Ah, macaroni and cheese. The epitome of comfort food. A one-pot meal that can be eaten simple and cheesy, or dressed up with veggies, veggie bacon, or breadcrumbs. While there are plenty of ways to make yummy dairy-free mac and cheese at home – meltable vegan cheese shreds, nutritional yeast, nut cheeses, and even vegetables – sometimes it’s nice to have a boxed mac that can be prepared in less than an hour with just a pot of boiling water or even a microwave.
Now, there are skeptics out there who believe that no boxed vegan mac and cheese could possibly complete with the dairy original. That may have been the case a decade ago, but it isn’t anymore. There are several brands that have tried their hand at mac and cheese. Whether you like to deck your mac and cheese out with lots of extra veggies and vegan cheese shreds or like to pop it in the microwave and call it a night, there’s a product out there for you. Check out these 10 mac and cheese dishes that prove you don’t need dairy to make a mean mac!
Earth Balance Mac and Cheese
Earth Balance may have be most known for their buttery spreads but did you know they also make mac and cheese? Earth Balance Cheddar Mac and Cheese is made with bite-sized macaroni pasta and a creamy lactose and casein free cheese sauce primarily made primarily from sunflower oil and corn starch. Each box contains eight grams of protein and is made simply by boiling the pasta and then mixing in the sauce. If the Amazon reviews are any indication, it seems like this mac and cheese is definitely worth a try! People are saying that this product is tasty, satisfies cheesy cravings, and is very convenient and inexpensive. Some even say that it tastes just like the traditional dairy kind. You can get 12 boxes of the cheesy pasta for $34.
Namaste Foods Say Cheez
Namaste Foods Say Cheez is a cheesy mac and dinner that is ideal for people who are not only looking to gluten in addition to dairy. This soy-free and non-GMO product contains brown rice pasta and a cheesy seasoning made primarily from rice milk powder, quinoa flour, chickpea flour, non-dairy cheese flavor, turmeric, onion, and paprika. To enjoy this dish, you have to boil the pasta and then combine the seasoning with a bit of water, oil, and non-dairy butter. Reviewers are reporting that while this mac and cheese doesn’t taste like Kraft, it has a delicious flavor and consistency, is enjoyable for people of all ages, and “does not taste fake or gritty.” Some people have even been adding their own touch to the product by adding tomatoes, zucchini, and broccoli. You can get six nine-ounce boxes for about $24.50.
Daiya Cheesy Mac
If you like Daiya’s cheese slices and shreds, you will most likely like their mac, too! Daiya Cheezy Mac is made from brown rice pasta, filtered water, tapioca starch, non-GMO expeller pressed: canola and/or safflower oil, coconut oil, sea salt, vegan natural flavors, pea protein isolate, potato protein, and tricalcium. Reviewers are reporting that this product is creamy, decently nutritious, and apparently tastes “exactly like regular mac and cheese.” One reviewer even said they would give this product 40 stars if they could. That’s enthusiastic! To try it for yourself, you can get a pack of eight 10.6-ounce boxes for $35.
Road’s End Mac and Chreese
Road’s End Mac and Chreese is a U.S. product with organic whole wheat elbows made from Italy. The sauce used in this dairy-free mac is made primarily from organic unbleached wheat flour, enriched nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, salt, and spices. The reviews on this product are fairly mixed. Folks who were expecting a very cheddar-y and authentic cheese flavor were disappointed. Others liked the savory taste of the product and even added in their own ingredients like nutritional yeast, non-dairy cheese shreds, if they wanted if they wanted it to be “cheesier.” You may want to try it from a health food store first, or you can get 12 6.5-ounce boxes for about $30.
Kim's Simple Meals: Macaroni Casserole
Kim’s Simple Meals: Macaroni Casserole is an organic and gluten-free product that contains gluten-free brown rice macaroni and a cheese sauce made from oat flour, sea salt, sugar, dehydrated vegetables, yeast powder, annatto powder, and a few other ingredients. While reviewers seemed to like it, most felt that extra seasoning was a must because, otherwise, the product tasted bland. People added more nutritional yeast and spices like paprika and turmeric. To see if you like it, you can get a pack of six boxes for a little over $30.
Beyond Better Savory Sunflower Cheese Sauce
Beyond Better Sunflower Cheese is a sauce that is marketed specifically as perfect instant mac and cheese sauce. Now, when looking at sunflower seeds, the last thing you probably think about is cheese, let alone mac and cheese. But as Beyond Better Savory Sunflower Cheese Sauce proves, with a little nutritional yeast, tapioca, sea salt, and plenty of herbs and spices, sunflower seeds can be transformed into a thick, velvety, and cheesy sauce that’s perfect for all of your mac needs! This sauce is free from soy, gluten, and grains, and each serving (1/4 cup) has six grams of protein. One packet makes three cups worth of sauce simply by adding hot water and mixing and reviewers have been loving it on mac and cheese. You can get one package for a little over $8.50.
Pastariso Vegan Mac Uncheddar
Pastariso Vegan Mac Uncheddar is a gluten-free and soy-free mac meal that combines brown rice pasta with a sauce made primarily from pea protein powder, organic maltodextrin, sunflower oil, and cornstarch. The entire meal is non-GMO. To enjoy this meal, simply add vegan butter and some type of non-dairy milk, Pastariso suggests almond or soy. Reviewers are saying that this mac tastes “just as good as Kraft,” does not taste “chemically or too strong of nutritional yeast” like some other brands, and is definitely filling. You can get a pack of six 5-ounce boxes for 17.00
Annie's Vegan Elbows and Creamy Sauce
While Annie’s makes several mac and cheese products using dairy, they also include one dairy-free variety in their collection: Annie’s Vegan Elbows and Creamy Sauce. This product is made from rice pasta, organic pumpkin and sweet potato powder, organic corn starch, organic tapioca starch, and a variety of seasonings. It is gluten-free, organic, and contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Reviewers are saying that while this product doesn’t perfectly emulate mac and cheese with dairy, it is delicious “in its own right” and is much healthier than other mac and cheeses on the market. One reviewer added apple cider vinegar to up the umami flavor of the dish. You can get a pack of 12 six-ounce boxes for about $28.
Daiya Alfredo Style Mac and Cheese
In addition to trying their hand at the traditional cheddar mac and cheese, Daiya decided to release Daiya Alfredo Style Mac and Cheese, as well. This product is made from brown pasta and a sauce made primarily from tapioca starch, filtered water, non-GMO safflower or canola oil, coconut oil, sea salt, pea protein isolate, and potato protein. Reviewers are saying that this mac is easy-to-prepare, has a taste and texture that is reminiscent of Velveeta, and is overall “impressive.” To see if you feel the same, you can get one 10.6-ounce box (three servings) for $10.
Amy’s Rice Macaroni and Cheeze
While most boxed mac and cheeses require boiling water and adding butter and non-dairy milk, Amy’s Rice Macaroni and Cheeze is ready to heat and serve. The product contains organic rice pasta, filtered water, and Daiya vegan cheddar cheese. It is gluten-free and soy-free and simply needs to be popped into the microwave or oven. Reviewers are saying that this mac and cheese entrée is extremely rich and creamy, tastes just like the dairy version of mac, and is very quick and easy to prepare. A few reviewers noted a slight after-taste to the dish, but this is not a consistent comment throughout. To see for yourself, you can get a pack of 12 single meals for about $57, that’s about $4.75 per meal.
Lead image source: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese