Plant Based Recipes

One Pot Homemade Vegan Hamburger Helper

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a glass bowl

My homemade vegan hamburger helper recipe is a healthier, more delicious version of the boxed stuff! This dairy free hamburger helper is really easy to make and it comes together super fast! The vegan cheese sauce is a healthy alternative to a traditional homemade hamburger helper recipe. This recipe is similar to a homemade Vegan Mac n Cheese, but the meatiness added from the Gardein beefless ground really makes this dish hearty! Think of it like a healthy cheeseburger pasta dish-pass the fork please!!

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

What Makes This Vegan Hamburger Helper so Good?

This vegan recipe offers you the best of both worlds. With this plant based hamburger helper you’ll be eating a meal with more nutritional value than the boxed version. When you eat vegan you also reduce your carbon footprint and save an animals life-what’s not to love about that. Did I mention this is such a creamy and decadent sauce that you won’t believe it’s not dairy?

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

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How do you make hamburger helper better?

We all know that the boxed version of hamburger helper is more of a convenience item than a nutritional recipe. In order to make this vegan hamburger helper recipe better I’ve replaced the meat with a delicious alternative, and I’ve made a homemade vegan cheese sauce from whole plant foods. This healthy hamburger helper has more fiber, less fat, zero cholesterol and all the delicious comfort of a classic homemade hamburger helper.

This Vegan Hamburger Helper is:

  • dairy free
  • uses whole plant foods to replicate the cheese
  • cholesterol free
  • full of fiber
  • meat free
  • cruelty free
  • delicious
Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

Okay, but Can you really make Hamburger Helper without meat?

YES!! For this recipe I’ve decided to use the Gardein Beefless Ground, which is currently my favourite ground meat substitute. To make this recipe even healthier, go ahead and replace the meat with lentils! I would go with a green or brown lentil as they tend to keep their shape better in the mixture. Their flavour is incredible and you’ll benefit from the added fiber and micro-nutrients.

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

What’s the Vegan Cheese Sauce Made From?

To make things extra simple I use my Cashew Sour Cream recipe as a base for my cheese sauce. Cashews are the perfect dairy free alternative. They are incredibly smooth! They add a hint of sweetness, just like dairy!

To this base, I add in some nutritional yeast to add a cheesy flavour to the cream. Garlic salt, turmeric and fresh cracked black pepper pull everything together!

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

How to Make Homemade Vegan Hamburger Helper

This recipe is ready to eat in under 20 minutes. If you already have frozen pasta you can use, then its even faster! Use my frozen pasta trick to make dinner come together in a flash.

The BEST Pasta Hack:

  1. Make extra pasta
  2. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water
  3. Place in a freezer proof container or ziploc bag (re-use this bag again and again!)
  4. When you need pasta, simply run the frozen pasta under hot water in a strainer. No need to boil it again.

The texture remains chewy and this whole process takes about 2 minutes.

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds
Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds
4.92 from 12 votes

Vegan Hamburger Helper

This meat free, dairy free hamburger helper is comfort food at its best! Creamy, hearty and satisfying. You wont miss the meat!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian, Vegan, American
Keyword pasta, Vegan Hamburger Helper
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 350 kcal
Author Megan Kerry


  • 1/2 Onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups ground meat substitute about half a package
  • 6 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 3/4 cup cashew sour cream
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dairy free cheese shreds
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste and for garnish


  1. If you don't already have pasta on hand, boil water in a large pot an cook 1/2 package of dry pasta according to the package directions. Use my Frozen Pasta Tip and skip this step, or make the entire package to freeze extra for next time.

  2. Water saute your diced onion over medium heat using the sauce pan.

  3. Once the onion begins to soften, add in your ground meat substitute. My favourite is Gardein, but Yves makes a comparable product as well. To make this recipe even healthier, you could use cooked lentils or a bean of your choice.

  4. Sprinkle the meat and onion mixture with garlic salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

  5. Add in your cashew sour cream, turmeric and nutritional yeast. Mix to combine.

  6. Add in the water and stir.

  7. Drain your fresh pasta, or rinse your frozen, previously cooked pasta under hot water. Add about 6 cups of pasta to your meat mixture. Stir to combine.

  8. Continue to cook over medium heat until your sauce reaches desired consistency, about 2-5 minutes.

  9. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and sprinkle in your dairy free cheese.

  10. Serve with fresh cracked pepper, extra dairy free cheese, or vegan Parmesan cheese.

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

The reviews of the Vitamix are just great, and I couldn’t make my cashew sour cream with out one! check it out for yourself here !

Vegan Hamburger Helper shown in a clear glass bowl garnished with black pepper and dairy free cheese shreds

Read This NEXT: Vegan Meat Substitutes Explained: Tofu Tempeh, TVP, Seitan and MORE!

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Until next time,

Megan Kerry

Megan Kerry is a Vegan Lifestyle Educator and Licensed Practical Nurse. Her content focuses on vegan recipes and ethical living. She is a mom of four children, a long time vegan, and an even longer time foodie. She loves veganizing any and all dishes and sharing her recipes and lifestyle tips with all of you!

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  1. 5 stars
    Been trying a couple of vegan recipes lately and I actually love the mix. I can absolutely vouch for their wholeness since they can be deliciously healthy.Anyway, I would use a bite of the hamburger helper! Just look at this delicacy!

