No-cheese sauce. Vegan cheese sauce. Cheesy sauce. Non-dairy cheese sauce. I'm not sure what to call this except delicious. There is no cheese in it, plus it is easy to make, versatile, vegan and gluten-free. Just make some!
Vegan Cheese Sauce & Nutritional Yeast
With many friends and clients finding that they can't do dairy, I've developed more non-dairy recipes. So if you are dairy sensitive or choose not to consume dairy (whether vegan or not), I hope this sauce helps you miss dairy cheese sauce less. It really is tasty. It has a cheesy taste but without cheese. But how you ask?
For the past few posts I've been tellings you about nutritional yeast. It's almost a magical ingredient. Nutritional yeast is what provides that savory, pleasant, cheesy taste with out any dairy cheese.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive or deactivated yeast similar to yeast used in bread baking and brewing, so if you have yeast concerns, not to worry. For more information on what is nutritional yeast, read this post.
Start by Soaking Cashews
Start this recipe by soaking your nuts. Cover cashews with clean filtered water with a little sea salt and soak until they are soft. I soak mine for 8 hours. This makes them easier to blend into a creamy sauce. It also makes nuts more digestible and makes nutrients more bioavailable as they contain something called enzyme inhibitors that inhibit digestion. Soaking with salt helps to minimize phytates (phytic acid) and tannins (polyphenols).
After soaking, rinse cashews well, drain and puree with the nutritional yeast, sea salt, granulated garlic, canned coconut milk, a little Dijon mustard and turmeric. It's that easy.
What To Do With Vegan Cheese Sauce
Drizzle it over steamed or grilled vegetables or use it to top chicken or anywhere else you might use a cheese sauce. It's makes a good dip for raw veggies too.
Eat Fat Get Thin
I first created this recipe for Dr. Mark Hyman's New York Times bestselling book, Eat Fat Get Thin. That is when I began to seriously experiment with and appreciate nutritional yeast and not cooking with dairy. It's a great read about not fearing healthy fat.
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt divided use
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large garlic clove finely chopped or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Place cashews in a small bowl or or jar and cover with water by several inches. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Allow nuts to soak for 6-8 hours to soften. After soaking, rinse and drain nuts.
- To make the sauce, place soaked nuts, ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt that is left, and the rest of the ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor or a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin to your desired consistency.