Sunny Mac & Cheese (plant-based, gluten-free)

5 from 1 vote
Sunflower seed cheese, you ask? Don't laugh.
Even our most serious mac & cheese lovers went back for multiple helpings of this rich and delicious dinner treat.
It's very easy to blend and boil the ingredients, then scoop it all into a bowl.
Ultimate comfort.
For today's inspiration, here is a quote from Audre Lorde:
"Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me."
In other words, if you accept yourself, it's a lot harder for other people to hurt you.
Wishing you self-acceptance and a big hug today.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Keyword comfort food, gluten-free, pasta, plant-based


Sunflower cheese sauce

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots or orange peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Other ingredients

  • 1 pound gluten-free pasta: elbows or small shells work nicely
  • Cauliflower or green beans


  • Cover the sunflower seeds in water and soak overnight at room temperature in a small bowl, or soak them in really hot water for 10 minutes, and then drain.
  • In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the carrots, onions, and salt together for about 10 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Scoop the carrot-onion-garlic mix into your blender and add the sunflower seeds, broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste. Blend until it’s very smooth, then transfer it back to your pot.
  • Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until it’s nice and thick. Add in the lemon juice and adjust salt/pepper as needed.
  • While the sauce is thickening, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook your pasta with the cauliflower or green beans together (a nifty pro tip!) for however many minutes the pasta package says.
  • Drain the pasta and veggies, then mix in all of the sauce to create a thick, cheesy, delicious dinner. Serve your sunflower mac & cheese hot in your favorite bowl. It’s also wonderful as leftovers the next day!
Did you make this? Tag @maitricooks on Instagram and leave a rating in the comments below. Lots of love! 
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