baked mac and cheese in a white baking dish on a dish towel with a wooden spoon

WOW. Talk about healthy comfort food! This vegan and gluten free baked mac and cheese tastes like the real deal…you would NEVER know it’s dairy free!

baked mac and cheese in a white baking dish on a dish towel with a wooden spoon

The creamy cauliflower mac and cheese sauce is out of this world, and super easy to make. The crunchy cracker topping is the best addition, making this taste just like the old school, homestyle baked mac and cheese.

I love these almond flour crackers for the crumb topping. They add the best healthy crunch- any of the flavors would be delish!

You can use spiral or penne noodles for this- personally I love the spirals! This baked mac brings out the little kid in me- no shame in my comfort food loving game. You guys know I’m all about the healthier pastas! I used a gluten free pasta, but you can of course use regular if you don’t need gluten free!

The best part about the vegan mac and cheese sauce is that it’s nut free, so no soaking of cashews required! It makes for a more affordable, easier meal to whip up for dinner. Yes please!

baked mac and cheese in a white baking dish on a dish towel with a wooden spoon

An important step is making sure your noodles are cooked to just al dente; for me this was 5 minutes but test your noodles to be sure! This ensures that the noodles don’t get mushy or fall apart, plus they will continue to cook a bit in the oven.

Once the sauce is mixed with the noodles, slowly add almond milk (or milk of choice) to get it thin enough to a mac and cheese consistency; this also helps it to not dry up in the oven.

I swear one bite of this dairy free/gluten free baked mac and cheese and you’ll be in heaven! Its truly one of my favorite recipes to date!

Be sure to leave a rating and comment below if you make this, and tag me on Instagram so I can see! xo

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Healthy Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (vegan, gluten free)

  • Author: Mia Zarlengo
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner


Gluten free and vegan baked mac and cheese with a healthy cauliflower cheese sauce!



For the mac and cheese sauce:

  • 2 tbsp ghee, butter, or vegan butter
  • 1/2 of a yellow or white onion, finely diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 23 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Plain unsweetened dairy free milk as needed, up to 1/3 cup

For the pasta:

  • 1 lb gluten free spiral or penne pasta (sub regular if gf not necessary)
  • ~1/4 cup cracker crumbs (measure after crushing), I use these
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set out a medium baking dish. 
  2. Start by making the sauce. Heat a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Once hot, add ghee or butter and stir in onions. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in minced garlic and allow to cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in cauliflower.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper to the pot and give everything a good stir. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is fork tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook your pasta to al dente; about 3 minutes less than suggested on box, for me this was 5 minutes. Be sure not to overcook! 
  6. When cauliflower is soft, remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Carefully add everything from the pot for the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Mix the sauce with the pasta in your baking dish, adding dairy free milk as needed to thin the sauce to desired consistency, up to 1/3 cup. 
  8. Sprinkle crushed crackers over the top and thyme leaves, then bake for 15 minutes. Broil for 1-3 minutes to crisp the crackers, but be careful not to burn. Serve and enjoy! 

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Lunch + Dinner, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


Jun 11, 2020

Healthy Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (vegan, gluten free)

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to tag @gatherednutrition on INstagram so I can see what you made! Leaving a rating and review on the site is a huge help too!

  1. Amber says:

    Delish! It’s so hard to find a vegan Mac & Cheese recipe that isn’t super tangy, and this is it! Super yummy and flavorful. I used the rosemary & sea salt Simple Mills crackers and they were just as good!!

  2. Erinn says:

    This recipe has quickly become a favorite in our house! It’s so creamy and flavorful that the first few times I made it I didn’t even tell my picky eater boyfriend what was in it and he LOVED IT! It’s truly the perfect GF, DF Mac and cheese 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    This is by far the best vegan Mac and cheese recipe I’ve ever tried!!! What I love about this recipe is that not only is it super creamy and cheesy tasting, it doesn’t need tons of expensive cashews or an absurd amount of nutritional yeast like many of the others I‘ve tried. My skin is super sensitive to nutritional yeast and this amount doesn’t cause me to breakout or get a rash. I added some peas in the bake which ended up being awesome and the crackers on top are such a great touch!

  4. Hilary says:

    YUM almost ate it all

  5. Nicole says:

    loved this mac!! can’t wait to try again when i get a better blender, but even so, VERY SATISFYING

  6. Rachel says:

    So good! Made without garlic, used shredded cheddar instead of nutritional yeast and added some frozen peas. Ate it for three days in a row which I never normally do! Love that it’s a dairy free sauce without cashews. Will definitely make again!

  7. Jeni says:

    This is sooooo good! I needed some comfort food today and this hot the spot. Also, I licked the blender bowl of sauce clean. I could of just ate that. So tasty!

  8. Caitlyn says:

    WOW! I am lactose intolerant and this mac and cheese recipe definitely satisfied my craving of mac and cheese. This recipe is very easy to make and makes good leftovers.

  9. Evelyn says:

    This mac & cheese is absolutely delicious!! Tastes just like the real thing but there’s no dairy?! I’m impressed! I used some almond flour on top instead of crackers but it still crisped up perfectly. Thanks for another wonderful recipe 🙂

  10. Paige says:

    I was so nervous to make this, as this was my first dairy free mac and cheese, but it turned out so amazing!! Everyone loved it, even those that didn’t need to eat dairy free. Love that there’s even a great amount if veggies with the cauliflower in the sauce. Highly recommend and will be making again for sure!

  11. Chloe says:

    Seriously my favorite dairy free mac and cheese! So creamy and the flavor is perfect.

  12. Kacey says:

    Delicious! I added a little cayenne and mustard powder and also added some vegan parm (Dr. Greger’s recipe) to the topping with the crackers and we loved every bite! I froze the extra sauce it made since it was way too much for a pound of macaroni so now I don’t have to remake it for the next two times I make this!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Not vegan if butter is in it.

  14. Paula Moore says:

    Do you think I can freeze this? I have a two GF guests and one lactose-intolerant guest staying at our house for Xmas and I’m trying to do a lot of my food prep ahead of time.

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Simple. Attainable. Gathered Nutrition.