    1. Awesome! This one is really easy to make as well so you don’t need to make anything too far out of your comfort zone!

  2. 5 stars
    This looks really good! I am in the restaurant business and so many customers are becoming vegan and i love that you have made a detailed recipe, the pics, the measurements. This takes a lot of work and it is healthy. I hope it is tasty also and give the iron and other vitamins that we need. I am going to print this and try it later this week thanks for sharing.
    Jerry Godinho

    1. Thanks Jerry! Yes the meat substitute I used here has a lot of nutrients built in and of course pasta is usually fortified with b vitamins and other nutrients as well:)

  3. 5 stars
    You had me at the scrumptious-looking photo of your recipe. It looks so very good! I’m also sold on the one-pot meal plus the short prep and cook times. I’m not a vegan, but I eat meatless most of the time, so I’m definitely adding this to my quick cook options.

  4. We are pretty much meatfree in our house and it’s always nice finding new, simple recipes to add to the menu. Cashew nuts sound like such an inspired way of replacing dairy too.

    1. Thanks Trish! There are a lot of ways to replace dairy, by in my experience cashews are the best way to mimic the texture and flavor! Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    I am not vegan (definitely and omnivore lol) but I have found a few vegan recipes that I absolutely adore and prepare on a regular basis. My daughter makes me a vegan mac and cheese due to my dairy sensitivity issues and she uses some sort of organic yeast to simulate cheesiness and it is fantastic!

    1. Oh, yes that sounds like nutritional yeast! It’s really good for you! Hope you will give this recipe a try!

  6. Thank you for the ‘pasta hack’ hidden within this recipe! With growing kiddos, they are always looking for a quick and easy snack and ready to go pasta is a great option. I will be making a big batch and storing in the freezer for a quick grab the next time someone is hungry.

  7. Wow, thank you so much. I always look forward to gluten free recipes as I have many autoimmune issues. Thank you it looks so yummy.

    1. You’re welcome Arun-just remember to substitute for gluten free pasta and you will be good to go!

  8. 4 stars

    Ok, so I read a lot of posts like this but it is SO INOFTEN that I find a good vegan recipe and I am very pleased! I would switch out the gaiden for a beyond crumble or something, though, because I find gaiden a little too chewy for my preferences. I’m gonna’ be trying this!

    1. Yes!! I’ve been waiting for the Beyond Crumble to hit Canada. I haven’t found it in store yet!! I bet it would be so good!

  9. This looks really good! I’ve recently discovered that 3 of my friend’s kids have turned vegan. As a matter of fact, I was just cooking those store bought vegan burgers for them last night. This looks like a much better alternative to those store bought products and I’m sure is 100% healthier. I will be sharing.

    1. Oh thanks for sharing Scott! There are quite a few good products on the market these days for vegans! The Beyond Burgers are amazing!

  10. I love finding a new recipe to try. I’m always so scared I am going to mess it up somehow. This looks easy enough for me though. Thanks!

  11. I had no clue you could freeze pasta! This is an amazing tip, to say the least! I’m not really into vegan food. My husband would never allow it, as he loves his meat. But I have managed to convince him to give the concept a try with me and let me make him a new recipe or two, and he’s willing. This will definitely be one of those, because Hamburger Helper is a familiar thing, and I feel that will work out in my favor with my husband. Lol. I’m looking forward to trying out this recipe.

    1. For sure! It’s best to make recipes that are familiar to you when you are first incorporating plant based alternatives. You’ll have to let me know if it’s husband approved lol!

  12. 5 stars
    It certainly looks interesting and tasty, but I’m always worried with meatless prodcuts. It’s not so much the flavor of the item I have had a problem with. It’s the texture. I had some soy chicken once which flavorwise was fine but the texture was strange. I would love to try it out though.

    1. I hear you-there are definitely some inferior meatless products on the market! The Gardein is really fantastic though! I am always really impressed with their texture! Hope you give this one a try;)

  13. This seems like an interesting dish to try. The pics and your description makes it seem like a recipe to try!

  14. 5 stars
    Wait…hold up…you mean to me that I, queen of freezing anything that can be frozen, did not know that pasta can be frozen? Without a deep freeze? HOLD THE PHONE.

    Haha…but seriously. Just that tip alone makes this post for me. The recipe is awesome, too.

    1. Thanks so much Chava! I’m so happy you found this helpful:) That pasta tip is a total lifesaver!

  15. What?! A healthier version of hamburger helper! I have many vegans in my fam and this might just be something we can all enjoy!

    1. The Gardein is really tasty. I’ve heard Beyond Meat is rolling out their version of ground meat as well and I’m excited to try that too!

      1. As a kid I didn’t like lentils but a friend recently made a dish and it was awesome. This looks great. I’m going to pin in and give it a try.

  16. Is this a pasta burger? Interesting choice. I like burgers and not so much for pasta so I am in the middle. I am willing to try a taste test though haha!

    1. Wow. This is something I will definitely enjoy. I just love this recipe. Can’t wait to try this dish.

  17. 5 stars
    So creamy and delicious!! And that’s coming from a meat-eater!! The vegan meat tastes amazingly like real beef!! Great recipe!!

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