Creamy Garlic & Mushroom Mac n Cheese with Garlic Panko Crust

This recipe is hands down, the best pasta dish I have ever tried, vegan or non-vegan.
The garlic and mushroom cashew cream sauce blends perfectly with the smokiness of the paprika and the cheesy flavour of the nutritional yeast.
Topped with oven-baked crispy garlic panko, this dish is the perfect comfort food on its own, as a side or accompanying a salad.
Can also be made completely gluten free by choosing gluten free pasta and panko or by using vegetables or vegetable spirals instead.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Australian, Italian
Servings 6


  • Blender or stick blender


  • 325 g pasta spirals or macaroni elbows
  • 500 g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 med onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in boiling water for minimum 10 min
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 cup plant milk I use oat milk for its neutrality
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Place Cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water, soaking for 10 minutes then preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  • In a large pot, cook pasta to packet directions until al-dente (do not overcook), drain and set aside.
  • Brown mushrooms in a dry, non stick fry pan. A lot of water comes out of mushrooms, just let them simmer until all water evaporates then they will brown up. Once they have browned add a small amount of oil and the onions. Sauté until onions are soft then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place all of the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth. (Can also use a stick blender).
  • In a separate bowl, add all Panko mix and stir with a fork until well combined.
  • Place pasta back into the cooled saucepan along with the mushrooms and onions, and the sauce. Stir well until all ingredients are combined.
  • Now pour the pasta mix into a casserole dish, evenly sprinkle the panko mix over the top and pop it in the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Serve in a bowl or as a side dish and garnish with chopped eschalots.


Add more milk for a saucier dish.
Keyword cashew cream, garlic, Mac n cheese,, mushrooms, panko, pasta