Better than Boxed – Homemade Mac & Cheese – Vegan

Whether you eat vegan, gluten or dairy free, or a traditional diet, this is one macaroni and cheese recipe your kids will absolutely LOVE.

I wasn’t planning on writing a post today -at all. However, my heart is aching, my mind is blurry, and my spirit is quite deflated. All this thanks to a 2mile wide tornado that ripped through a town in Oklahoma yesterday.

All I want is comfort food a peaceful heart and mind today. All I can do is pray for those affected by the tornado in Oklahoma and eat a big bowl of my better-than-boxed homemade mac and cheese. Another bowl. 

Creamy Vegan, dairy free and gluten free better than boxed homemade macaroni and cheese

Yesterday, while a massive tornado was happening thousands of miles away from us, I was at the pool with my kids. I left the office mid afternoon and picked them all up for a little after school treat. Meanwhile, thousands of people were hiding in their basements, closets and tubs; praying to God to have mercy and save their lives. They were probably praying for their children too, many of which were still at school scared for their lives.

I didn’t sleep well last night. Before going to sleep, I prayed feverishly for those who were affected, their families and people who are out there helping find survivors in the rubble. My mind couldn’t grasp the reality of how destructive nature can be -especially tornadoes.

Living outside of New Orleans since 2000 has shown me some of what nature can do. We’ve lived through a few major hurricanes…but this is different. With hurricanes, we have time to prepare, evacuate with our families or make preparations to stay. This is different. People were working, living their daily lives, children were at school… and then it happens.

After hurricane Katrina, many of my friends in California and New York asked why I lived in New Orleans. The country wondered why people lived in a place that flooded two stories high, why people came back to re-build, and how they seemed to be un-affected and let life go on. Life does go on, but that doesn’t mean that things like this leave us unmarked.

Becoming a parent has changed me in ways I never thought possible. Before becoming a parent, I didn’t know first hand what loving someone else outside of yourself was like –as in the unconditional deep love I have for my children. The kind of love people seek in their lifetime and would freely die for. 

When I woke up at 1am and 2:30am, I stumbled into Baby G’s room to rock him back to sleep. In the rocking chair, all I could do is cry. I cried for those who wouldn’t hold their children again, those who are searching among the rubble in hopes of finding their loved ones, and mostly I cried for the pain the children who are injured and alone are suffering –they must be terrified, I thought.

Of course, I couldn’t go back to sleep with a heavy heart, swollen eyes and a very stuffy nose. So I did what any emotionally distraught person would do, I ate a big bowl of comfort food at 3am. A big bowl of creamy mac and cheese like this one -which I devoured standing barefoot in my kitchen in the middle of the night.

When I got to the office today, I couldn’t start working. My mind couldn’t focus and my heart once again was filled with sadness. How could it be? I prayed and prayed, asked God to help me feel less pain for others… yet here I am still thinking about the children. Then it hit me: God doesn’t want me to live “numb”! The pain I feel is meant for me to take action and live a life that is “other centered”. 

And there you have it my friends. A little mid-morning revelation. For now, I leave you with this big bowl of creamy, delicious, better-than-boxed mac and cheese. It happens to be vegan, dairy free and if you want to… gluten free. These are the kinds of comfort foods my children ask for. The kind of healthy comfort foods I want you to feed your own children and eat yourself. This is food that can be made in the same amount of time it takes to make the blue box; except it’s made with ingredients that are real, better-for-you and delicious.

Pray for others, think of others, feel for others.

Better than Boxed – Homemade Mac & Cheese #prayforoklahoma

This creamy mac and cheese is as comforting as it is delicious. Check out the notes for special variations of the recipe.

  • Author: Laura Fuentes - SuperGlueMom
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Kid Friendly
  • Cuisine: Family Food


  • 8oz (half a 1lb box) of pasta
  • 1 small sweet potato, cooked
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/21 cup coconut milk or any dairy free milk


  1. Boil pasta according to box directions. Meanwhile, cook your sweet potato in the microwave, turning it once, if needed.
  2. Peel sweet potato and mash it with a fork.
  3. In your blender or food processor, puree warm sweet potato, yellow mustard, cumin and salt to a smooth, creamy consistency. Add a splash of milk, if needed. The “sauce” will be thick not runny.
  4. Drain pasta and put it back the pot. On low heat, add coconut oil and mix well. Add sweet potato puree and mix until evenly distributed on low heat. Slowly pour coconut milk in the pot 1/2 cup at a time. How much you add depends how much “sauce” your family likes.
  5. Serve immediately warm.


