Saturday, December 9, 2023

Buffalo Vegan Chicken Mac N’ Cheese With Dairy-Free Jalapeño Ranch


Say goodbye to boring. This vegan take on mac n’ cheese and hot wings is the best of all worlds. You’re going to want to make extra.

This leveled-up mac is hot and spicy! It’s mac smashed with buffalo chicken and I even included the celery, carrots, and ranch that you’d get on the side of your order of hot wings. This all works together for one awesome smorgasbord of seriously addictive mac n’ cheese. If you double the amount of soy curls, coat them all in the sauce, and bake them the same way, they’ll be ready to make crunch wraps—or try putting this whole damn thing IN the crunch wrap…oh hell yeah!

vegan mac n cheese

Buffalo Vegan Chicken Mac N’ Cheese With Dairy-Free Jalapeño Ranch

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, vegan
Keyword dairy-free, mac and cheese, vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 cup dried soy curls
  • ½ cup buffalo-style hot sauce
  • 3 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp vegan chicken-flavored bouillon base (or 1 cube)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced

One Pot Mac n' Cheese

  • cups water
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
  • 1⅔ cups elbow macaroni
  • ¾ cup vegan Cheddar shreds
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • ground black pepper to taste

Jalapeno Ranch

  • ¾ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp pickled jalapeños in brine
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, coarsley chopped
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt


Buffalo Chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpatmator or parchment paper.
  • Put the dry soy curls in a bowl and pour water over them until covered. Let the soy curls hydrate and expand for 10 minutes. Before draining the soy curls, reserve 2 teaspoons of the soaking liquid. Drain the soy curls in a fine-mesh sieve, squeezing out excess water.
  • In the same bowl, combine the reserved soaking liquid, hot sauce, melted vegan butter, apple cider vinegar, dill, bouillon base, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, sea salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the chives. Reserve half of the sauce for serving. Add the drained soy curls to the remaining sauce and toss with a spatula to coat evenly.
  • Transfer the soy curls to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden and browned in spots.

One Pot Mac N' Cheese

  • In a pot over medium-high heat, add the water and non-dairy milk and bring to a low simmer, 5 to 6 minutes, whisking occasionally to prevent burning. The mixture will get foamy.
  • Turn the heat down slightly to keep the liquid at a low simmer. Whisk in the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, Dijon, sea salt, and cayenne, until well combined. Add the macaroni and stir. Cook the mixture over a low simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente. (Double-check your pasta’s package directions because the cook time will vary depending on the brand and what the pasta is made from.) Stir the mixture constantly to prevent sticking.
  • When the pasta is done, the sauce will look a little thin. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vegan Cheddar shreds, vegan butter, and black pepper. Cover the pot for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens up and the cheese is completely melted.
  • Fold half of the carrot and celery into the prepared mac n’ cheese, reserving the rest for garnish.

Jalapeño Ranch

  • In a high-powered blender or small food processor combine the vegan mayonnaise, pickled jalapeños, lime juice, dill, chives, onion powder, black pepper, and sea salt and blend until very smooth OR finely chop the jalapeños and herbs and combine the ingredients in a bowl or jar.
  • Top each serving with the baked buffalo soy curls, the remaining buffalo sauce, and the jalapeño ranch, and garnish with the remaining carrot, celery, and chives. 

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Reprinted with permission from Hot for Food All Day, by Lauren Toyota. Ten Speed Press 2021. All rights reserved.


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