Creamy and delicious, this Vegan Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese with Leeks and Spinach is packed with flavour. This medley of flavours and textures is a spoonful of happiness and a great way to spruce up your mac n’ cheese recipe.
We love a good mac n’ cheese – it’s simple, delicious, and perfectly creamy. But sometimes we want to spruce it up a little bit. This recipes showcases the classic vegan white mac n’ cheese with roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed leeks, and spinach. Inspired by the the season and the bountiful leeks and sweet potatoes available this cheesy pasta truly celebrates seasonal produce.
And don’t worry, this is a great weeknight dinner! It’s super simple, needs just a sheet pan and a pot, and comes together in about 40 minutes. We love this recipe when we’re craving mac n’ cheese but don’t want to skimp on the veggies.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Celebrates seasonal produce!
- Creamy, cheesy goodness in every bite.
- A quick and simple weeknight meal.
Top tips for making vegan mac n’ cheese:
While this recipe is fairly straight forward to make, there some tips that can help you along the way. From choosing the right ingredients to the key techniques, these easy tips will make cooking this dish a breeze.
- Choose a good vegan cheese. Not all vegan cheese is created equal and you’ll want to pick a good one for this recipe. After all it’s in the name of the recipe, so it’s kind of important. We like to use Daiya cutting board shreds for for recipes like this.
- Adjust the veggies to your preferences. We know that everyone has different preferences. Feel free to substitute some of the veggies in this recipe for ones you love. For substitution recommendations keep reading.
- Use a pasta shape that holds onto the sauce. For the best mac n’ cheese we like to use a shape that can really hold onto the cheesy sauce. Think something with ridges or holes.
- Save the pasta water. Adding the pasta cooking water to your final sauce is what makes it so silky smooth and hold onto the pasta.
This recipe is packed full of delicious plant based ingredients and each one of them plays a part in the final result. However we understand that ingredients aren’t always available so we’ve detailed some recipe notes and substitutions that can be helpful.
- Sweet Potato – Sweet potato offers a sweet bite to this cheesy dish but if you don’t like sweet potato you can use butternut squash, acorn squash, or even carrots.
- Olive Oil – You can use any oil you like for this recipe but recommend one with a neutral flavour or a complimentary one.
- Liquid Smoke – If you can’t find liquid smoke you can use some smoked paprika to get that smoky flavour we love in this recipe.
- Vegan Butter – If you don’t have access to vegan butter you can use some coconut oil.
- Leeks – We recommend leeks, especially if they’re in season, but if you can’t find them you can substitute them with shallots, sweet onion, or green onion.
- Non-Dairy Milk – We use soy milk in most of our recipes because of it’s neutral flavour and creamy consistency. However you can use any non-dairy milk you want.
- Miso Paste – If you can always use miso when it calls for it, but if you absolutely need a substitute there are some options. Miso paste adds salt and umami to the dish. To achieve similar flavour you can use soy sauce or tahini.
- Spinach – Spinach is great in this dish but any of your favourite cooking leafy greens can work as a substitute.
What cheese is best for vegan mac n’ cheese?
Use a vegan cheese that melts well, has a good texture when melted, and has a delicious flavour. We like using different vegan cheese depending on what we have on hand and what we’re going for. For this recipe we used the Daiya Mozarella Cutting Board Shreds. We also like the Applewood Smoky Vegan Cheese Alternative.
Can you meal prep this?
Yes! You can make the each of the components ahead of time and put it all together in just minutes when ready to eat. We’d recommend only cooking the pasta, roasting the sweet potatoes, and cooking the leeks and garlic. Beyond that you can make a quick cheesy sauce when you’re ready to eat.
Other vegan pasta recipes you’ll love:
- Kale Pesto Pasta
- Vegan Scarlett’s Pasta
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta
How to make Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese with Leeks and Spinach:
Vegan Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese with Leeks and Spinach
- 300 g uncooked pasta
- 1 cup diced sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 150 g leeks, thinly sliced
- 3 clove garlic, sliced
- 1-2 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1.5 cups non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp bouillon paste
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups spinach
- salt + pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F and line and baking sheet.
- Place the squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and liquid smoke, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain and set aside.
- Heat the same pot over medium-heat, cook the leeks and garlic with vegan butter until softened – about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Sprinkle in all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add non-dairy milk, bouillon paste, and miso paste – stir until combined. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add shredded cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted and you have a creamy cheesy sauce.
- Add cooked pasta, sweet potatoes, and spinach to the cheesy sauce and stir to combine and to wilt the spinach.
- Serve with chopped chives (optional).