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Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (Vegetarian)

This cacio e pepe macaroni and cheese recipe features cooked pasta tossed in a creamy flavorful parmesan orRomano cheese sauce with pepper. Level up your mac with this 20-minute dinner that is easy enough for a weeknight meal, but fancy enough to enjoy on a special occasion.

The creamy sauce is made by sautéing butter, parmesan cheese, black pepper, and adding in some of the pasta cooking water to thicken the sauce without using cream. You can add in your favorite herbs to finish this dish – and top it off with extra parmesan cheese for a kick.

cacio e pepe mac and cheese recipe with parmesan cheese or romano cheese and black pepper pasta

This delicious cacio e pepe mac and cheese is a fantastic and easy dinner, ready in about 20 minutes. It’s loaded with flavor and turned out so good – definitely a new favorite way to enjoy macaroni.  Cacio e pepe translates to cheese and pepper – which is a simple cheese sauce to toss with freshly cooked noodles.

This is not your average mac and cheese!  Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Roman dish, and is a simple and easy way to prepare a cheesy sauce by only using a few simple ingredients. You have a restaurant quality pasta, with only 4 ingredients.

This Cacio e Pepe Mac and Cheese Recipe Is:

  • Creamy
  • Simple
  • Easy to Make
  • Comforting
  • Satisfying
  • Vegetarian

cacio e pepe macaroni and cheese with parmesan and black pepper pasta easy mac & cheese without cheddar

Easy and Fancy Macaroni Recipes

This creamy cacio e pepe macaroni and cheese is what I call an Easy Weeknight Meal – which is on your table in about 30 minutes.  These quick and simple recipes are perfect for those nights when you want a healthy homecooked meal but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

I have a whole section of The Herbeevore dedicated to Easy Weeknight Meals, that are great for the whole family. From soups and stews, to pastas and proteins – a healthy meal can be on your table in no time.  Even faster than ordering takeout!

What’s In This Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Parmesan or Romano?

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mac and cheese cacio e pepe parmesan cheese macaroni with black pepper vegetarian macaroni cacio e pepe noodles

Simple Cacio e Pepe with Macaroni Noodles

This mac and cheese cacio e pepe pasta is the tastiest, coziest dinner recipe. Pasta is always a quick and hearty meal for the family, especially when it’s has a gooey creamy sauce like this one.  Totally irresistible. 

It makes a great holiday pasta dish as well – a simple vegetarian recipe to serve with a salad. It takes only 20 minutes to cook, so you can enjoy extra time to prep sides or a salad. Browse all our pasta recipes here!

How Do I Make Cacio e Pepe Mac and Cheese without Cheddar?

  1. Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Once finished cooking, remove from heat and leave in the cooking water for a few minutes (save the water, as it will be used to thicken the sauce).
  2. In a pan, add the butter over low heat until melted. Using a slotted spoon, drain the macaroni and add into the pan with the butter. Toss well to combine.
  3. Pour 2/3 cup of the macaroni cooking water into the pan. Add the parmesan cheese. Stir well, the sauce will thicken as it cooks.  If sauce is too thick, add an additional 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water at a time to thin out the sauce. 
  4. Once sauce has reached the desired thickness, add in the black pepper.  Serve the macaroni hot, topping with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.

 

Make This Macaroni Recipe Vegetarian for a Healthy Version

This vegetarian cacio e pepe mac & cheese is a simple meal without meat. I’m all about making recipes plant-based when I can. Vegetarian cooking does NOT have to be bland, boring, or flavorless… It’s quite the opposite when done right. By building meals around vegetarian pantry staples and swapping in a few plant-based ingredients you can make healthier meals for you and your family.

I made a list of my 125 favorite vegan pantry ingredients that we use on a weekly basis, and check out all my vegetarian recipes here that are on The Herbeevore. These easy and healthy recipes are fantastic meatless meals for your table.

parmesan macaroni and cheese no cheddar easy 4 ingredient mac and cheese no milk or cream

More Creamy 30 Minute Pasta Recipes You’ll Love!

White Wine Mushroom Sauce Pasta Recipe

Creamy Red Pepper Pasta Recipe

Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

Instant Pot Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Creamy Vegan Lemon Pasta Recipe (Dairy Free, Plant-Based)

Get the Same Ingredients for this Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Cacio e Pepe Recipe

 

As always, if you make this vegetarian creamy macaroni cacio e pepe recipe be sure to leave me a comment, rate this recipe, and tag me @theherbeevore on Instagram so I can feature you.  I love seeing all your photos of my recipes!

Let’s keep in touch – make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get free recipe inspiration. And don’t forget to follow over on Pinterest, Instagram , & my YouTube channel – I’d love to connect with you there! 

 

mac and cheese cacio e pepe parmesan cheese macaroni with black pepper vegetarian macaroni cacio e pepe noodles

Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese

The Herbeevore
This cacio e pepe macaroni and cheese recipe features cooked pasta tossed in a creamy flavorful parmesan orRomano cheese sauce with pepper. Level up your mac with this 20-minute dinner that is easy enough for a weeknight meal, but fancy enough to enjoy on a special occasion.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dinner, Pasta
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 406 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Pot
  • Ladle

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Once finished cooking, remove from heat and leave in the cooking water for a few minutes (save the water, as it will be used to thicken the sauce).
  • In a pan, add the butter over low heat until melted. Using a slotted spoon, drain the macaroni and add into the pan with the butter. Toss well to combine.
  • Pour 2/3 cup of the macaroni cooking water into the pan. Add the Romano/parmesan cheese. Stir well, the sauce will thicken as it cooks.  If sauce is too thick, add an additional 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water at a time to thin out the sauce.
  • Once sauce has reached the desired thickness, add in the black pepper.  Serve the macaroni hot, topping with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.

Video

Notes

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Nutrition

Calories: 406kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 20gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 1275mgPotassium: 126mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 463IUCalcium: 486mgIron: 4mg
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Posted in 30 Minute Dinners, American, Dinners, Easy Weeknight Meals, Favorites, Italian, Pantry Recipes, Pastas, The Herbeevore Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes, Winter Recipes

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