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macaroni skillet

macaroni skillet_hot for food

This dish is also kinda called “basic bitches macaroni skillet” but I didn’t think keeping the first part in the name would help an organic search! It’s my competitor in the first unofficial pasta challenge on our YouTube channel. I wanted to make something simple and comforting, so I made a vegan version of Hamburger Helper! The cheese sauce is my classic nacho cheese sauce. If you’ve never made it before, now’s a great time to try it out! Watch this pasta showdown in the clip below, or scroll down for the recipe.

If you fancy something a little more refined, you can get the penne arrabbiata recipe here.

macaroni skillet_hot for food
4.67 from 6 votes
Print Recipe

macaroni skillet

Proof anything can be made better when it’s vegan… this is basically hamburger helper and it makes a great meal for the whole family!

Keyword mac and cheese, macaroni, pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 6
Author Lauren Toyota


  • 3 C uncooked brown rice macaroni noodles
  • 1 beefless ground round (such as Gardein)
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup pasta water (reserved from cooking pasta)
  • double batch nacho cheese sauce
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 diced vine tomato
  • ground black pepper, to taste


  1. While your noodles are cooking in a pot of boiling salted water, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add sunflower oil and onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes until soft.

  2. Add chili powder, cumin, and paprika and sauté for another minute. Add the beefless ground round to the pan and continue to stir frequently until it starts to brown and cook through. If the pan starts to get dry and the beefless ground is sticking at all, take a ladle full of the pasta water and add it into the pan. 

  3. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain it and add it into the skillet and toss with the nacho cheese sauce as well as ground black pepper. You may want to reserve a small amount of cheese sauce for reheating leftovers or to serve extra at the table.

  4. Top with green onion and diced tomato and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Find the recipe to our vegan nacho cheese sauce here


  • Brooke Marie 4 years ago

    This looks absolutely delicious! Although I don’t eat a lot of carbs I will have to give this recipe a shot.




  • I 3 years ago

    Made the dish with pesto pasta. I could not have it because I do not eat gluten and the only pasta on hand was the "regular" stuff. Everyone loved it especially with the inclusion of the cheese sauce. I had the cheese sauce over a baked potato and boy is that sauce out of this world! The jalapeño gives it a nice kick. This entire meal is going into our rotation. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thanks!

  • Leanna Inman 3 years ago

    This recipe R U L E S. So good! Thanks Hot for Food!

  • Robin 3 years ago

    I just made this for myself and my boyfriend using beyond meat crumbles and it is so dang good. I used half the noodles and only one batch of sauce. Super tasty. Thanks!

    • Lauren Toyota 3 years ago

      really only half the sauce 😀 haha we like lots of cheese sauce!

  • Annabel 3 years ago

    I made this last night and loved it – though I think my onion powder had gone stale as the cheese sauce had a funky onion taste ha! 😀 I’m about to reheat the leftovers and stir in some extra nooch and smoked vegan cheese from the brand violife (in the UK!) that melts amazingly.. oh and some salad too I guess 😉

  • carey 3 years ago

    mac/cheese skillet

  • Audrey Mi 3 years ago

    We ate this tonight and it was very good! The only thing is that we added too much Jalapeño liquid so it was too hot! The next time, I will skip double liquid and Jalapeño for the double batch!

  • Rene Avanessian 3 years ago

    Made this tonight for my teenage kids and they absolutely LOVED it! My daughter was so happy to find this recipe because honestly, the only thing she missed after becoming a vegan was Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper.
    When I was first married I made Hamburger Helper for my husband and after trying it he told me never to make it again because it was "a waste of good meat", lol. I didn’t listen though – it was my guilty pleasure from my childhood and so I made it for my kids every once in a while.
    I don’t know if my husband would like your version any better than the real, or should I say fake one, but I no longer have to feel guilty!
    Looking forward to try more of your yummy recipes!

  • Ellielas 3 years ago

    I made this tonight and am totally adding it to my favorite list!! My boyfriend inhaled it and we had fun dividing and conquering as he made the sauce and I made the rest 🙂

  • Audrey 3 years ago

    Was too busy to make the sauce so I added tomato soup to the pasta and added the "beef" and it was still delicious (topped everything with vegan cheese). I can’t wait to try it with the nacho sauce! Thank you for the recipe!!

  • Teresa 3 years ago

    I made this last night! I used a milder version of the nacho cheese sauce, leaving out the jalapeno and using regular pickle juice rather than pickled jalapeno juice.

    Instead of using beef ground, I used Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s and it was AMAZING. My goodness, I haven’t had anything that tasted so non-vegan in years.

    Thank you for inspiring me with your recipes and videos!

    • Lauren Toyota 3 years ago

      OH YAS! Sounds good! LOVE that you said it tasted non-vegan!! haha that;s always the GOAL!

  • Kelsey 3 years ago

    Made this tonight and it turned out really well. My cheese sauce wasn’t quite the stretchy looking cheese sauce as in the picture on that recipe (maybe has to do with me not having a vitamix so I just used my pretty decent food processor) but regardless the taste was amazing. Great for leftovers that I can bring to work/school. Thanks!

  • Katie B 3 years ago

    SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! That was everything that I hoped it would be! Delish!!!

  • Holly 2 years ago

    OMG I just made this & it’s so good I could cry!! BRILLIANT! Thank you!! <3

  • Marla 2 years ago

    Does it really matter what oil you use? Could I use coconut oil instead?

  • Kayla 2 years ago

    I am eating this now and the flavor is excellent. The only real change I made was taking out the jalapeños to make the sauce more neutral. I still used the jalapeño brine though. Great recipe! I’ll be able to eat this all week for lunch at work!! 🙂

  • Karen B 2 years ago

    I normally don’t post comments on anything, but this recipe made me say holy f*ck at least 5 times while eating it. I am new to the vegan world and this recipe was amazing. Knowing that I find food with amazing flavors gets me excited to cook more of your recipes. THANKS!!!!

  • Rach Medo 2 years ago

    I found this blog randomly while searching a different recipe, but as soon as I saw these pictures, I immediately wrote down the ingredients so I could make it next time I went grocery shopping. I finally made it, and I was not disappointed. This was absolutely delicious, and I was especially impressed with the nacho cheese sauce recipe. Anyone who stumbles upon this recipe should immediately run out and get the stuff to make it!

  • Audrey D 2 years ago

    I loved your recipe! I did put a little more chili powder and cumin to my taste and for the oil in the nacho cheese sauce i put half olive oil and half grape seed oil instead of sunflower oil. I will make it again for sure!

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