Lists

The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese in Denver and Boulder

Watercourse has years of experience cooking up vegan comfort food.
Watercourse has years of experience cooking up vegan comfort food. Courtesy Watercourse Foods
If you’re looking for comfort food, you needn’t look further than macaroni and cheese. Chances are you grew up on the dish – elbow noodles swimming in a cheesy, creamy sauce. But these days, you want an elevated mac and cheese that will move away from the boxed after-school staple toward a more satisfying adult version. But when there are two obvious main ingredients – macaroni and cheese – and one of them isn't vegan, finding a good plant-based version can be tough. Should that mean your journey with the dish ends? With these vegan macaroni-and-cheese options in Denver and Boulder, your journey's just beginning.

click to enlarge City, O' City's mac and cheese comes with lots of tasty toppings. - KRISTEN KUCHAR
City, O' City's mac and cheese comes with lots of tasty toppings.
Kristen Kuchar
City O’ City
206 East 13th Avenue
303-831-6443
cityocitydenver.com

Whatever your desired comfort-food dish, City, O’ City has it veganized. With pizzas, poutine and “chicken” and waffles with carrot bacon, it's no shock that there’s also a tasty homestyle mac and cheese. Savory mac and cheese is topped with barbecue tofu, mustard-glazed greens and a creamy coleslaw. The whole dish is then showered with crunchy fried shallots. Want a handheld version? Take all of that barbecue-bowl goodness, along with house made pickles, and pile it into a wrap.

click to enlarge The macaroni and cheese at Fresh Thymes will take you back to childhood. - COURTESY FRESH THYMES
The macaroni and cheese at Fresh Thymes will take you back to childhood.
Courtesy Fresh Thymes
Fresh Thymes Eatery
2500 30th Street, #101, Boulder
303-955-7988
Freshthymeseatery.com

This Boulder eatery has an eclectic menu that appeals to both meat-free diners and carnivores. There are plenty of vegan options, including a beet falafel burger and tempeh tacos. The “Mac Attack” is a popular vegan item, with gluten-free noodles and a dairy-free cashew cream sauce. You can add on items, too, such as caramelized onions, mushrooms, seared greens, green chiles and Spicy Riot sauce.

click to enlarge Chef Laurent Mechin makes a special effort to appeal to plant-based eaters. - COURTESY JILL'S RESTAURANT & BISTRO
Chef Laurent Mechin makes a special effort to appeal to plant-based eaters.
Courtesy Jill's Restaurant & Bistro
Jill’s Restaurant & Bistro
900 Walnut Street, Boulder
720-406-7399
stjulien.com

Jill’s Restaurant, located inside the St Julien Hotel, is no stranger to knocking it out of the park when it comes to cooking for vegans. During one of the Friday vegan lunch buffets or the Monday night multi-course vegan menus, you can often catch the vegan mac and cheese. After making a roux, Jill's adds in almond or soy milk and whisks in vegan cheese. Other ingredients are often added to kick it up, such as truffle oil or fresh herbs.


click to enlarge Native Foods makes appealing food for those who don't eat animal products. - COURTESY NATIVE FOODS
Native Foods makes appealing food for those who don't eat animal products.
Courtesy Native Foods
Native Foods Cafe
680 South Colorado Boulevard, 303-758-3440
1675 29th Street, Boulder, 303-442-0213
nativefoods.com

Native Foods Cafe is vegan fast food at its finest. Technically, the mac and cheese is offered as a side dish or a kids' option, but this hearty dish could definitely make a meal. Fusilli pasta is covered with a white-cashew-and-veggie-based sauce for a cheesy delight. If you’re sticking with it as a side, try a bowl with the Oklahoma Classic bacon burger or the crispy chicken ranch wrap.

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Kristen Kuchar is a Colorado writer covering craft beer, food and travel. For Westword, she explores vegan dining and the state's artisan beverages, such as cider and mead.