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+ servings

Heartwarming Vegan Mac & Cheese with Tempeh Bacon

This vegan mac & cheese recipe with butternut squash is a bowl of comfort. Made with cashews, nutritional yeast and seasonings, it’s bold, flavourful and full of nutrients. Not too bad for comfort food, right? This dish also offers a hearty serving of protein with the added tempeh bacon.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Vegan
Servings 6
Calories 857 kcal


  • Blender
  • Pressure cooker (Handy but not necessary.)


Butternut cheeze sauce

  • 1 butternut squash roasted
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup soy milk other plant milks work too
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Lemon juiced
  • 1/3 cup flour

Tempeh Bacon

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 240g packages of tempeh cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Pasta and more

  • 900g macaroni pasta cooked, al dente
  • 1 cup panko flakes optional for crispy finish
  • 1 cup melty vegan cheese (I like Parmela brand) optional; I usually don't include it
  • Caribbean scotch bonnet pepper sauce optional: to serve on the side for those who like heat


Roast or steam your butternut squash

  • Roast method: Preheat oven at 375°F /190°C. Cut butternut squash in two down the middle. Remove seeds and lay flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet—Bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool and scoop out flesh from the skin. Discard skins and stem.
  • Steam method: Using a pressure cooker, place the whole butternut squash in your pressure pot with one inch of water at the bottom. Cut the squash in two if it doesn't fit in your pot —steam for 10 minutes with an electric Instant Pot or 20 minutes with stovetop pressure cookers. Let cool and peel off skins and discard.

Make butternut cheeze sauce

  • Add all cheeze ingredients, except flour, into a blender and blend on high. Note: You may need to do this in sections in you have a small blender.
  • Pour blended cheeze sauce into a large saucepot. Cook over low to medium heat, continually stirring for about 5 minutes, or until the raw onion taste subsides. Add flour, a little at a time, to thicken the sauce.

Make tempeh bacon

  • Stir water, molasses, tamari and maple syrup together in a small bowl.
  • Add cooking oil to a warm large frying pan over medium heat. Add tempeh and cook on one side until browned, then flip and cook the other side.
  • Once all the tempeh strips are brown on both sides, add the molasses sauce. It will bubble up a lot. Let the sauce cook down for just under a minute, and then flip the tempeh strips to get sauce on both sides. Note: watch the tempeh carefully at this point as the molasses can quickly burn.
  • Once the molasses sauce coats both sides of the tempeh and starts to harden, remove it from heat and place it on a cutting board. Cut strips into little bacon bits.


  • Mix cheeze sauce and pasta together in a large bowl or pot. Sprinkle in tempeh bacon.
  • Optional step: Add mac & cheese to two large (approx. 9" by 13") baking dishes and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and/or store-bought vegan cheeze of choice (I like Parmela). Bake at 375°F /190°C for 20 minutes. Change the oven setting to broil and finish off with 5 minutes under the broiler for a crispy finish.


Calories: 857kcal | Carbohydrates: 169g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 1354mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 13882IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 217mg | Iron: 6mg
Keyword Vegetarian
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