For Food Allergy Awareness Week, I’m focusing on everyone-friendly recipes, like this stovetop dairy-free mac and cheese. It just happens to be vegan, nut-free, soy-free, optionally gluten-free, egg-free, and even mustard-free and sesame-free for my Top 11-free Canadian friends. But it’s still creamy, cheesy, and downright delicious. I’ve spiked it with warm, lightly spicy Southwestern flavor that you can dial up or down!
Stovetop Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese from Scratch in 20 Minutes or Less
Hungry yet? This versatile little Southwestern-style recipe comes together so quickly on the stovetop! It has a wonderful balance of savory, fresh, and lightly spicy flavors that can be adjusted to taste. You can even dress it down to a basic stovetop dairy-free mac and cheese. The latter takes only 15 minutes to make. It’s adapted from my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook.
Though I label it as “spicy,” this Southwestern-style dairy-free mac and cheese has just a mild to moderate kick that many kids even enjoy. My husband and I aren’t fire breathers – our definition of spicy is probably just touching on medium heat for many.
If you want more Southwestern heat with your stovetop dairy-free mac and cheese, feel free to double the cayenne, or optionally sauté some chopped jalapeno with the bell peppers. Other options include adding diced canned green chiles just before serving, stirring in a little of your favorite salsa, or add a few shakes of chili powder to the spice mix in the sauce.
Optional Add Ins
Feel free to add any of the following ingredients for more flavor and nutrition, depending on your dietary needs.
- 3/4 to 1 pound cooked, diced chicken
- 1/2 pound cooked chorizo (or vegan chorizo)
- 1 can garbanzo beans or black beans
- Diced green chiles (canned)
- Diced jalapeno (cook in with bell pepper, optionally skip cayenne)
- Sliced olives
- Diced tomatoes
- Salsa (tastes great stirred in)
I originally shared this stovetop dairy-free mac and cheese recipe back in 2014, and have updated it with more tips and new photos!
Special Diet Notes: Stovetop Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free (optional), nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, and top food allergy-friendly.
- 16 ounces dry macaroni (gluten-free, if needed)
- 3 cups cold unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage, divided (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons oil, divided (I use grapeseed oil or rice bran oil)
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¾ cup cooked chopped carrots
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup non-GMO cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup diced green pepper
- 2 cups organic corn kernels (defrosted if using frozen)
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not rinse.
- While the noodles are cooking, add 1 cup milk alternative, ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, carrot, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne to your blender, and blend until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups milk alternative, and blend until smooth.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers and sauté 2 minutes. Add corn, sauté 1 minute more. Pour in sauce mixture from blender and whisk as it bubbles until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Season sauce to taste with additional salt (I often add ¼ to ½ teaspoon more), cayenne, and/or lemon juice, if desired.
- Stir in the cooked pasta until well-coated. Divide between bowls.