Creamy Vegan Truffle Mac with Crunchy Kale Topping

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 12 votes

This creamy vegan truffle mac contains 7 vegetables! The lush texture of the blended sauce comes from cooked squash, potato, zucchini, and roasted red pepper. Leeks, miso, garlic, nutritional yeast, spices, lemon, and truffle oil bring flavour and depth to the sauce.

An overhead shot shows a bowl of creamy truffle mac pasta topped with crushed up bits of crunchy baked kale. A fork is sticking out of the individual serving. A lit candle is nearby.

Craving a comfort food dinner that’s still veggie-packed and wholesome? Try this creamy vegan truffle mac with crunchy kale topping! The cooking time is about 45 minutes with both the oven and stovetop. The luscious sauce is loaded up with butternut squash, zucchini, roasted red peppers, potato, leeks, and carrots. For richness and flavour, I incorporate truffle oil, miso, Tamari, garlic, spices, nutritional yeast, lemon, and soaked raw cashews. Serve this unbelievably rich sauce with cooked pasta of your choice and crushed up crispy-baked kale on top. This dish is ideal for the lovers of creamy vegan pasta options.

An overhead shot shows a bowl of creamy truffle mac pasta topped with crushed up bits of crunchy baked kale. A fork is sticking out of the individual serving. Another serving of the truffle mac is in the corner of the frame and a lit candle is nearby; all on a worn wood background.
An overhead shot shows ingredients for a creamy vegan truffle mac pasta dish: miso, grainy mustard, garlic, truffle oil, nutritional yeast, butternut squash, potato, whole wheat pasta, roasted red peppers in a jar, kale, zucchini, carrot, leek, lemon, spices, and raw cashews soaking in water.
An overhead shot shows vegetable prep for a creamy truffle mac sauce: diced carrots, minced garlic, sliced leeks, diced butternut squash, diced potato in a measuring cup, and diced peeled zucchini; all on a plate.

Certain vegetables can be blended up into a creamy sauce and offer a shockingly rich mouthfeel. I used pretty much all of my go-tos in this creamy vegan truffle mac! Dices of carrot, potato, leeks, butternut squash, peeled zucchini and jarred roasted red peppers get blended up with all sorts of punchy ingredients for a robust, ultra creamy sauce. Rich truffle pasta, but with a health vibe spin. This sauce is a more veggie-packed version of the one in my baked potatoes with cheesy roasted red pepper sauce & broccoli.

I utilize a lot of umami-rich ingredients and just very strongly flavoured pantry items to punch up the sauce (so that it doesn’t taste like glorified puréed vegetable soup). Miso, truffle oil, and Tamari bring savoury depth. Nutritional yeast has that slight cheesy flavour. Lemon juice is squeezed in for tang. Grainy mustard and spices play their part too. Soaked raw cashews offer that crucial richness! If folks are curious, I use this truffle oil by Martelli, which contains only olive oil and white truffle.

More cozy vegan pasta recipes:

I top this vegan pasta with crushed up kale chips essentially. Any time I’m making a mac and cheese-inspired recipe, I absolutely need a crunchy topping for texture contrast. I thought the kale would be a fun and unusual option here that would also provide a pretty visual. It also brings us up to 7 vegetables total! I usually have to stop myself from eating half of the kale before the pasta’s done haha.

This recipe is best right when it’s made. I find that the sauce thickens a bit too much as it sits with the pasta. You can definitely make the sauce alone up to 5 days ahead of time though! Just keep it in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat on the stove before combining with pasta.

An overhead shot shows a hand holding a small bottle of truffle oil near a blender pitcher.
An overhead shot shows super creamy vegan truffle mac in a pot with a spatula. The sauce is light orange and looks incredible rich.
An up close, slight 3/4 angle shot shows a bowl of creamy truffle mac pasta topped with crushed up bits of crunchy baked kale. A fork is sticking out of the individual serving.
A head-on image shows a forkful of vegan truffle mac.

Creamy Vegan Truffle Mac with Crunchy Kale Topping

This creamy vegan truffle mac contains 7 vegetables! The lush texture of the blended sauce comes from cooked squash, potato, zucchini, and roasted red pepper. Leeks, miso, garlic, nutritional yeast, spices, lemon, and truffle oil bring flavour and depth to the sauce.
5 from 12 votes
An overhead shot shows a bowl of creamy truffle mac pasta topped with crushed up bits of crunchy baked kale. A fork is sticking out of the individual serving. A lit candle is nearby.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Crunchy Kale

  • 4 cups chopped kale, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Truffle Mac

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), sliced (1 heaped cup sliced leeks)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped (1 cup chopped potato)
  • ½ small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (1 cup chopped squash)
  • 1 small zucchini, peeled and chopped (1 cup chopped zucchini)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped (½ cup chopped carrot)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar)
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light miso
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 teaspoons truffle oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari
  • 1 lb (454 grams) elbow pasta (I used whole wheat)

