When I first switched over to a healthy plant-based lifestyle back in 2013, one thing that I really missed was CHEESE. Cheese for pizza, tacos, baked potatoes, lasagna, and so much more. That’s why I came up with this amazing Creamy Vegan ‘Cheese’ Sauce!
Though there were a few packaged vegan cheeses available, all of them were loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat, and that is something I was trying to avoid. I had already been able to bring my blood pressure and cholesterol down dramatically (from 220 to 141, and my husband’s from 305 to 157), and we needed a healthier option.
One day I was browsing vegetarian online recipe sites and found a beautiful picture of a ‘cheese’ sauce but, unfortunately, when I looked at the ingredient list it too had some unhealthy ingredients like coconut oil. Did you know that coconut oil is 90% saturated fat? Lard is only 40%!
Since most of the ingredients were from whole food plant-foods, I decided to try ‘Terri Tweaking’ it to see what I could come up with. After only about 30-minutes playing around with it in the kitchen, it was amazingly delicious!
Originally, I made it with 1/2 cup raw cashews. Now, I sometimes sub out white beans–like navy beans or cannellini–to lower the fat content even more. Now days, I mostly make with a combination of the two–1/4 cup cashews + 1/4 cup white beans. It has the warm creamy texture with less fat.
Cheese Sauce Nutritional Information: 1/4 cup serving (WITH BEANS): 5 calories, 28 carbs, 0.14 grams fat, and 1.9 grams protein 1/4 cup serving (WITH CASHEWS): 41 calories, 4.6 carbs, 1.8 grams fat, and 2 grams protein
Other Great Recipes That Use This ‘Cheese’ Sauce:
- 1 cup potatoes peeled & diced
- 1/4 cup carrots diced
- 1/4 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup broth from veggies
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, unsoaked (or 1/2 c white beans)
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pinch paprika
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper optional
In medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender, approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on how small the veggies are diced.
When veggies are tender, drain and place them in blender. NOTE: reserve 1 cup of the broth, and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
Now, it's ready to use in nacho cheese dip, mac-n-cheese, topping for steamed broccoli, or anything else you need a creamy, cheesy sauce in. It makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Also terrific as a baked potato topping. This is a loaded baked potato.
If using in nacho cheese dip, just add your salsa and serve. I have an excellent salsa recipe as well.
If using for mac-n-cheese, simply add your cooked pasta and serve. Or, after adding cheese sauce to pasta, place in baking dish, top with bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
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