Is Mac And Cheese Vegetarian? A Vegetarian’s Guide

Mac and cheese is a global food. This means that you can have a bowl of mac and cheese right before you regardless of religion, health needs, and diet plan. But what about the health benefit? Is mac and cheese vegetarian? 

Cheese, the major ingredient in mac and cheese, determines if your mac and cheese are vegetarian. Plant-based cheeses are vegetarian so if you use them in your mac and cheese, you can consider the meal vegetarian. But you can also use animal-based rennet cheese if your vegetarianism allows it. 

Vegetarians often shun meals and food byproducts that involve killing animals, but cheeses may fall into a gray area. This article investigates whether vegetarianism permits cheese and which varieties are better suited to stricter vegetarians.


What Makes Mac And Cheese Vegetarian? 

What makes mac and cheese vegetarian is the ingredients like cheese. If your cheese is plant-based, you can consider your meal vegetarian. Vegetarians are no-meat eaters; they do not eat any food that requires animal killing. However, some may eat eggs and dairy products.

Vegetarians mainly eat plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. However, Lacto-vegetarians, Lacto-Ovo vegetarians, and pescatarians may eat eggs and dairy products like milk and cheese. Therefore, the cheese in mac and cheese is suitable for vegetarians. 

If your vegetarianism does not permit cheese made from animal rennet, there are plant-based cheese options that can substitute for those. Cheeses like mozzarella, grana-Padano, parmiaggo reggino, goat cheese, camembert, etc., are made from animal rennet. Hence, vegetarians cannot eat them. 

How about the pasta in mac and cheese, is it vegetarian? Pasta is vegetarian. However, some brands may include some non-vegetarian ingredients like eggs during production. You should check the cheese and pasta pack you buy to ensure that they don’t contain animal by-products. 

You can select other vegetarian mac and cheese ingredients to include vegetarian food items. If you are ordering from a fast food online, check for their vegetarian section or create your menu. 

Vegetarian Mac And Cheese Brands

You can order vegetarian mac and cheese instead of cooking some days. Some brands deliver vegetarian mac and cheese. However, these brands may also deliver non-vegetarian mac and cheese. Knowing the brands you can order vegetarian mac and cheese from is important. 

Below is a list of brands that offer vegetarian mac and cheese

1. Panera Mac And Cheese

Panera bread has vegetarian mac and cheese options. If you want a brand to order vegetarian mac and cheese from, you should consider Panera. Panera has some vegetarian mac and cheese options you can choose from. Broccoli cheddar mac and cheese and Asiago mac and cheese with roasted tomatoes are types of vegetarian mac and cheese at Panera. 

Here are some vegetarian mac and cheese you will find on the Panera website.

  • Cauliflower Mac And Cheese

You can order the delicious cauliflower mac and cheese, which is suitable for vegetarians. The cauliflower mac and cheese goes as a side dish; it is sodium and calorie considerate. 

With cauliflower, crispy onions, and Dijon mustard, you can spice your Panera mac and cheese and give yourself the vegetarian experience. 

  • Asiago Mac And Cheese With Roasted Tomatoes

The Asiago mac and cheese is a creamy choice. This is a pure vegetarian option due to the combination of fruits and veggies this menu offers. If there are ingredients you are allergic to, you can change them.

  • Primavera Mac And Cheese

At Panera, you can choose this delicious and colorful vegetarian mac and cheese as a main dish. The Primavera mac and cheese combos give your Panera mac and cheese a nutritious addition and give your crowd a tasty bud. 

Garlic, broccoli, red pepper, tomato, zucchini, shredded carrot, bell pepper, and yellow squash are what you need to make a Primavera that can go with your Panera mac and cheese.

  • Broccoli Cheddar Mac And Cheese 

Panera offers broccoli cheddar soup that matches your vegetarian needs and can go with their best-selling mac and cheese. With broccoli florets and shredded cheese, you can get a vegetarian soup to combine with your Panera mac and cheese. 

Note that Panera enables the customization of menus. Therefore, you can choose combos of ingredients you like only. 

2. Banza Plant-Based Mac With Chickpea Pasta

Vegetarians can have the Banza plant-based mac and cheese. The delicious and nutritious vegetarian mac and cheese combine chickpea, plant-based sharp cheddar, and milk. Preparing Banza mac and cheese is simple and follows the same procedures.

3. Annie’s Macaroni And Classic Cheddar 

Another vegetarian mac and cheese brand is Annie’s. You can have Annie’s mac and cheese as a side dish or main dish. The delicious mac and cheese are simple to prepare with natural ingredients and no preservatives. It is suitable for kids and adults.

Vegetarian Mac And Cheese Recipes

Vegetarian mac and cheese should not contain ingredients that are against the vegetarian rule. If there are ingredients you don’t like, you can replace them. The following are lists of vegetarian mac and cheese recipes. 

1. 3-veg Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Recipe for two adults and kids

  • Butternut squash – 150g
  • Macaroni – 300g
  • Butter – 40g
  • Small leek – 50g
  • Flour – 25g
  • Milk – 600ml
  • Plant-based mature cheddar cheese – 175g
  • Brown bread – one slice

2. Slow Cooker Mac ‘n’ Cheese

(Four servings)

  • Macaroni – 350g
  • Whole milk – 600ml
  • Cube butter – 50g
  • Soft cheese – 50g
  • Vegetarian mature cheddar – 100g
  • Parmesan or any other substitute – 20g

3. Macaroni Cheese With Veg

Suitable for four servings

  • Skimmed milk – 500ml
  • Macaroni – 220g
  • Cornflour – 25g
  • Grated vegetarian mature cheddar cheese – 100g
  • Grana Padano or another vegetarian alternative – 25g


  • Ripe tomatoes – 220g
  • Frozen spinach – 8 blocks

4. Wild Mushroom Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Enjoy this mushroom mac and cheese with your family or friends of 4 to 5. 

  • Dried mushroom – 25g
  • Chestnut mushroom – 200g
  • Macaroni – 350g
  • Butter – 75g
  • Flour – 50g
  • Whole milk – 500ml
  • Mustard powder – 1 tsp
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Grated mature cheddar – 150g
  • Parmesan or another plant-based substitute – 50g

5. Truffled Mac ‘n’ Cheese

This recipe can serve as a side or main dish for 6 to 8 people.

  • Pasta – 500g
  • Butter – 60g
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Whole milk – 1 liter
  • Flour – 60g
  • Dijon mustard – 2 tsp
  • Grated mature cheddar – 100g
  • Powdered porcini mushroom – 1 tsp
  • Fresh breadcrumbs – 30g
  • Parmesan – 30g
  • Chopped mozzarella – 125g
  • Chopped taleggio – 80g


You should know that there is no format for cooking mac and cheese. For the sake of your health or diet needs, you can tweak ingredients. So if you are a vegetarian, who loves mac and cheese, go ahead and look for plant-based mac and cheese.    

About The Author

Hi There, I'm Lisa Anderson. I'm a 30-year-old with a passion for cooking, art, and dogs (not always in that order). With a background in both cooking and writing, ShiftyChevre is a collection of my experiences with food, recipes, lifestyle, and other kitchen-related topics.

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