Equipment

Notes

  •  I prefer roasted red peppers in a jar here because they tend to be sweeter and have more flavour overall. 
  • Cashews really do make this sauce so creamy. If you need to substitute them, my go-tos are raw sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or raw macadamia nuts (soak mac nuts for at least 8 hours).
  • Peeling the zucchini enhances the creamy orange colour of the sauce. If the visuals are not important to you, you can leave the skin on.
  • You need just enough vegetable stock/water to barely cover the vegetables as they simmer. If in doubt, veer towards less as you can always add more to the blender when whizzing up the sauce at the end.
  • The truffle oil that I buy (by Martelli Foods) contains just olive oil and white truffle. I recommend seeking out something similar!

Instructions

Make the crunchy kale:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the kale on the baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Rub the oil and seasoning into the leaves and then spread out in a single layer. Bake in the oven until beginning to crisp up, about 15 minutes. The kale will continue to crisp as it cools. Set aside.

Make the vegan truffle mac:

  • Heat a medium (3 quart) saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, pour in the olive oil and swirl it around. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Sauté for another minute.
  • Add the chopped potato, butternut squash, zucchini, and carrot to the pot and stir. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour in the vegetable stock and cover the pot. Bring the vegetables to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the vegetables and broth to an upright blender. To the blender, add the roasted red pepper, drained cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, mustard, truffle oil, and Tamari. Blend this mixture on high until you have a thick and creamy sauce, adding more stock/water if necessary. Give the sauce a taste and adjust seasoning to your tastes if necessary (more salt, lemon, truffle oil etc).
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. Put the pot back on the stove to heat through if necessary.
  • To serve, portion the truffle mac into bowls and then crush the crunchy kale over top with your hands. I like to grind extra black pepper on the top as well.
An up close, slight 3/4 angle shot shows a bowl of creamy truffle mac pasta topped with crushed up bits of crunchy baked kale. A fork is sticking out of the individual serving.
14/02/2024
Posted in: autumn, carrots, cashews, creamy, earthy, gluten free option, holidays, kale, main course, pasta, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, sauce, side dish, spring, umami, vegan, winter

12 comments

5 from 12 votes (6 ratings without comment)

Recipe Rating




  • Heather

    5 stars
    I am a longtime vegan and just discovered your blog. I’m looking forward to trying your version of vegan mac and plan to add some blackened tofu.

    Many thanks for the recipe.

  • Becki

    5 stars
    Made this tonight – it’s terrific! The sauce is yummy (even without truffle oil, which I didn’t have. I used some mushroom powder, which I did have). The crunchy kale is very addictive.
    Also, we didn’t measure the vegetables (actually we did measure them and we used more than the recipe called for), which is why we ended up with extra sauce. So now I have sauce in my soupercubes ready for another meal – big win!

    • Laura Wright

      Soupercubes to the rescue! They are one of my favourite kitchen gadgets/hacks for making our food life easier. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for leaving this review, Becki!
      -L

  • Jamie

    5 stars
    The best vegan Mac sauce I’ve ever tried. I opted to use the whole butternut squash and just leave out the potato, and I somehow ended up with double the amount of sauce! But no complaints; I happily froze it for more mac and “cheese” later.

  • Val

    5 stars
    This was so delicious! As always, Laura does a fantastic job at combining ingredients to bring out a subtle depth and richness in the meal. I love that this recipe doesn’t try to mimic typical mac-and-cheese, but creates a whole new delicious flavorful riff on mac-and-cheese that highlights the veggies and umami-filled ingredients! The portions are hearty and the crunchy kale topping is a perfect addition! We definitely will be adding this to the regular rotation.

  • Kat

    5 stars
    Made for dinner tonight and this was delectable!! Bafflingly, I absolutely could not find a butternut squash so I used a delicata (peeled) instead and it worked out great!

  • Charlotte

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!! 11/10

    Do you think the remainder of unused sauce could be frozen for later use? Thank you!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Charlotte! You can definitely freeze the sauce since it’s essentially an extra rich puréed soup. You may need to give it a strong whisk or re-blend after thawing, but flavour will still be great.
      -L

  • dawn

    will leaving out the zucchini hurt the recipe? i seriously dislike zucchini.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Dawn,
      You could leave it out and just sub a little more squash/potato/carrot :)
      -L

  • Nicole

    OMG. This looks AMAZING. Question, how detectable is the butternut squash? For some reason I have such a distaste for butternut squash, no matter how many times I try to like it!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Nicole,
      I don’t find it to be too detectable with everything else going on! But if you’re still hesitant, you can replace it with more potatoes and carrots :)
      -L