This scrumptious pasta recipe is turned into a restaurant-quality meal thanks to a homemade pimiento cheese sauce that’s so delicious you’ll want to lick the bowl. Chickpeas form the base of the luscious sauce, which gets seasoned with cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, cayenne, and pimiento peppers. Feel free to use any shape of pasta you have on hand, but classic elbow noodles will really dial up the comfort factor of this quick and easy dish.

Tip: Saving some of the starchy pasta cooking water to stir in with the sauce is the secret to making this dish extra creamy.

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added chickpeas, undrained
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • ½ cup jarred diced pimientos, drained
  • 12 oz. dry whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  • For sauce, in a blender or food processor combine the first five ingredients (through cayenne). Cover and blend until smooth and creamy, gradually adding plant-based milk. Stir in scallions and pimientos.
  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water; drain pasta. Return pasta to pot. Stir in sauce; stir in as much of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to make creamy. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.

Comments (10)

(5 from 8 votes)

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


I like this with added Dijon mustard seasoned to taste. It gives it the kick it needs so it isn’t so bland. Nice this way


A very bland and literally nearly tasteless dish. There's no way this can be compare to restaurant-style as the recipe states. We have had a lot of cheesy vegan sauces, and this one has no flavor at all. FoK regularly seems to publish recipes that have not been tested even once.

Lisa Zepeda

this was not a great recipe and I typically love the Forks over Knives recipes. it was very very bland. I did though add some salt and canned corn and some homemade cashew cheese and then it was delicious. So I would say the recipe is a good base but not very tasty by itself!


Didn't care for this recipe. Chick peas gave it a slightly grainy texture inspite of using a vita mix blender. Flavor was not great either. Would not make again, threw left overs out.

Tashina Schimming-Dale

Personally, I was not impressed with this dish. :( I couldn’t get over the smell and the taste was just off for me.

Brenda D

This uses only a partial can of chickpeas. How much of the can's liquid should be added? Can water be substituted if you use beans that you've cooked from dried? I avoid canned goods whenever possible.

Kelli Caldwell

The cheese sauce is super delicious. You could use it as a base and then add all sorts of things--chipotle, for example. Really like this recipe.

Skye Gibbins

This sauce is quick and easy to prepare, and quite tasty. I didn't change anything in the recipe, except I omitted the cayenne. Tonight, I may add some frozen peas to the leftover sauce. I served it on whole wheat spaghetti, but I think it would also be a good topping for brown rice or quinoa.

Karen Julson

This is the first plant based "mac-n-cheese" I have enjoyed and will definitely make again. First time for me eating pimientos, also. Delicious

Shelley Keith Childs

Just made the cheese sauce, minus the pimientos and with a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce, and had it over toast for a tasty vegan Welsh Rarebit!

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.