Sunny Mac & Cheese

Sunflower seed cheese, you ask? Don’t laugh.

Even our most serious mac & cheese lovers went back for multiple helpings of this rich and delicious dinner treat.

It’s very easy to blend and boil the ingredients, then scoop it all into a bowl.

Ultimate comfort.


Sunflower cheese sauce

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots or orange peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Other ingredients

  • 1 pound gluten-free pasta: elbows or small shells work nicely
  • Cauliflower or green beans


Cover the sunflower seeds in water and soak overnight at room temperature in a small bowl, or soak them in really hot water for 10 minutes, and then drain.

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the carrots, onions, and salt together for about 10 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Scoop the carrot-onion-garlic mix into your blender and add the sunflower seeds, broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste. Blend until it’s very smooth, then transfer it back to your pot.

Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until it’s nice and thick. Add in the lemon juice and adjust salt/pepper as needed.

While the sauce is thickening, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook your pasta with the cauliflower or green beans together (a nifty pro tip!) for however many minutes the pasta package says.

Drain the pasta and veggies, then mix in all of the sauce to create a thick, cheesy, delicious dinner. Serve your sunflower mac & cheese hot in your favorite bowl. It’s also wonderful as leftovers the next day!


“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.” – Audre Lorde

In other words, if you accept yourself, it’s a lot harder for other people to hurt you.

Wishing you self-acceptance and a big hug today.

Chef Maitri Carmichael brings a creative and peaceful energy to every plate. She grew up in Toronto with a British Grandma and an Italian Nonna who showed their love through food, then she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years, spending her free time at community farms and zen kitchens. Originally a scientist and biotech entrepreneur, she graduated from the Vegan Chef School in London (2021) and the Raw Food Culinary Academy in Vancouver (2023), and is now settled in Hawaii.

One response to “Sunny Mac & Cheese”

  1. maitricookswithlove Avatar

    One of my favorite mac & cheeses!

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