Twenty-minute vegan macaroni cheese

Twenty-minute vegan macaroni cheese

Elly Curshen's vegan macaroni cheese is made on the hob, which speeds things up considerably. The crunchy topping is sprinkled over the finished dish, so everybody gets the delicious ‘edges’ if they want them! 

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  • Serves4
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare10 mins
  • Cook10 mins
  • Total time20 mins


  • 500g bag Essential Macaroni
  • 60g vegan butter alternative (I used Naturli’ Organic Vegan Block)
  • 30g plain flour
  • 500ml barista oat drink
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 160g vegan cheese alternative, grated (such as Cathedral City Our Plant Based Dairy Free)
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded if liked, then diced, to serve

For the topping

  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Smoked Garlic Granules
  • 5 tbsp breadcrumbs, made from stale crusts (see tip)
  • 2 tbsp Essential Olive Oil


  1. Start by making the crunchy topping. Tip all the ingredients into a frying pan and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Tip onto a plate, where the crumbs will become crunchier as they cool. Set aside.

  2. Cook the pasta for 7 minutes in well salted, boiling water in a large pan. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter alternative, then whisk in the flour. Let the mixture cook for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the oat drink, the nutritional yeast and turmeric. Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture bubbles and thickens.

  3. Stir the cheese alternative into the sauce. Switch to a spatula and stir over a medium heat until the cheese alternative has melted. Season with plenty of black pepper and salt if needed.

  4. Drain the pasta and return to the large pan. Pour over the sauce and mix well to combine. Divide between plates, stir through some tomatoes and sprinkle crunchy crumbs over the top.

Cook’s tip

I keep the ends of loaves in a bag in my freezer, then blitz them into breadcrumbs in a food processor, ready for when needed.

To bring out even more ‘cheesiness’ in this recipe, try adding Dijon or wholegrain mustard to the sauce, starting with ½ tsp and adding more to taste. 

Any leftover topping will keep in an airtight container for a few days.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


3,412kJ/ 813kcals



Saturated Fat












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Overall rating (5/5)

5 out of 5 stars1 rating