

      Hehe thank you for revealing your secret!

  • Stephanie March 27, 2011, 10:34 pm

    I make this one approximately 5 billion times a week. The omni husband approves, and it’s not dry!! I just use regular pasta and water instead of almond milk and it turns out great.


  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 27, 2011, 10:39 pm

    Nutritional yeast could help?? 🙂 I am loving oranges right now, so yummy!!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg March 27, 2011, 10:44 pm

    I’ve made OSG’s vegan alfredo — she combines nutritional yeast with blended cashews (+ a few other ingredients) — it is unbelievable creamy and delicious, and not “yeasty” at all!

  • Dani March 27, 2011, 10:44 pm

    Maybe a bit of tahini would help the creaminess factor?

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 27, 2011, 10:49 pm

    It sounds delicious to me! I really like mustard in my mac and cheese. Also, onions maybe? I’ve never had nutritional yeast, so wouldn’t know about that flavor issue 🙂

  • Mary March 27, 2011, 10:51 pm

    Maybe try soy cheese?

  • Peggy March 27, 2011, 10:54 pm

    I’ve found that to make nutritional yeast “taste like cheese” (I put it in quotes because I’ve been severely lactose intolerant since I was a toddler and have no idea of what cheese actually tastes like, which my boyfriend reminds me whenever I say things taste like cheese…) you NEED copious amounts of salt, garlic (powder) and dijon mustard (not like real French dijon (which has heat) but the squeezy kind of dijon you buy in the regular grocery store next to the deli mustards. To make a cheese sauce, I put 1 part nutritional yeast, 1 part flour, 2 parts water, a big pinch of salt and garlic powder, and a squeeze of dijon, and put it over low/medium heat and whisk until it thickens. To. Die. For. (Whether it really tastes like cheese or not…)

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:37 am

      This sounds yummy!

    • Jennifer (The Fat Carrot) March 28, 2011, 6:37 pm

      Adding a few drops of lemon juice will also give it that tang that many vegan cheeses lack. I have tried the mustard, but it always leaves a mastard-y taste that I’m not too crazy about.

  • Lesley Lifting Life March 27, 2011, 10:54 pm

    Could have fooled me … it looked delicious, and creamy!

  • Kristina @ spabettie March 27, 2011, 10:55 pm

    make a cashew creme sauce, then add (a couple-few tablespoons) nutritional yeast to it. it’s GOOOOD ! 😀

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley March 27, 2011, 10:55 pm

    Angela at Oh She Glows did an awesome mac and cheese a while back. She used mainly cashews too make the sauce.

  • Sara March 27, 2011, 11:01 pm

    I just made the cauliflower mac and cheese from Runner’s World last week!! Mine turned out delicious … but of course mine had cheese it in. I pretty much followed the recipe as posted by Mark Bittman. I added a chopped zucchini for some extra veggies and used a little less cheese (a mix of Sharp Cheddar and Gruyere) than the recipe called for. Never worked with nutritional yeast before so can’t give you any advice towards that … sorry.

  • Carly March 27, 2011, 11:03 pm

    Maybe more liquid? I usually add milk and water to nooch sauces. This recipe definitely has potential!

  • eatmovelove March 27, 2011, 11:05 pm

    I think you should process the cauliflower too – or did you do that? It would add a “creamier” consistency.

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves March 27, 2011, 11:06 pm

    Sorry it didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to! At least it still looks great 😉

  • Laura March 27, 2011, 11:06 pm

    I’ve found that using hummus and a bit of mustard makes a great creamy sauce for pasta; I’ve also added blended roasted red peppers to the sauce before and it’s really tasty.

    Although to be honest, I kind of believe Mac & Cheese is one of those recipes that should just be left alone. When an ingredient is actually listed in the title, it seems fairly essential. 🙂 There are so many other yummy dairy-free pasta options.

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:31 am

      Haha I agree re: cheese in mac and cheese.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 27, 2011, 11:31 pm

    What about adding some good mustard for a little extra kick?

  • Kaz March 27, 2011, 11:54 pm

    You need tahini! It has a deep, savory, almost-cheesy taste to it. I love tahini and sriracha on my eggs, and the combo almost convinces me that I’m eating my beloved dairy again. 🙂

  • Mandiee March 28, 2011, 12:07 am

    Adding soaked cashews (turned into cashew cream) should give it a bit more creaminess like cheesy and also cut the strong nooch-y flavor. I hope you try it again because this sounds like a really yummy idea!

    Have a lovely day!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) March 28, 2011, 12:26 am

    I’d still eat it! I haven’t made a ‘cheeze’ sauce successfully, so I can’t help you 🙁

  • Laura March 28, 2011, 12:36 am

    It seems like some kind of oil or some source of fat would have improved it (maybe adding EVOO?)

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:28 am

      Oil makes everything better, you’re right.

