Vegan Mac And Cheese Taco Bake – Mac Taco Casserole


Vegan Mac and Cheese Taco Bake with Walnut Taco Meat and Vegan Cashew Queso combines two family favorites into one epic vegan casserole that comes together quickly! Make it tonight.

a serving of vegan taco mac and cheese casserole with a fork on the side

Vegan Taco Mac and Cheese Bake! Yes, we’re combining two family favorites, pasta and tacos, into one epic weeknight dinner casserole!  This easy vegan taco mac and cheese bake is sure to please any picky eater. Made with seasoned walnut taco meat, tomatoes and vegan queso made from cashews all tossed with elbow pasta.

Taco Mac Casserole is a very popular box recipe that you might have loved before going vegan. Trust me when I say it’s way better homemade and plant-based! So much more flavorful than anything that comes from a box!

I love serving this sprinkled with some crushed tortilla chips, some pickled jalapeños and tomatoes. This is an amazing vegan casserole dish for Taco Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo, or for whenever you are feeding a crowd. Easy to make with simple ingredients and the flavors are out of this world.

a casserole dish with vegan mac and cheese bake topped with crushed tortilla chips

What’s not to love about two of your favorite classic dinners – Tacos and Macaroni and Cheese – mixed together to make a satisfying, hearty meal!

a serving of vegan mac and cheese taco bake drizzled with vegan sour cream

MORE PASTA MEALS FROM THE BLOG

Vegan Taco Mac and Cheese Bake

Vegan Mac and Cheese Taco Bake with Walnut Taco Meat and Vegan Cashew Queso combines two family favorites into one epic vegan casserole that comes together quickly! Make it tonight.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time45 mins

Total Time55 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Tex Mex

Keyword: taco mac and cheese, vegan taco casserole, vegan taco mac bake

Servings: 4

Calories: 612kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

For the Walnut Chickpea Taco Meat:

  • ½ cup (58.5 g) raw walnuts
  • ¾ cup (123 g) cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomato packed in olive oil or 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder blend I use chipotle powder chili blend, which a lot more flavor of the chipotle chili
  • ½ jalapeno
  • 1 pickled jalapeno
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp oregano

For the Cashew Queso:

  • ¾ cup of raw cashews soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder blend
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Chipotle pepper flakes or chipotle pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp Miso
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water

For the Mac Bake:

  • 2 cups (120 g) elbows or mac or other pasta
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes or fresh salsa
  • 2 cups (475 ml) water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Pickled Jalapeno
  • 2 tbsp tortilla chips crushed, optional

Instructions

To make the walnut chickpea taco meat:

  • Add the walnuts to a food processor, and process until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is homogeneously combined and there are no whole chickpeas remaining, but it still has texture.

  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and taste and adjust flavor. If the mixture is too dry add in a tsp or so of oil, or lime juice, and mix in.

To make the Cashew Queso:

To assemble:

  • Grease a baking dish, about 8 by 10 inch baking dish, or similar size, really well. Add your pasta , and spread all over.

  • Scoop the walnut taco meat mixture using a cookie scoop or spoon, and place it on top of the elbows.

  • And some tomato or salsa, you can also add in the pickled Jalapenos if you like.

  • Drizzle your cashew queso and sprinkle some salt all over. Then pour 2 cups of water. all of the mixture should be evenly covered.

  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

  • Remove the dish. You can check at 40 minutes if the top is set, and that the pasta is cooked from the edge and remove it or continue to bake another five minutes.

  • Sprinkle the top with some crushed tortilla chips, sliced up pickled jalapenos, and serve.

Notes

  • When making the walnut taco meat, make sure to not overmix it. Over-processing will turn the mixture into a pate texture.
  • You could add some chopped shiitake mushrooms to the taco meat instead of the sun-dried tomatoes. You might have to add some more salt.
  • If you don’t have miso paste, add more nutritional yeast

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Taco Mac and Cheese Bake

Amount Per Serving

Calories 612 Calories from Fat 216

% Daily Value*

Fat 24g37%

Saturated Fat 3g19%

Trans Fat 1g

Sodium 761mg33%

Potassium 796mg23%

Carbohydrates 81g27%

Fiber 9g38%

Sugar 8g9%

Protein 21g42%

Vitamin A 944IU19%

Vitamin C 9mg11%

Calcium 97mg10%

Iron 6mg33%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ingredients:

  • the vegan taco meat is made from walnuts and chickpeas – blitzed in the food processor
  • sun-dried tomatoes add some umami to the taco meat
  • smoked paprika, cumin, garlic onion, and chili powder spice up your plant-based taco meat.
  • the Mexican queso cheese sauce is made from soaked cashews
  • nutritional yeast and miso paste add cheesiness and umami to the cheese sauce
  • chili powder and pepper flakes for spiciness

ingredients needed for making vegan walnut taco meat

  • I use elbow pasta here – the obvious choice for all mac and cheese bakes.
  • crushed tortilla chips, jalapenos and tomatoes are my favorite toppings.

overhead shot of ingredients needed for making vegan mac and cheese taco bake

Tips:

  • When making the walnut taco meat, make sure to not overmix it. Over-processing will turn the mixture into a pate texture.
  • You could add some chopped shiitake mushrooms to the taco meat instead of the sun-dried tomatoes. You might have to add some more salt.
  • If you don’t have miso paste, add more nutritional yeast

How to make Vegan Taco Mac and Cheese Bake:

How to make Vegan Walnut Taco Meat:

Add the walnuts to a food processor, and process until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is homogeneously combined and there are no whole chickpeas remaining, but it still has texture.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and taste and adjust flavor. If the mixture is too dry add in a tsp or so of oil, or lime juice, and mix in.

How to make Vegan Cashew Queso:

Drain the cashews, and add to a blender along with half a cup of water. Blend with the rest of the ingredients until really really smooth and set aside.

Assemble the Mac Taco Bake

vegan taco meat being scooped on top of elbow pasta to make mac taco bake

Grease a baking dish, about 8 by 10-inch baking dish, or similar size, really well. Add your pasta, and spread all over.
Scoop the walnut taco meat mixture using a cookie scoop or spoon, and place it on top of the elbows.

mac and cheese taco bake with vegan walnut taco meat

And some tomato or salsa, you can also add in the pickled Jalapenos if you like.

vegan queso sauce being poured over mac and cheese taco casserole

Drizzle your cashew queso and sprinkle some salt all over. Then pour in 2 cups of water – it should all be evenly covered.

vegan mac and cheese taco bake ready to go into the oven

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
Remove the dish. You can check at 40 minutes if the top is set, and that the pasta is cooked from the edge and remove it or continue to bake another five minutes. Sprinkle the top with some crushed tortilla chips, sliced up pickled jalapenos, and serve.

a serving of vegan taco bake with walnut taco meat and vegan cashew queso

 

 



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