Easy Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese
5 from 5 votes

This quick and easy vegan roasted red pepper mac and cheese is one of my favorite weeknight comfort foods. The savory and creamy sauce is made with roasted red peppers, cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, and white miso. Preparing the mac and cheese is as easy as blending the sauce and pouring it over cooked pasta! Best of all, you have the option of preparing the sauce in advance, so that you can have a crowd-pleasing dinner on the table in no time.

A round, white ceramic bowl has been filled with a plant-based mac and cheese. The mac and cheese has red peppers in the sauce, so it has a lovely orange color.

I don’t tend to equate comfort food with convenience or ease.

A lot of my own favorite comfort foods—baked casseroles, enchiladas, lasagna, lentil loaf, veggie pot pie—involve a lot of prep work and long cooking times.

I don’t mind this. In some ways, part of the joy of a comfort food meal is knowing that love and care were poured into its preparation.

Still, it’s always a joy when something that’s quintessential comfort food, a dish that takes us right back to childhood, and to feeling cared for, also happens to be extremely easy.

That’s the deal with this vegan roasted red pepper mac and cheese.

In spite of being creamy and comforting, it’s also really fast, especially if you prepare your roasted peppers in advance or use the store-bought kind.

From that point forward, the dish is as simple as blending a sauce, boiling some pasta, and mixing everything together.

An angled photograph of a vegan red pepper mac and cheese, which is served in a round, white ceramic bowl. The bowl is resting on a white surface.

Roasted red peppers: a culinary VIP

My choice to add roasted peppers to this dish was driven by the fact that I tend to have them around a lot during the summer.

An overhead image of roasted red bell peppers, which are resting in a small pinch bowl.
Roasted red peppers add subtle sweetness to sauces and dips. If you use store-bought roasted red peppers, which are marinated in vinegar, then the peppers will also add acidity to your recipes.

I make big batches—6 or so roasted peppers at a time—and store them in the fridge for quick and easy use.

I love their flavor (much more than I love the taste or texture of raw peppers), and I love how easily they can be blended into dressings, hummus, or my favorite homemade sunflower seed romesco.

Red peppers also add a ton of concentrated pepper flavor to salads, grain dishes, and all sorts of pasta, this one included.

An overhead image of a blender container, which has a square-shaped mouth. The container holds an orange-colored sauce.
A combination of red peppers and soaked cashews creates a creamy sauce for the mac and cheese.

Don’t have roasted peppers at home? Don’t worry. The store-bought variety will work perfectly here, too. Whatever you don’t use can stay in the jar and be used for other recipes throughout the week.

A stainless steel saucepan is pictured from above, resting on a white surface. The saucepan is filled with a creamy pasta.
You can use any short pasta shape for the mac and cheese recipe. I especially like to use lumache, shells, or elbows.

As you can see, I served my bowl with some hemp seeds for a touch of extra protein and texture, along with fresh thyme sprigs and some extra roasted bell pepper strips.

You could also pile the pasta high with my hemp seed “parmesan,”, fold in some extra roasted veggies or chickpeas, or top the mac with some of your favorite vegan meaty crumbles, soy curls, or my lemon pepper tempeh cubes.

There’s plenty of room to get creative!

An overhead image of a round, white ceramic bowl, which is filled with a vegan mac and cheese recipe. The color of the pasta sauce is vibrant orange.
I like to top my red pepper mac and cheese with homemade, vegan parmesan cheese.

And here’s the recipe.

A round, white ceramic bowl has been filled with a plant-based mac and cheese. The mac and cheese has red peppers in the sauce, so it has a lovely orange color.
5 from 5 votes

Easy Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup unroasted cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours and drained (70g)
  • 3/4 cup roasted red bell pepper (170g; you can use store-bought, roasted red peppers from a jar, or homemade roasted peppers)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (20g)
  • 2 tablespoons white miso (30g; substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons/20g brown or red miso)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup water (80ml)
  • 8 ounces pasta of choice, small or medium shape (I like to use elbows or small shells for this recipe)
  • cashew parmesan cheese (optional, for topping)


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add your pasta of choice and cook according to package instructions.
  • While the pasta cooks, transfer your cashews, roasted peppers, garlic, onion powder, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon, salt, and pepper to a blender, along with 1/3 cup water. Blend till smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of extra water if the sauce is overly thick or difficult to blend (it should be about the texture of an alfredo sauce). Taste sauce and add salt and pepper as desired.
  • When the pasta is ready, drain it and fold in your sauce (you may not use all of it; if you have some leftover, it can be thinned and used as a salad dressing!). Divide pasta onto plates and top as desired. Serve.


Leftover sauce will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.


Making this dish has me thinking about other ways to flavor the sauce; I’m guessing that roasted tomatoes would be a wonderful alternative to the roasted peppers. Also, it’s fine to serve the dish with spaghetti or linguine or penne instead of the macaroni, and call it creamy red pepper pasta instead.

There are some traditional comfort food dishes that I’ve veganized simply because I’m curious about how they’d turn out, or because I think that friends, family, or loved ones will enjoy them. Mac n’ cheese is a lot more personal for me–it’s more than an culinary idea, if that makes sense. It was one of my favorite meals growing up, and my Mom made it a lot, right out of that famous blue and and orange box.

Mac n’ cheese still brings up childhood memories for me, which may be why I make it more regularly and happily than a lot of other nostalgic dishes. The fact that my favorite vegan mac n’ cheese recipes are almost as easy as preparing the store-bought stuff is a very nice added bonus. Hope you’ll enjoy this recipe, too, especially while peppers are still bright and in season!



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Categories: Recipes, Pasta
Method: Blender, Stovetop
Ingredients: Cashew Nuts
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: 30 Minute or Less, Quick & Easy

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    This is truly the best sauce I have found in my endless recipe search. My husband and I have been making this weekly to eat on everything – we love it in grain bowls and for dipping! Thank you for this!

  2. Ever since I saw your vegan mac n cheese from your cookbook and also on Jessie’s blog, it’s been on my list to try and now I want this red pepper version too. I’m with you- I love roasted peppers and it adds such a nice color to this pasta!

  3. 5 stars
    aw no way! i went to make vegan mac yesterday with roasted red peppers, but went o the fridge and we were out! 🙁
    it still turned out great though, my dad had seconds!
    also, i love your hempsian! i need to make another batch to keep on hand 🙂

  4. That’s funny, I also think of more complicated prep when it comes to comfort food. But you’re right that a super easy comforting meal has a lot of appeal too – I wish I had time to make vegan pot pies every day but it’s just not going to happen. I love the added roasted peppers to your mac and cheese, such a great twist!

  5. Ooh, this looks delicious! I’ll have to try it with roasted tomatoes. I’ve always thought tomatoes ought to go perfectly with mac and cheese, but never been able to get it quite right before; I think roasting them just might be the answer!