Parsnip and sweet potato vegan mac and cheese

As much as I love getting lost making an intricate meal, most days I just need to keep it simple. This parsnip and sweet potato vegan mac and cheese fits the bill and warms my heart–everyday ingredients, straightforward steps, and ready in less than an hour (with only about 15 minutes of active work). Sometimes I make the sauce a couple days ahead of time to help out my future self–who doesn’t love a dump and bake weeknight dinner?

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parsnips and sweet potatoes
parsnip and sweet potato vegan mac and cheese

Parsnips have a delightfully nutty and subtly spicy flavor, but if they’re not your thing simply swap out for more sweet potato. Cashews are totally optional but the small amount in this recipe adds great texture and more fat to the starchy sauce. For even more veg, stir in roasted cauliflower/broccoli (or perhaps our roasted broccoli stalk with toasted hazelnuts?) at the end for some mac ‘n’ trees. Add plant-based proteins like tofu, soy curls, or tempeh for extra bulk and savory flavor. Any way you make it, you’ll want to devour this saporous skillet of cheezy pasta in one sitting. 

Breadcrumbs are optional too, but highly recommended as they add another dimension to the dish. I make sourdough bread at home so I often have frozen leftover scraps/cubes or breadcrumbs that have already been made on hand. You can, of course, use store-bought or any type, like our cast iron skillet bread or no yeast bread. Just dry the bread out as much as possible, combine with desired seasonings, and break up in a food processor or blender.

What do you love to mix in with your baked pasta? Let us know! #closedloopcooking

Parsnip and sweet potato vegan mac and cheese   by

This parsnip and sweet potato vegan mac and cheese is a simple, nutritious dinner and warms my heart with everyday ingredients, straightforward steps, and ready in less than an hour.

makes: 4 | prep time: 10 min | cook time: 40 min | total time: 50 min

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parsnip and sweet potato vegan mac and cheese


  • 12 oz pasta, radiatore shown here (approx 5 cups)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed (2 c/~12 oz/340g)
  • 1 medium parsnip, cubed (1 1/2/~9 oz/260g)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (1/2 c/~3oz/85g)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, diced (~1/2 c/3oz/85g)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup cashews (optional)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • leftover/stale bread scraps or cubes, dried out
  • any herbs/seasonings


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and cube all your sweet potato, parsnip, and carrot to be roughly the same size. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.
  2. While vegetables are roasting, add a teaspoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. 
  3. Add bread scraps to the same pan and toast for 5-10 minutes, then combine with herbs/seasonings and break up into crumbs in a food processor or blender.
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente (it will cook more in the oven) and drain.
  5. When vegetables are done roasting and starting to caramelize, remove but leave oven on. Add sweet potato, parsnip, and carrot to a high-speed blender along with sautéed onions/garlic and remaining sauce ingredients.*
  6. Add drained pasta to the bottom of a clean, dry 10” cast iron pan. Pour sauce onto pasta and mix with a spatula to evenly distribute and press down into pan. Top with optional breadcrumbs.
  7. Place skillet in oven and bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then under the broiler for 2-3 minutes (optional) until breadcrumbs are browned.**
  8. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes, then top with your chili flakes or your favorite hot sauce. Leftovers will last about 3 days in the refrigerator.


*You should end up with about 4 cups total cubed vegetables and 5 cups sauce.

**Watch carefully to prevent burning.

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