A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

I always tell people that I wouldn’t be vegan if I felt like I was missing out.  And for me, if there wasn’t a delectable vegan macaroni and cheese recipe, I would be missing out!  So thank you to Ann Gentry, author of The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian, for providing such a great mac and cheese option!  This vegan macaroni and cheese is creamy, rich, and a true comfort food.

Also, for those of you who don’t know, Real Food Daily is a vegan restaurant serving up truly tasty vegan juices, smoothies, burgers, burritos, salads, desserts, and more in the Los Angeles area.  It’s one of my “go to” places when I visit Los Angeles.  Really.  I often find myself planning my activities in Los Angeles so that I will end up near one of their locations around lunch or dinner!  Real Food Daily has 4 locations: Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Pasadena, and the LAX airport! For more information, check out their website!


[caption id="attachment_2340" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macaroni and Cheese in Bowl Macaroni and Cheese in Bowl[/caption]


First, gather your creamy cashew cheese ingredients.  Most of the ingredients are pretty typical with the possible exception of the Agar agar.  Agar agar is a sea vegetable that is packed with fiber that is dairy-free and gluten-free.  Agar agar can be used as a gelling agent which makes it the perfect vegan substitute for gelatin in cooking or baking!  For more information on agar agar, click here!  I purchased my Agar agar from my local co-op.  It can be found at health food stores or of course online: Eden Foods Agar Agar Sea Vegetable Flakes — 1 oz.


[caption id="attachment_2321" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cheese Ingredients Cheese Ingredients[/caption]


First, add the cashews to your food processor….


[caption id="attachment_2322" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cashews in Food Processor Cashews in Food Processor[/caption]


And pulse until they are ground.  Make sure you don’t let the food processor go for too long or you will end up with cashew butter!


[caption id="attachment_2323" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ground Up Cashews Ground Up Cashews[/caption]


It’s then time to add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic powder.


[caption id="attachment_2324" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in Nutritional Yeast and Spices Adding in Nutritional Yeast and Spices[/caption]


And pulse again until combined.  You can then set the dry mixture aside.


[caption id="attachment_2325" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dry Cheese Ingredients Mixed Together Dry Cheese Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]


Mix the non-dairy milk (I used almond), canola oil, and agar agar in a saucepan.  Stir the mixture until the agar agar dissolves.


[caption id="attachment_2326" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing Agar, Canola Oil, and Non-Dairy Milk Mixing Agar, Canola Oil, and Non-Dairy Milk[/caption]


Then slowly add the saucepan mixture to the dry ingredients in the food processor.


[caption id="attachment_2327" align="alignnone" width="640"]Add Wet Ingredients to Dry Ingredients Add Wet Ingredients to Dry Ingredients[/caption]


Finally, add the miso, and you will have some delicious tasting cashew cheese!


[caption id="attachment_2330" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in the Miso Adding in the Miso[/caption]


I put my cheese mixture in a bowl and set it aside.


[caption id="attachment_2331" align="alignnone" width="640"]Final Cheese Sauce in Bowl Final Cheese Sauce in Bowl[/caption]


Then boil the pasta (I used brown rice pasta) until it is tender but not overly soft — remember that you will be baking the mac and cheese in the oven later.


[caption id="attachment_2332" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cooking Noodles Cooking Noodles[/caption]


Once the pasta is done you can let it sit in the strainer.


[caption id="attachment_2333" align="alignnone" width="640"]Noodles in Strainer Noodles in Strainer[/caption]


Then, mix the cheese and pasta together.  I have to admit, at this point, I took a couple of bites of macaroni and cheese.  But be patient, because the next steps take this dish to another level!


[caption id="attachment_2334" align="alignnone" width="640"]Noodles with Cheese SauceNoodles with Cheese Sauce Noodles with Cheese Sauce[/caption]


Because herbed bread crumbs make everything better 🙂


[caption id="attachment_2335" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bread Crumb Ingredients Bread Crumb Ingredients[/caption]


First, place the bread, parsley, olive oil, garlic, and pepper in the food processor and mix until combined.


[caption id="attachment_2336" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bread Crumb Ingredients in Food Processor Bread Crumb Ingredients in Food Processor[/caption]


Lay the macaroni and cheese in the bottom of the casserole pan, and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top.


[caption id="attachment_2337" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macaroni and Cheese with Bread Crumb Layer Macaroni and Cheese with Bread Crumb Layer[/caption]


Bake the macaroni and cheese, and you’re done!  Time to dig in.  I warn you, it’s difficult to stop eating this pasta once you get started!


[caption id="attachment_2339" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macaroni and Cheese with Dish Macaroni and Cheese with Dish[/caption]


Macaroni and Cheese
  • ¾ cups raw cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 ounce agar agar flakes
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ⅛ cup yellow miso
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  2. Pulse the cashews in a food processor -- do NOT allow the cashews to become a paste
  3. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder
  4. Combine non-dairy milk, agar agar flakes, and canola oil in saucepan and simmer over high heat
  5. Lower to medium heat and stir mixture until agar agar is dissolved
  6. Gradually add the saucepan mixture to the ingredients in the food processor
  7. Add in miso and lemon juice and blend in food processor
  9. Preheat oven to 325
  10. Bring a large part of water with salt to a boil
  11. Add the pasta and cook for approximately 8 minutes or until tender. The pasta should still be firm.
  12. Strain the pasta and mix with Cashew Cheese Sauce
  13. Place pasta mixture in 8 x 8 casserole dish
  14. Place bread in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped
  15. Add the parsley, olive oil, garlic, and pepper to the food processor and pulse util combined. Do NOT overmix.
  16. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top of macaroni and cheese and cover with tinfoil.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and allow to bake again until topping is golden brown (about 15 minutes).




  • Ana says:

    I just found your blog after doing a google search for vegan food in San Diego and, as a recent San Diegan transplant myself, it has truly come in handy. Also this recipe sounds amazing.

    • emily says:

      Hi Ana,

      I’m glad you found The Fussy Fork and that it’s been helpful as you get to know San Diego. Let me know if you ever have any post suggestions!