2018 Vegan Mac Down  Recipes

By popular demand, here are the winning recipes from the Oakland and Chicago Vegan Mac Downs!

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Oakland champion - "The Real deal" mac and cheese

Recipe by Kyle and Ashley Knies of From the Garden

Yes, this mac relies on real cheese for its rich flavor and texture - real vegan cheese, of course! Boosted with the help of other umami-rich ingredients like nutritional yeast, miso and mustard, this sauce really checks all the boxes. The leeks, cauliflower and brussels sprouts add different textures that allow the thick cheesiness to really shine. Choose the shape of your noodle carefully - the bigger and more textured the better, something where the cheese sauce can get in every nook and cranny.

1 cup brussels sprouts, halved or quartered

1 cup cauliflower florets, cut to about the same size as the brussel sprouts

1 large leek, sliced into thin rings

1 lb. large pasta shells, like rocchetti

½ cup + 2 tablespoons vegan butter

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/3 cup glutinous rice flour (Mochiko)

½ cup nutritional yeast

½ teaspoon turmeric (for color)

1 teaspoon paprika (for color)

1/2 cup pasta cooking water (more as needed)

1 can coconut milk

1 cup (8 oz.) Miyoko’s vegan mozzarella, in small pieces

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

3 tablespoons white miso

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon vegan lactic acid (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Saute leek in 2 tablespoons of vegan butter along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until soft and translucent. Set aside.

  2. Heat a large pot of water to boil.

  3. Once boiling, salt generously and add brussels sprouts and cauliflower and stir to submerge. Allow water to return to boil and cook for about 3 minutes. Scoop vegetables from pot and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

  4. In same pot, cook noodles in boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving a couple cups of the cooking water. Set aside.

  5. Meanwhile, melt ½ cup butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat.

  6. Add onion powder and glutinous rice flour and whisk constantly for two minutes, allowing flour to bubble and get slightly toasty.

  7. Add nutritional yeast, turmeric and paprika. Whisk to combine. (It will be a dry mixture at this point.)

  8. Add pub cheese, ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and coconut milk. Continuously whisk until smooth and allow to heat until bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes.

  9. Add vegan mozzarella and stir to combine.

  10. In a small bowl, dissolve miso in ¼ cup pasta water to form a smooth paste.

  11. Add mustard, hot sauce and miso mixture into cheese sauce. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid scorching the bottom. If it seems too thick, add additional pasta cooking water to achieve the right consistency. Add lactic acid, salt and pepper to taste.

  12. To serve, mix noodles with leeks, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cheese sauce in large pot. Stir gently to thoroughly combine. Heat as needed by stirring over medium heat, or you can spread in a baking dish and bake in 375 degree oven if so desired.


Chicago champion - "amazeballs"

Recipe by MacKenzie DeVito, founder of No Bones Beach Club (currently in Seattle and Portland, opening soon in Chicago!)

Spicy, smoky, macaroni and cheese balls.  These puppies are perfect for plant based partays.

1 Lb. Gluten Free Macaroni Noodles

2 C. Vegan Cheddar Shreds

2 C. Cashew Cream (recipe below)

¼ C. Grilled, Chopped Jalapeno

1 can of Jackfruit

1 cup bottled VEGAN BBQ sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 C. Gluten Free Panko

Cooking Spray



1 C. Raw Cashews

2 C. Water

Boil for 10 minutes

Put in the water from boiling and the cashews into Vitamix with ½ Cup Nutritional Yeast and Puree until silky smooth.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste and add extra water if the consistency is too thick. You want it thin enough that it will pour easily into the squeeze bottles.



Drain one can of Jackfruit and simmer in 1 cup bottled BBQ Sauce for 45 minutes.  Add water if too thick. Cool.



  1. Cook and cool Macaroni
  2. Cook, Stir, and Watch Closely because it will stick and cook quickly
  3. Make Cheese Sauce - Put Cashew Cream and Cheddar Cheese in a sauce pan on low and slowly whisk until all of the cheese has melted and once it is melted, fold in the jalapenos and the BBQ Jackfruit
  4. Once cheese has cooled, fold cooked macaroni into cheese sauce while adding 1 cup of panko.  Once the mixture is ready, you can form into balls while using a portion scoop or a measuring cup.  
  5. Roll in Panko and Chill for 2 hours in the fridge or freezer.
  6. Pan fry in vegetable oil until all sides are golden about 3 minutes per side and drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve with vegan ranch dressing for dipping!

Makes 12-15  - 3oz balls