Vegan Chorizo Mac and Cheese ~ Savory Simple ~ www.savorysimple.netVegan Chorizo Mac and Cheese

Many of you probably don’t know that I spent a little over a year working as a line cook and pastry chef at a vegan restaurant near Washington DC. It began as my school externship and I stuck around for awhile after graduating because I liked the experience. Several people have asked why I chose to work in a vegan restaurant. There were many reasons. First of all, I was very annoyed by the stuffy attitude at my school where the instructors constantly insisted that a real meal must always include meat. I’m not even a vegetarian and I think that’s a load of crap. They need to get with the times. Secondly, I wanted to try something completely different after 6 months of non-stop heavy French cuisine. I wanted to think outside the box. The contentious side of me enjoyed telling my classmates where I was headed as they stared at me in horror. I was ultimately very glad I did this because I feel like I got a more well rounded education. I bet most of them would turn up their noses at this vegan chorizo macaroni and cheese but that’s their loss. This dish is incredibly comforting and perfect for vegans, vegetarians or anyone who likes to take a break from meat every now and then. You’d never know this was missing the cheese and real sausage aside from the fact that you feel much less heavy after eating it than you would after the real thing.

Vegan Chorizo Mac and Cheese ~ Savory Simple ~

Read more about my culinary school experience here.

I’ve used some specific brands in the recipe. For the most part I prefer to let you choose the brands but I recommend Daiya here. I cannot promise the same results if you use a different brand. Daiya melts like regular cheese which is why it works very well. I’m not a huge fan of the flavor by itself but when combined with nutritional yeast and soy milk it’s oddly reminiscent of Velveeta. Not elegant but pretty darn tasty. If you’re aware of a good substitute please let me know it in the comments!


Vegan Chorizo Mac and Cheese
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 box pasta shells (16 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups soy chorizo, diced small (I recommend Field Roast or Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 3 cups Daiya cheddar style shreds
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  1. Prepare pasta shells according to package directions and set aside.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil and then pan fry the chorizo. Allow it to caramelize well. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, bring soy milk to a simmer over medium. Whisk in Daiya cheddar and nutritional yeast and continue stirring until the "cheese" has dissolved and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Combine the pasta with ¾ of the "cheese" sauce. Serve in bowls garnished with the chorizo crumbles and some extra sauce drizzled on top.


More Vegan Recipes

Savory Simple – Spicy Tahini Kale Chips
Savory Simple – Vegan Banana Cream Popsicles
Savory Simple – Quinoa, Apple and Almond Salad with Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette
Damn Delicious – Sweet Potato and Lentil Chili
Climbing Grier Mountain – Vegan Stuffed Shells
Running to the Kitchen – Crispy Baked Butternut Squash Chips

  • Kristina

    I love that you chose a vegan restaurant externship!

    have you tried the (newer) Daiya wedge cheese? I have never really been a fan of the shreds either, and find the flavor of the blocks is much better! they have a jalapeno havarti (my favorite!) a jack and a cheddar… all melt wonderfully. I combine them with milk and tahini for an awesome cheese sauce…

    this sounds divine – thanks for sharing!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you so much for the tip! I will definitely try the wedge cheese next time. The jalapeno havarti sounds awesome.

  • Debra

    i’m not thoroughly vegan or vegetarian, but we don’t eat much meat. This really appeals to me. I use soy chorizo a lot, but I’m never completely sure where to land on the cheese, so I’m happy to have an actual recipe. Sometimes “winging it” hasn’t worked well. LOL!

  • Chung-Ah

    After I made that vegan sweet potato chili, this mac and cheese is right up my alley!

  • Averie

    Nutritional yeast is the best! I eat it almost every day! And with Daiya and soymilk, you hit the jackpot on this one. And love your story of WHY you chose to work in a vegan restaurant. I can only imagine how frowned-upon vegan food would be by some people in the culinary school world (I will never forget what you wrote in the culinary school post of yours that I think about often) and here’s to making some noochy mac ‘n cheeze!

