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Vegan Shells and Cheese

Inspired by Velveeta Shells and Cheese, this is an easy baked vegan shells and cheese recipe with carrots, nutritional yeast and vegan 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!

A few 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 vegan shells and cheese recipe makes a delicious side dish or meal for any time of year. Please enjoy 💚

And don’t miss more UVK recipes, like Vegan Stuffed Shells with Tofu Ricotta, Spinach and Fennel, Vegan Baked Pasta with Tofu Ricotta and Eggplant, Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup, Vegan Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries, Apples and Walnuts and more.

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

How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce for Shells and Cheese

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

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

3. After that, it’s time to work on the vegan cheese sauce for the shell pasta dish. 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 the carrots cook through, so they are easier to blend later.

Vegan Mac and Cheese with Vegan Cheese

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?).

7. Next, spread ⅓ of the sauce in the bottom of the greased 9″ X 13″ pan. Add the cooked shell pasta in a layer over the vegan cheese sauce. Then, pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta. Use a spatula or spoon to mix it up. Spread the vegan shells and cheese evenly across the bottom of the pan.

8. 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.

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

10. 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. Top the vegan shells and cheese with parsley, if using. Serve.

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