This vegan jalapeño garlic mac and cheese with broccoli is about to be your new favorite mac and cheese recipe. It's creamy and cheesy and such an easy stove-top dinner that comes together quickly. No baking required!
This easy mac and cheese recipe is a combination between a vegan jalapeno popper mac and cheese and (my childhood favorite) broccoli mac and cheese.
The creamy vegan "cheese sauce" is cashew-free, making this a great allergen friendly dish to share at your next gathering. It's also a go-to easy dinner dish as it's made with store-bought shredded vegan cheese and soy milk. No soaking or blending required!
If spicy + cheesy and creamy goodness is your thing, be sure to also check out my jalapeño popper dip - it's the perfect game day snack.
Vegan broccoli jalapeño garlic mac and cheese ingredients & substitutions
- (GF) Pasta
- Vegan cheese
- Unsweetened and unflavored soy milk. I haven't tried this recipe with any other plant-based milk.
- Vegan butter (optional, but recommended for a creamier, richer tasting mac and cheese)
- Salt + pepper
- Broccoli florets, fresh or frozen. Alternatively, use chopped kale, spinach, or sautéed zucchini.
- Pickled jalapeños - one of my favorite additions for flavor and a kick of heat. Omit if you are sensitive to spice
- Garlic - minced garlic works best here, garlic granules won't result in the same flavor but can be used if needed.
- Avocado oil or other neutral oil of choice
Top tips for making vegan broccoli mac and cheese
- Pasta ingredients. Use a non-legume based pasta. We are not rinsing the pasta after cooking in this recipe, therefore a rice or (gf) flour pasta works best. I used and highly recommended Jovial pasta (at Whole Foods & on Amazon), It's gluten-free but no one will ever know or taste the difference!
- Pasta shape. This recipe tastes best with shells or elbows (or other short pasta) but ziti, rigatoni, penne, or rotini will also work in a pinch.
- Don't skip the salt. Add about a heaping teaspoon of salt to the pot of water and bring to a boil. Salting the pasta creates a more flavorful pasta and prevents the noodles from congealing. Most of the salt doesn't stay in the pasta, so don't worry, it won't taste super salty. This article from the Washington post is helpful if you're interested in knowing more about the perfect amount of salt to add to pasta water.
- Customize. For a cheesier pasta, add more cheese. Add more milk for creaminess. For additional heat, add more jalapeños (or jalapeno juice) or cayenne pepper.
Storing and reheating homemade mac and cheese
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
How to reheat mac and cheese:
- In the microwave: add to a microwave safe bowl with a splash of soy milk for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until desired temperature is reached.
- Via stovetop: add to a small saucepan over medium-low heat with a large splash of soy milk. Stir. When noodles are soft and warm, the pasta is ready to be devoured!
For extra cheesy leftovers, add 1-2 tablespoons of additional cheese before reheating.
Vegan Broccoli Jalapeño Garlic Mac and Cheese
- cutting board + knife
- stock pot or something similar (to cook pasta in)
- small skillet
- 12 oz / 3.5 cups dry pasta I used Jovial elbows
- 2 ½ cups broccoli florets fresh or frozen
- 1 heaping cup vegan parmesan or mozzerella cheese I used Follow Your Heart
- ⅓ cup unsweetened and unflavored soy milk
- 2 tablespoons vegan salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon EACH of salt + pepper
Crispy Garlic & Jalapeños
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ¼ cup pickled jalapeño, roughly chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced about 2 tablespoons
- black pepper
- (GF) breadcrumbs
- hemp seeds
- Prep: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil*. While you wait for the pasta to boil, mince the garlic and chop the jalapeños. Warm a small skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil and then the jalapeños. Sauté undisturbed for 3 minutes, stir, and then cook for another 2 (or until the jalapeños have started to crisp/golden). Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat (but keep on the pan).
- Cook pasta + broccoli: add pasta and stir. Cook for 10 minutes (or until tender). Add broccoli when the pasta has about 4-6 minutes left (4 for fresh, 6 for frozen). *Pasta and broccoli are done when both are tender. Test a piece of the pasta to ensure it's ready especially if using frozen broccoli, it may need an additional minute or two to cook. Remove from heat and strain - DO NOT RINSE.
- Combine ingredients: Add strained pasta back to the pot along with the crisped jalapeños and garlic, cheese, butter, salt, pepper, and soy milk. Place over low heat and stir to combine + help the cheese and butter melt. Once melted and creamy, remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving (this allows all of the flavors to combine).
- Serve with an extra sprinkle of pepper, hemp seeds, and/or breadcrumbs. Enjoy!
- For a cheesier pasta, add more cheese. Add more milk for creaminess. For additional heat, add more jalapeños (or jalapeno juice) or cayenne pepper.