  • Samantha

    Photo is gorgeous! I have never made mac n cheese with soy milk though? I need to try this and I have nutritional yeast! We’ve used it before to make a “fake” cheese and loved it!

  • Carrie

    Ok. So I want you to educate me… I am very new to vegan recipes. It’s something I have just started to play around with. I have been wanting to do a similar style Mac… all the recipes I come across call for nutritional yeast. What does it add to the recipe?

    Also this looks AWESOME. I actually just bought some soy chorizo for a hash recipe …. maybe I should save it for pasta!

    • Jennifer Farley

      I love nutritional yeast. It adds a cheesy flavor with a hint of salt. I love using it on popcorn (with a small spritz of oil to help it stick).

  • Jennie

    This mac looks delicious. I haven’t tried a vegan recipe yet; I need to get with times. Thanks for such a lovely post!

  • Little Kitchie

    LOVE this! I was vegetarian for a while and vegan for some of that time (No cheese is HARD! But Daiya is definitely my favorite vegan cheese), and I totally agree that some of the best meals don’t include meat! Definitely going to try this out on my husband and see what he thinks! :)

  • Lan

    i like daiya too, tho i don’t buy it often. when i make vegan mac n cheese, i usually use a butternut squash puree base or an almond milk + vegan margarine based bechamel.

    in terms of vegan cheeses, i have used tofutti cream cheese, which i recommend, but their ricotta cheese is butt.

    • Jennifer Farley

      I think that’s the cream cheese we used at the restaurant. I didn’t mind it.

  • Anne

    I never thought Vegan Mac and Cheese could look so good!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you, Anne!

  • Jennifer

    I love it! This is such a wondeful recipe! I have to try it out! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Megan {Country Cleaver}

    I might have to give this vegan thing a go if it means I can enjoy mac and cheese and chorizo-ish things!! This looks divine!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thanks, Megan!

  • Anna

    My Hubby and I are big fans of chorizo. Now I need to try using nutritional yeast. Quite intrigued by it.. Gorgeous photos, Jen!

    • Jennifer Farley

      It’s SO good on popcorn. One of my favorite nightly snacks is a small bag of microwave popcorn with a light spritz of olive oil and a generous helping of nutritional yeast.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I love the pasta shells, your mac and cheese looks great!

  • Jackie

    This is totally inspiring. I love a challenge and I’ve been trying to work out a vegan mac n cheese recipe. Have you ever tried cashew cream as a base? Even though I eat meat, I love Trader Joes Soy Chorizo even more than some brands regular chorizo. I love that you used nutritional yeast, sounds great in this!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Trader Joe’s makes an amazing soy chorizo! I almost used it here but the Field Roast crunches up more when you pan fry it and I wanted a good crunch. I’ve never tried using cashew cream but that’s another great idea. I’ve been thinking of using it to make a truffle alfredo sauce, something we did at my old restaurant.

  • Katie

    Ha! I love what you said about not being a vegetarian and that is a load of crap. I totally agree, and I had a similar experience with the attitudes at my culinary school. [With the exception of two instructors who were vegans, and incorporated vegan cooking into the curriculum. They were so awesome.] Anyway, I also wanted to say I just love your photography. The light is so pretty!!

  • Anna (Hidden Ponies)

    So interesting! I’m thankful to not have to cook vegan, but I love having good recipes handy when I have someone over who follows this approach to eating.

  • Lorraine

    Chorizo is such a weakness of mine so I’d love to try a vegan version! This mac and cheese looks amazing!

  • Gerry

    I agree, there’s so many food options available these days that meat and two veg are kinda falling off the ladder. Although there’s a time and place for those also. Daiya “cheese” is so good and probably is the closest to any reg cheese out there in y non-important opinion ;)

  • Terris

    I loved your story about choosing your externship. Sometime we learn so much more when we break through barriers. I love the idea of vegan chorizo but unfortunately I’ve been allergic to soy ever since I was a child. I do use Daiya which fortunately for me is soy free! Love the stuff.

