With today’s Vegan Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe we are going full-blown nostalgic. This dish has it all. A creamy vegan cheese sauce, savory vegan ground “beef”, and comforting pasta. It’s all here and I’m all about it.
I grew up as part of a busy, active family and Hamburger Helper was a go-to staple for quick, filling, good meals. And recreating simple, delicious meals inspired by my childhood is one my of favorite things to do! I love making something that tastes amazing and sparks little memories with every mouthful.
Now that I am vegan, I have to get a little creative to make those flavors come to life again, but that’s the fun part!
I make my simple cheese sauce out of potatoes and spices – potato cheese sauce is a vegan classic after all – and pair that with perfectly cooked pasta and vegan ground beef.
Today there are so many amazing vegan alternatives to non-vegan foods. For example, if you use Beyond Meat Ground Beef (all vegan) in this recipe it would be an almost perfect match to your foodie memory.
With all of those mouthwatering details let me walk you through this amazing recipe.
Vegan Cheese Sauce
Vegan cheese sauce made from potatoes is not a new concept, but I have to say that mine is pretty damn delicious. It went perfectly with this dish to create a cheesy base but also let the other flavors shine.
Like most vegan cheese sauce recipes I start off by boiling potatoes and carrots. Mine starts to vary from other recipes in that I also boil onion and garlic with the mixture for a few minutes. I find that using real onion and garlic – in addition to onion powder and garlic powder – really gives this sauce amazing flavor and extra dimension.
I then add in some spices, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and tomato paste. Let’s break that down.
First off, if you don’t know what nutritional yeast is, it’s a super savory, cheesy version of yeast that is delicious and packs a ton of B vitamins. I always have some in my pantry.
Next, the lemon juice adds a lot of brightness and acid to the dish, which really livens it up. And last, the tomato paste has that amazing umami punch and it helps give the cheese sauce a nice color.
And bam! In 10 minutes you have a delicious, versatile vegan cheese sauce.
Let’s get into how to use this cheese sauce in the vegan cheeseburger macaroni.
Now that we’ve nailed down the cheese sauce let’s talk about vegan cheeseburger macaroni. This dish was a classic favorite of mine and it’s actually really easy to make.
Aside from the cheese sauce, the other necessary components are the ground beef (the “burger” part) and the macaroni. Of course, this recipe uses vegan ground beef (or ground round) and it’s an easy swap.
I saute the ground beef with onion and garlic and keep it super simple.
Then you just need to boil up some macaroni and you’re all almost done! Of course, this step is customizable as well. You can use gluten-free noodles or a different pasta shape.
Shells are amazing with this!
As you can see in the pictures I used penne because it’s what I had and I decided to not make any extra trips to the grocery store during the pandemic quarantine. Just use what you got!
Putting It All Together
Once the three main components of vegan cheese sauce, vega ground beef, and macaroni are created it’s as simple as combining everything together!
Simply mix everything until the noodles are covered in the creamy sauce and the vegan ground beef is evenly distributed.
You can enjoy the dish simple like this, or feel free to get creative with those burger toppings! I love to add toppings like red onion, fresh tomato, diced pickles (trust me), and sesame seeds. Basically, if you like it on a burger, try it on this pasta dish!
Without further ado, let’s get into this recipe!
As always please share your recreations on social media and don’t forget to tag me! I love to feature your recreations on my Instagram stories!
- ¼ onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups vegan ground beef
- 2 cups pasta
- Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Optional toppings: red onion, diced tomato, diced pickles, sesame seeds, etc.
- 1 cup cubed potatoes
- ¼ cup cubed carrots
- ¼ medium white onion, about ⅛ cup chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup cooking water, reserved after boiling vegetable mixture
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
Bring water in a medium stockpot to a boil
Roughly cube the potato and carrots to similar sizes so they cook evenly
Add the potato and carrots to the boiling water
Boil for 5 minutes
Chop the onion and cut the garlic clove in half
Add to boiling water along with the potatoes and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes
You want to reserve the cooking liquid from the vegetables so put a big bowl in your sink under a colander
Drain the vegetables into the colander so that the water is caught in the big bowl
Add the vegetables to a blender
Add all spices, lemon juice, tomato paste and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the blender
Blend on high until everything is well combined
The mixture should look a little runny as it will firm up when it’s added back to the dish
Bring a saucepan to medium high heat and lightly oil the pan – alternatively you can use a little bit of water
Dice ¼ of an onion and add it to the hot pan
Let the onion cook until translucent and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes
Mince the garlic and add it to the hot pan
Cook for 2 minutes
Add the vegan ground beef and cook for about 5-6 minutes
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil
Add the noodles and cook to package instructions
Drain the noodles and set aside
Add the vegan cheese sauce to the onion and vegan ground beef mixture and mix to combine
Add the pasta and mix until everything is evenly coated and combined
Plate and serve with optional toppings of your choice