  • Dani March 28, 2011, 12:39 am

    This is the best vegan mac & cheese & it doesn’t even use nutritional yeast for the sauce!

  • Khushboo March 28, 2011, 12:51 am

    Am on a mega citrus kick lately! It must be a vitamin C thing because as I seem to be eating a lot of broccoli, oranges, and pineapple!

  • Haley March 28, 2011, 1:06 am

    I just made Angela’s mac n cheeze at Oh She Glows and it is BOMB!!! For reals, girl. Make it, stat 🙂

    Good luck!

  • amy the aussie March 28, 2011, 3:21 am

    hey caitlyn,
    I have a question for you. I was wondering if you have any healthy blogger buddies in australia?
    I love reading your blog and some of the other american ones (like anne at fannetastic food)… but it would be also really great to read some good aussie ones!
    Do you (or anyone else) happen to know of any??

  • Bec March 28, 2011, 3:35 am

    A few people have already suggested cashew nut cheese, however this macadamia nut cheese looks really good too: http://www.reallyrawfood.com/2008/07/13/raw-vegan-recipe-macadamia-nut-cheese/

  • Chloe March 28, 2011, 3:38 am

    Perhaps Tahini, for a greater umami flavor?

  • Jess @ Forever Addicting March 28, 2011, 5:30 am

    Aww well, that’s what experimenting in the kitchen is all about! 😉 I’ve certainly had a few “meh” meals in my day lol

    I made a vegan mac n’ cheese a few weeks ago (inspired by Angie’s) with cashews and blended carrot/potato/onion for the sauce! http://www.foreveraddicting.com/2011/03/vegan-mac-n-cheese.html It turned out pretty yummy 🙂

  • rebecca March 28, 2011, 6:07 am

    You should use some type of thicker non-dairy milk and no egg. I think coconut milk would go best, and if you want it creamiest you should probably heat up the milk with the nutritional yeast to get it thicket

  • The Teenage Taste March 28, 2011, 7:18 am

    Sorry to hear about your macaroni and cheeze mishap. I’m not really sure how to fix it because I’ve never tried nooch before. It looks delicious though! 🙂

  • Kara March 28, 2011, 7:19 am

    I have no suggestions other than add some veggie broth for the dryness and salt. Salt makes everything better.

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:27 am

      Vegetable broth is a good idea. Will try that.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 28, 2011, 7:26 am

    Adding some hummus to it might work too for added creaminess and flavor. It looks good though.

  • Marty March 28, 2011, 7:26 am

    You could try adding some vegan cheese, althought I don’t think the taste is that great, but honestly, some recipes are hard to make without real cheese when it’s one of the main ingredients.

  • Kim @ Kim Lives Healthy March 28, 2011, 7:28 am

    Nooch can take a lot of hot sauce to amp up the cheesiness – I just made vegan mac n cheese this week based on the recipe at chefchloe.com and it tastes a lot like white cheddar mac n cheese! For 2 servings we only used 1/2 cup of nooch – maybe you used too much? Also fresh ground black pepper on top helps too!

  • Jessica March 28, 2011, 7:54 am

    Here’s a classic from Gia Patton (John Robbins May All Be Fed): Puree 1 lb. of pureed butternut squash with 1/4 c. white miso, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup nooch/ 3T Dijon Mustard; 2T tahini; 3T Tamari, salt and pepper to taste. My kids will eat it. I agree that Tamari has a nice rich flavor. good luck! 🙂

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 28, 2011, 8:01 am

    No suggestions, but it looks pretty!

  • never not dreaming March 28, 2011, 8:04 am

    Go to “Oh She Glows”. Why make up a new recipe when you can first adjust and learn from a new one?

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) March 28, 2011, 8:16 am

    I think it’s either Oh She Glows or Choosing Raw that mixed nutritional yeast with hummus for a cheesy sauce once, and that actually works pretty well! You also might want to add in a touch of mustard … it always gives my mac-n-cheese that special “oomph.” 🙂

  • Jennie in Wonderland March 28, 2011, 8:40 am

    Nooch sauces can sometimes be really dry, which is disappointing.

    Things I’ve found have helped – adding lots of hummus, water and nooch to the sauce, making it creamy and rich without too much nooch.

    Adding a jar of salsa to the mix. Thins it out and pumps up the flavour.

    Adding a touch of miso, for that salty, cheesy taste.

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:26 am

      Heheh nooch.

  • Melissa March 28, 2011, 8:56 am

    I use daiya, almond milk and a tbsp of chobani plain. Makes it perfect every time!

