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Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

This baked mac and cheese recipe is my joyous health take on a favourite comfort food dish! Packed with healthy fats, fibre, and protein this dairy-free, gluten-free is sure to become a family fave!
Mar 6, 2015 | Joy McCarthy

Now this is a recipe you're gonna love...

I don't know a single person on the planet who would turn down the quintessential comfort food -- mac and cheese. Well hang on, I've turned down a "typical" mac and cheese dish made with white flour pasta and cow's milk cheese because the belly bloat and inflammation is not worth it for me! I can feel my wrists getting achy just thinking about it.

But here's the thing, mac and cheese is as comforting as apple pie and ice cream. We can't possibly live our lives without this wonderful comfort food for freezing cold days and tough times!

This is why I created my own version of mac and cheese, joyous-style for all you comfort food lovers out there, like Walker! We made it together and he LOVES it (I do too). As you will see in my recipe video, this recipe combines Walker's three loves: pasta, cheese and wife. haha!

This mac and cheese is dairy-free, gluten-free and FULL of flavour! It will make your tastebuds and belly sing with joy.

Now that you know it doesn't technically have "cheese", trust me on this one, you'll love it all the same. Walker is a totally "cheesehead" (as I call him), just like my dad. Cheeseheads rejoice, you're gonna love this one.

Enjoy the video and the printable recipe is below and don't worry, for all the nutrition nerds out there I've highlighted the health benefits in my video.

Mains & Sides
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  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard (grainy or smooth
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked gluten-free macaroni noodles
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 of a red onion chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To prepare cheese sauce, in a blender or food processor combine cashews and grated carrot with boiling water. Blend until smooth. Add remaining sauce ingredients (nutritional yeast, dijon, garlic, apple cider vinegar, pepper and sea salt) and puree until creamy. Set aside.
  3. To prepare noodles, bring large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain water. Place hot pasta back into pot and combine with cheese sauce. Add chopped onions at this point.
  4. Pour into a medium size baking dish and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve hot.


I love sprinkling it with hemp hearts for an added hit of protein and nuttiness.
You can also add freshly chopped tomatoes (probably 1-2) or half a can of whole tomatoes to this recipe.

This recipe tastes really really yummy day 2, served hot or chilled. I love sprinkling my mac and cheese with hemp hearts for an extra kick of protein.

I hope this recipe becomes a comfort food staple in your home. And I will have a surprise mac and cheese recipe for book #2 because I have a version of this with cauliflower instead of macaroni! You're gonna love it.

Have a joyous day and please do comment below to let me know if you tried it and if you like it. I love reading your comments!


Mar 6, 2015 BY Joy McCarthy
sylvie   •   March 9, 2015

Unbelievable, those mac and cheese are gluten free, congratulations for your cooking imagination!


Bethany   •   March 17, 2015

I made this recipe a week ago and I just couldn't get I'm making it again tonight =) It is absolutely delicious and I love the addition of red onion and tomatoes! For those of us that can't have dairy, this is a miracle =)

Joy McCarthy   •   March 17, 2015

Lorraine Fletcher   •   March 23, 2015

I made the Mac and Cheese for our family get together and everyone liked it. They were surprised when I told them the ingredients. I will definitely make it again. I didn't use gluten free elbow macaroni and I used green onions. Thank you Joy.

Joy McCarthy   •   March 23, 2015

Jane Darch   •   April 5, 2015

Perhaps there was something missing in this recipe. I followed your interactions but found it to be very dry. Thanks for any tips.

Kate McDonald Walker   •   April 5, 2015

Michele Cayenne   •   April 6, 2015

Love love love love this!!!!This Mac n cheese has now become a staple meal in my home. I have shared this receipe with so many people, everyone asks for the recipe!! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing recipe!!

Joy McCarthy   •   April 6, 2015

Hailey SALVIAN   •   April 22, 2015

Hi, Just wondering if nutritional yeast is mandatory for this recipe? Is there a substitute?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   April 23, 2015

Donna Silver   •   October 8, 2015

Hi Joy, I've lost 45 lbs. on a diet plan. I seem to be maintaining by focusing on the nutrition. I also developed a "style" of eating which works for me. I would really love to dig into your mac and cheese recipe, but the cashews vis a vis added fat kind of spooked me. Also, since there's no stats I don't know the amount of fat I'm really getting. I could see doing this recipe if one's diet is all vegan to get protein from nuts and some fat. This is a 2 helping recipe and I would worry about what I acutally ate afterwards. Some of us need stricter containers, we don't "flow" with food.


Kiren   •   November 10, 2015

Do you soak the cashews in advance before using them for this recipe as well. I didn't and it still turned out good but wondering what you usually do.

Kate McDonald Walker   •   November 11, 2015

K K   •   November 15, 2015

I made pasta friday night and instead of this recipe I used the creamy cashew dressing recipe from your site to coat the pasta and sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top. It was so delicious...almost like an Alfredo sauce. Thanks for the recipes!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   November 16, 2015

Mandy   •   December 14, 2015

Hello, I just made this recipe and it did not turn out as you described. The only thing I can think of that I did differently was not soak the cashews and use nutritional yeast flakes instead of powder. The end result was not cheesy or creamy. Please advise. Thanks, Mandy

Kate McDonald Walker   •   December 14, 2015

Kristi   •   December 21, 2015

I've chosen to not eat dairy anymore so I made this tonight and it's delicious! The mustard gives it a great flavour without being too "mustardy". Yum!


  •   February 8, 2016

Hello, Just wondering if I can substitute the cashews for almonds due to allergies?? If so, would I need to soak them? Thank you :o)

Kate McDonald Walker   •   February 8, 2016

Laura C.   •   August 26, 2020

Very filling and satisfying meal. It was great with your kale and beet salad. Thanks very much!

Joy McCarthy   •   August 27, 2020

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