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Vegan Shells and Cheese

Vegan Breaded Mac and Cheese Recipe

This easy vegan shells and cheese recipe takes inspiration from Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Much like the beloved boxed cheesy pasta, the vegan cheese sauce is blended until it’s aerated, creamy and smooth.  Unlike Velveeta Shells and Cheese, these vegan cheesy shells are baked and topped with crispy, garlic bread crumbs. Altogether, it’s so good!

Two things…

  • ・For the bread crumbs, use day old bread. Just pop a few slices in the blender, pulverize them, and you’re set.
  • ・If you don’t have a high speed blender, it’s important to cook the carrots in the sauce. If you don’t, your regular blender may leave you with noticeable bits of carrot.
  • ・For a variation, top with crumbled tempeh bacon before baking.  

This recipe makes a delicious side dish or meal for any time of year!

Baked vegan shells and cheese with a side of broccoli

Vegan Shells and Cheese

16 ounce package of shell pasta

6 Tbsp vegan butter

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups water

½ cup shredded carrots

¼ cup nutritional yeast

½ tsp dijon mustard

1¼ tsp garlic powder

2 cups shredded vegan cheese (I shredded a block of Daiya Medium Cheddar, but the shreds work great too)

2 cups bread crumbs

¼ tsp salt (+ more to taste)

Chopped fresh parsley, to top – optional

1.  Preheat oven to 400º F.  Grease a 9″ X 13″ pan, and set aside.  

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the shell pasta. Boil for ~10 minutes (or according to the directions on the package). Drain, rinse and set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp vegan butter, and then, stir in flour to create a paste.  Add the water and whisk continuously over medium-high heat until it thickens.

4. Once the sauce thickens, stir in shredded carrots and continue whisking over medium-low heat for 4 more minutes.  You want to make sure they cook through, so they are easier to blend later.

5. Remove from heat and whisk in nutritional yeast, dijon, and 1 tsp garlic powder.  Stir in the vegan shredded cheese.  

6. Add contents of the saucepan to a blender. Blend until very, very smooth.  Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (salt? more nutritional yeast? more vegan cheese?). Then, spread ⅓ of the sauce in the bottom of the greased 9″ X 13″ pan.

7. Add the cooked shell pasta in a layer over the vegan cheese sauce in the pan. Then, pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta. Use a spatula or spoon to mix it up.

8. Then, spread the shell pasta in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.

9. Melt the remaining 3 Tbsp of vegan butter. Add to a mixing bowl with the bread crumbs, ¼ tsp garlic powder and ¼ tsp salt. Mix together.

10. Spread the bread crumbs over the top of the shells and cheese. Bake uncovered at 400º F for 25-30 minutes.

11. At the end of baking, turn on BROIL to crisp up the bread crumbs. Keep a close eye on it through this process to prevent burning. When the bread crumbs are slightly browned, remove it from the oven.

12. Top with parsley, if using. Serve.

An easy vegan shells and cheese recipe baked in the oven