Here is an easy and versatile dairy-free “cheese” sauce made with cashews. I like to serve it over gluten-free macaroni for a kid-favourite “mac and cheese”. Tonight I served it over black bean spaghetti, topped with finely chopped red pepper, green onion, and coconut bacon. My husband loves to make the Nacho version (see below) and drizzle it over organic nachos or even *gasp* french fries.
You can use this sauce however you might use a traditional cream sauce. I recently recommended this to a customer who had found she is allergic to dairy. Not coincidentally, she has a serious dairy addiction and is finding it difficult to replace her favourite go-to foods. I assured her that she can customize this staple sauce with whatever herbs and spices suit her recipe.
This sauce is adapted from a recipe from the book, Enlightened Eating, which I highly recommend for simple, whole food plant-based eating. It is written by one of our instructors at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, the lovely Caroline Dupont. She taught several practicums on eating a plant-based diet, where she shared some of her delicious meal ideas.
While you can make the sauce without soaking the cashews, I highly recommend you do. Soaking and rinsing softens the nuts, making them easier to blend, and removes nutrient-inhibiting phytates.
For Nacho Cheezy Sauce: Reduce water by 1/2-1 cup, leave out lemon juice, and add 1/2-1 cup of your favourite organic salsa.
Course: Sauces | Cuisine: Vegan
Prep Time: 5 min | Cook Time: 4 hr | Total Time: 4 hr 5 min
- 1 1⁄2 cups raw cashews soaked in water for 4+ hours (or in hot water for 1/2 hour)
- 1 1⁄2 cup water
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp onion (red, green or sweet) or 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 clove garlic chopped or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1⁄2 tsp salt
- Drain and rinse the cashews. Transfer to a blender.
- Process all ingredients together in a blender until completely smooth.
- If desired, heat gently and/or pour directly over hot grains / noodles and vegetables.
Adapted from Enlightened Eating by Caroline Dupont