  • Kate

    Ooh! This looks and sounds wonderful. Cannot wait to try it.

  • Carol

    What a fantastic recipe, Jen! I’m new to vegan cooking, so love getting educated! As always, your photos are beautiful!!!

  • kristy

    This looks amazing, Jen! Can’t wait to share it with my vegan friend!

  • Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking}

    You made an excellent point about not needing meat to make a wonderfully satisfying and delicious meal… love it. I’m loving the darkness of your photos, too, by the way. :)

  • mary

    it didn’t happen to be cafe java green that you worked at, did it? i loved that little restaurant on 17th and R st NW — it closed recently i think, but they made awesome vegan dishes! this recipe looks delicious!

    • Jennifer Farley

      No, but I heard that place was really good!

  • Laura Dembowski

    I don’t know why people are always so judgy. You have to do what works for you. I am not vegan or vegetarian but frequently enjoy meatless meals. This looks so yummy! Can’t even tell it’s vegan!

  • Emanuelle

    Looks delicious! Love that it’s vegan! (Even though I’m not… It just makes it more justifiable to eat ;)!)

  • kirsten

    Your photos are really good–coffee table book worthy.
    I need to stock up on some nutritional yeast so I’ll have it when I want to play around.


    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you so much for the kind words! I love nutritional yeast, I use it all the time. It’s great on kale chips and popcorn.

  • Rachel

    I’m so hungry now! And I seriously need to pick up some shell pasta again soon. Haven’ thad it in ages.

    • Jennifer Farley

      I hadn’t had it in forever, either! It was calling out to me in the store.

  • ashley – baker by nature

    I LOVE this, Jen! I’ve been trying to incorporate a little more vegan cooking into my life this year, and this mac and cheese sounds like the perfect place to start.

  • Tracey

    I’ll confess that this is a little outside of my comfort zone since I never cook with these ingredients, but wow does it ever look amazing!! I’ll have to expand my horizons and try it if I can figure out where to buy everything :)

  • Georgia

    Love your addition of chorizo to an already stellar mac and cheese! This looks so mouthwatering!

  • Lauren

    Gorgeous, Jen! Is it wrong to think that since it’s vegan I can eat two bowls? :)

    P.S. Thanks for the link love!

  • Gourmantine

    Interesting recipe Jen, and it’s true that looking at vegan/vegetarian cooking can give plenty of inspiration and new ideas.

  • Katy

    I love a good vegan mac and cheese recipe, I’ll have to try it with pasta shells. Have you ever tried brown rice pasta? I don’t like daiya by itself either and have been hesitant to try melting it for that reason, but I’ll have to try combining it with nutritional yeast like you’ve suggested. Good idea.

  • Sylvie

    I remember the first time I ever had vegan mac and cheese and it surprised me because it was seriously some of the best mac and cheese I had ever had!

  • Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    I really enjoy hearing about your experiences at culinary school, especially since I am tempted to go to the very same one for my culinary education. Unfortunately for me, it would be a weird experience because although I love cheese, butter, and cheese I am very allergic to it. French cooking…butter….gluten….oh god would I be a mess while I was there. However, this recipe is RIGHT where I belong.

  • natalie @ wee eats

    This looks so good! And I think the BF would actually eat it (he refuses to eat chorizo because “OMG DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS IN THAT???”) even though he eats equally as “gross”/mystery-meat including things (i.e., hot dogs?) … I can’t wait to make this!

  • Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Holy yum, how is this real life?! That vegan chorizo looks ridiiiiiiculously yummy. And your mac is so irresistibly gooey, I die.

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you!! Did the cookies ever show up?

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    Trader Joe’s Soyrizo is my favorite! This looks so perfect!

  • Cate

    Yum! I’ve sort of decided to cut off dairy for the next couple months and I’m missing cheesy comfort food. This looks like the perfect solution :)

  • Kelly

    This looks delicious! :)

  • Karen D

    Looks great! And today is World Vegetarian Day! BTW I am quite impressed with the quality of Field Roast products! They are great! This recipe is a must-try!