I’ve made this recipe several times with many variations. If you can tolerate dairy, use regular milk and butter instead of coconut milk and coconut oil. For a gluten free option, use your favorite box of gluten free pasta. The yellow mustard and cumin combo add that touch of tangy/sharp/smoky flavor that the fake box tries to give…but better.

 Creamy Vegan, dairy free and gluten free better than boxed homemade macaroni and cheese


21 thoughts on “Better than Boxed – Homemade Mac & Cheese – Vegan”

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Thank you Rachel! I was thinking about you too, since you are much closer to all of this than me. xo!

  1. AmyRuth says:

    Loved how you shared your heart and what’s not to love about mac & cheese. Thank you again

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Thank you Amy!

  2. Jenny says:

    Hi There!

    I saw this recipe on pinterest today, and being a vegan and totally craving mac and cheese since my body decided to buck dairy, I had to try – I even walked over to the store this very evening to get sweet potatoes after I discovered my poor sweet potatoes got buried and moldy in the pantry 🙁
    I love it. I only had dijon mustard on hand (should have checked before hitting the store!) which, I’m not sure I’m crazy about – but there will be a next time, it was yummy!

    I also was hit by your revelation – God does want us to be others-centered and I love that you included that! Emotions are something my husband and I both shy from, so thank you for teaching us we have no reason to hide!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Jenny, I am so happy you were able to get a mac and cheese fix! Thank you for sharing that the post was beneficial for your heart as well. Emotions are a natural part of being human.

  3. Marline says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve had to go off dairy completely while nursing my son, who has a dairy allergy and I missed mac and cheese something fierce. This tastes much better than the box, was super easy to make and I got use up my sweet potato that was already in the pantry. The only switch I made was adding 1/2 tsp more mustard, as I don’t like cumin and I added 1/3 cup sweet peas.

    Your recipes are terrific and I look forward to your posts.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      So glad this recipe did the trick Marlene!!


  4. Lydia says:

    I can ‘t wait to try this! My littlest can’t tolerate dairy.

  5. Jeana says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and what was in your heart. I know what you’re saying.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Moving, and comforting, and what I like to call a “kitchen victory” (over diet restrictions) all at once! Thank you for sharing this recipe – and the story wrapped like a blanket around it. You comfort us all!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      thank you Cheryl!

  7. Chris says:

    We just found out that our 17mo old is allergic to milk and also to soy. Today is a first for me, never before have I worried so much about the ingredients in the food, I have no food allergies, but now it’s my baby and I’ve been scouring the internet for the past few hours for diary and soy free recipes. Does this happen to be soy free as well or if not could it easily be made soy free? With 2 kids Mac & Cheese is sort of a staple in our household, we can’t not have any!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Chris, I can imagine how overwhelmed you are looking for dairy free and soy free recipes. If you steer away from processed foods, eliminating soy should be really easy. We are a soy free household as well (no allergies but I don’t like it) and reading ingredients is key. Once you find your trusted brands, stick to those. This recipe is soy free given that you don’t use soy milk to make it. Use coconut milk or almond milk instead. Enjoy!

      PS: for more allergy friendly recipes, visit

  8. Alex says:

    Thanks for this! I have recently had to join the dairy free world. I added pinch of brown sugar because I love that combined whenever using yellow mustard. I had the leftovers with leftover taco meat… Amazing!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:


  9. Jaimmers says:

    I was extremely disappointed. I am allergic to dairy so I was trying to find a good alternative to my once face food. I will never make this again.

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      sorry you were disappointed. Clearly it’s not like the boxed type without actual cheese or a cheese substitute. sorry!

  10. Danielle says:

    I am living with roommates in an apartment for the first time, and we all have different eating habits. One of my roommates is vegan and another is a junk-food junkie. Both were so happy with this recipe as was I, the resident foodie. I used Smart Balance butter spread in place of coconut oil and almond milk as the non-dairy milk of choice. It was so, so good and easy to prepare. Going to make it all the time!

  11. Rachel says:

    Hi what can you switch out for he sweet potato

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      You can switch out the sweet potato for pureed butternut squash or cooked pureed carrots. Enjoy!

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