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I love Mac ‘n cheese. No, really, I LOVEEEEEE mac ‘n cheese. In my opinion, it’s the greatest food ever. Since going vegetarian/attempting to be a stricter vegan I have been on the hunt to find the perfect mac ‘n cheese vegan alternative. Mr. SFD has been the guinea pig for tons of recipes and restaurants during this endeavor, but I think I’ve finally nailed it.

I have tried countless concoctions, combinations of different veggies, used different bases. But it wasn’t until this recipe that I finally felt successful in recreating the perfect comfort food. Mr. SFD has even said “You know… I could be convinced that this stuff is the real thing!” That’s a HUGE accomplishment considering he’s not the biggest fan of mac ‘n cheese (we don’t disagree on much, but this has been unacceptable to me! He also smothers his mac ‘n cheese in ketchup, which I don’t understand, but that’s a story for another day).

Mr. SFD has even said “You know… I could be convinced that this stuff is the real thing!”

So why is this Veggie Mac so good and good for you? For one, it’s packed full of veggies. Like LOADED with veggies. Secondly, these veggies are cheap – making this a fantastic frugal meal. Lastly, this recipe uses Smoked Paprika – in my hunt of trying out all sorts of vegan mac ‘no cheese recipes, none of them used Smoked Paprika. This little ingredient makes a HUGE difference. I recently served this at a potluck and got tons of compliments.

The following recipe is sticky and stringy – the way good mac ‘n cheese should be. But it’s also creamy and smokey – personal favorites. I’ve even made this without the nutritional yeast and it comes out just as good. Throw it on top of your favorite noodle for the perfect comfort food. Is your mouth watering yet? I won’t keep you hanging much longer – dig in!


  • 1 box elbow noodles
  • 3 gold potatoes, medium
  • 3 carrots, medium
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp veggie boullion
  • ½ cup soaked cashews (soak for 30 minutes)
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaping tbsp Smoked paprika
  • Splash of vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Chop carrots, potatoes, onion, and garlic. Add to water with bouillon. Bring to boil then lower to medium heat. Cook until soft.
  2. Cook elbow noodles to specifications on box.
    Note: I personally leave the elbow noodles slightly al dente and allow the sauce to cook them the rest of the way.
  3. Drain soaked cashews and add to blender.
  4. Remove veggies from cooking water and add to blender. Scoop about 1 ½ – 2 cups of the cooking water and add to blender with veggies.
  5. Add paprika, nutritional yeast, and splash of vinegar to blender.
    Note: For the vinegar, I typically use about a capful. I’ve also tried subbing vinegar with lemon juice (half of a lemon) and it also works but does have a slightly different taste.
  6. Blend until smooth. Keep in mind the sauce is hot so you may want to vent the blender lid during blending.
    Note: I prefer to remove the small plastic piece from the lid and cover with a towel to avoid any splashes.
  7. For a “cheesier” taste, add more nutritional yeast. For a “smokier” taste, add more smoked paprika.

  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
    Note: I prefer garlic salt, but be careful as this could make the veggie mac taste very garlicky.

Optional Steps:

  • This recipe would also make delicious baked mac ‘n cheese, if that’s your thing.
  • Love baked potatoes smothered in “cheese”? Try smothering it in this sauce instead.
  • Mix this with some broccoli and rice for a quick and easy “cheesy” broccoli casserole!
  • Dip your favorite pretzels in this sauce for a cheesy pretzel snack.

The Super Frugal Breakdown:

Prices below do not reflect tax, if applicable.

  • 3lb bag of potatoes = $2.27 (at around 10 potatoes in the bag, this comes up to roughly $0.22/potato)
    Sub-Total: $0.66
  • 2lb bag of carrots = $1 (at around 14 carrots in the bag, this comes up to roughly $0.07/carrot)
    Sub-Total: $0.21
  • Sack of onions = $1.74 (at around 8 onions in the sack, this comes up to roughly $0.21/onion)
    Sub-Total: $0.21
  • Sack of garlic = $2.98 (roughly 3 heads of garlic, $0.99/head. We’ll estimate about $0.05/clove)
    Sub-Total: $0.05
  • Box of elbows, purchased as a BOGO = $1
    Sub-Total: $1.00
  • 8oz Better than Boullion = $8.99 (around 38 tsp, per the label, brings this to $0.23/tsp)
    Sub-Total: $0.70
  • 2.5lb cashews = $19.99 (estimating $3.99/cup)
    Sub-Total: $1.99

Items harder to estimate:

Rounding up for spices, the cost for the completed dish would be around $5.00. With around 6 servings to this recipe, that brings us to $0.83 per serving. Woo hoo!

Have you tried making this recipe? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Note: Products may contain affiliate links, but all products listed are products we endorse and personally use.

Mrs. Super Frugal Duo
Posted by:Mrs. Super Frugal Duo

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