Chakalaka Mac and Cheese

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chakalaka mac and cheese

Chakalaka has been my favorite flavor for any dish or snack, since my first few months in South Africa (nine years later, it still is). Think, chakalaka pasta, pizza, and even Simba chips. Spicy Mac and Cheese? Yes, please!

Friends, this Chakalaka Mac and Cheese is simply the BEST vegan meal prep recipe. Not only is the flavor the bomb, but made in one pot, it couldn’t be easier. It takes about 20 minutes to make (plus 20 minutes in the oven for a baked version) and uses only a few ingredients, which are also affordable. It has never been this sustainable to save the animals and the planet, am I right?

Let’s Talk About That Chakalaka

If you are not South African, you might be wondering, what on earth is chakalaka? It is a staple South African vegetable relish that is usually spicy. You can make it from scratch or buy it in a can. Dare I say that I’ve never been able to make a fresh version as good as the canned version? YES!

The canned version is quite high in oil and sodium though, making it the perfect addition to a bunch of fresh vegetables, beans, and pasta. This way, the oil and sodium in the chakalaka are diluted, yet it still offers an abundance of flavor to the overall dish!

chakalaka mac and cheese

How Make Chakalaka Mac and Cheese Happen

First of all, since the whole dish is made in just one pot, you need a pot that is large enough! If you are going to make three meals, a large saute pan should do!

This Mac and Cheese starts with heating about a teaspoon or so of oil in said large enough pot. Then comes the bell pepper followed by chakalaka and macaroni pasta as well as veg broth or stock.

It is of utter importance to NOT overcook the pasta. Check your package instructions and cook for slightly shorter than the recommended cooking time. Keep in mind that you will still bake the mac and cheese.

Last but not least, add the black beans, nutritional yeast, and vegan “cheese” sauce.

vegan mac and cheese recipe easy

Did you meal prep this Chakalaka Mac and Cheese recipe? Don’t forget to tag @vegan_meal_prep_sunday on Instagram, so I can find you!

More South African inspired Vegan Meal Prep Recipes:

Chakalaka Mac and Cheese

Chakalaka Mac and Cheese delivering spicy and cheesy flavors with chakalaka, beans, bell peppers, and pasta! So much yum achieved with only a handful of ingredients.
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Keyword chakalaka, meal prep recipe, South African recipe, vegan mac and cheese, vegetarian mac and cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Calories 482kcal
Servings 3 meals


  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 bell peppers finely diced
  • 1 can chakalaka
  • 150 g macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or stock
  • 1.5 cup cooked black beans (equals 1 can of black beans) drained and rinsed

For the "cheese" sauce

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts soaked for 2 hours
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  • Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add the bell pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the chakalaka, pasta, and vegetable broth or stock. Mix well and cook everything covered for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is almost al dente.
  • Combine the ingredients for the "cheese" sauce in a high-speed blender and blend until super smooth.
  • Add the black beans and "cheese" sauce to the pasta and stir until everything is well-combined.
  • You could eat the Chakalaka Mac and Cheese as is or bake for 20 more minutes on 180° C.


  • If you meal prep the Chakalaka Mac and Cheese, I recommend baking the Mac and Cheese in the oven or airfryer, before serving! This way, you will achieve a lovely crunchy top.


Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 914mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3731IU | Vitamin C: 152mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 5mg

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