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething March 28, 2011, 8:57 am

    i have not had luck with large amounts of nutritional yeast either. i love it sprinkled on food but when i have used a large amount similiar to yours it was a bit disgusting…..looks like you got some good recipe ideas already. i will have to try them too 🙂

  • Ali March 28, 2011, 9:00 am

    This creamy lemon pasta from Mama Pea is pretty darn awesome (uses hummus, lemon, soy sauce and nutritional yeast). It’s in this post:

    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:25 am

      Mama Pea always has the best recipes.

  • Kim March 28, 2011, 9:03 am

    I haven’t read through the comments yet so this may have already been suggested..

    I make a wicked mac + cheese with butternut squash. I cook it down in some veg broth and then mash it up and add the usual suspects. It’s very good!

  • Chloe March 28, 2011, 9:15 am

    My got to vegan mac and cheese recipe is as follows:
    (these proportions are more estimates, I tend not to measure)

    1 can coconut milk
    1/2 cup nutritional yeast
    salt, pepper, cayenne

    Sometimes I add pureed squash and season with rosemary, sage, and thyme instead


    • Caitlin March 28, 2011, 9:24 am

      Oh adding coconut milk is a good idea!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers March 28, 2011, 9:26 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that much nut. yeast in anything- usually it caps out around a couple tablespoons or maybe 1/4 cup….

    I just made a vegan mac and cheese-ish dish that was made with potatoes, onions, carrots, and dijon mustard blended in a food processor then baked with pasta. It was pretty good for cheese-free mac. 🙂

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations March 28, 2011, 9:26 am

    I agree that coconut milk might help, but unfortunately, I find both rice and almond milk to be poor substitutes for creaminess. My mac n cheese casseroles usually end up being Amy’s lower sodium mac n cheese mixed with broccoli.

  • Maureen March 28, 2011, 9:39 am
  • Kim March 28, 2011, 9:50 am

    To replace some of the cheese taste I would use less nutritional yeast, and add some hummus or just blend some canned chickpeas, and then to that I would also add some dry mustard and a splash of vegan worcestershire sauce (I used Annie’s brand – I find it at my local grocery store and Whole Foods has it too).

  • Ilana March 28, 2011, 10:00 am

    i’d ditch the rosemary and replace it with paprika and chili powder.

  • kate March 28, 2011, 10:16 am

    I recently read a recipe that uses hummus instead of cheese!


  • jen @ taste life March 28, 2011, 11:01 am

    I love the mac n cheese sauce on Healthy HOggin….
    Mustard and cashews are the key, I think!

  • gracefulfitness March 28, 2011, 11:11 am

    Try pureeing tofu with a few T of nutritional yeast, a dash of soy sauce, maybe some herbs, and smoked paprika.

  • Julia March 28, 2011, 11:16 am

    I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I think you should up the liquid and add squash – I do this in my mac n’ cheese. I don’t know proportions either, but I normally make cheese sauce with 2 c. milk, 2-3TBSP flour, and 2 c. cheese with another cup of pureed squash in the mix. I know this sauce might sound wretched to the very healthy, but it demonstrates the proportions necessary to pull off a cheese sauce.

    Finally, almond milk likely has a taste that would meld well with acorn squash for a true mac’n’cheese dish feel.

  • Summer March 28, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I think someone might have covered this in previous comments (sorry, I couldn’t read through them all!) but have you tried pumpkin? I think some others suggested b-nut squash, which is almost the same. I made a really yummy pumpkin mac that looked a lot like what you made. If you do want to use cheese, I recommend Cabot’s Seriously Sharp or even the 50% Reduced Fat White Cheddar. Maybe just sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top so as not to overpower the whole dish?

  • Jennifer (The Fat Carrot) March 28, 2011, 6:34 pm

    This recipe might help you figure it out?


  • Jen March 28, 2011, 6:44 pm

    What about some tahini or blended avocado (or a combination of the two) to add some creaminess? Back when I used to be vegan, I often blended garbanzo beans with nondairy milk (or you could use vegetable broth) to make a base for a lot of cream sauces. That could be an idea. Pureed pumpkin is another great ingredient! I’ve actually been meaning to bake macaroni and cheese lately. Maybe I’ll try to concoct a vegan version. I’ll let you know if I do!

  • Sonia @ Master of Her Romaine March 30, 2011, 10:30 am

    Hi! Sorry to take so long to comment on this..I’m behind in my Reader 🙂 I made a similar recipe last week- it’s the top recipe on this post: http://masterofherromaine.blogspot.com/2011/03/recipes-galore.html
    It turned out really well and it would be awesome if I’d had more cauliflower, too. Let me know if you try it!!
    Vegan and delish (:

    • Caitlin March 30, 2011, 10:41 am

      That sounds delish Sonia!

  • Ann March 31, 2011, 7:15 pm

    I admit I haven’t read through all the comments, so apologies if I’m being redundant. I think you need something creamy with a little more heft. I would recommend pureeing some of the cauliflower, or adding hummus to thicken it up a bit. Dry mac and cheese is a sad thing.

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