Vegan Cheese Sauce (+ 5 Ways to Use It)
Learn how to make Vegan Cheese Sauce, which is ready in 15 minutes and tastes just like your favourite cheese sauce! It’s creamy, saucy and is perfect for a dip, nacho cheese, mac and cheese and so much more!!
Today’s post is all about vegan cheese sauce, because how do I not have a vegan cheese sauce post?! You know that on JITK I always strive to make my posts incredibly useful and let me tell you, you need this post and this cheese sauce. If you’ve been wanting a creamy, saucy, cheesy and made in 15 minutes cheese sauce to spread on every single thing, you’ve just found it.
Growing up, I had always loved cheese. Cheese in every form was always always welcome, and don’t get me started on the creamy liquid form of cheese. A cheese that I can drizzle all over everything? Yes please. Now that I’m vegan, I have my go to vegan cheeses, but I always love to make a great cheese sauce. It’s incredibly versatile, goes with so many things, and is so easy to make. Let’s get into it!
This vegan cheese sauce is made with nutritional yeast, carrots and cashews – its three power ingredients.
How to Make This Vegan Cheese Sauce
Making these vegan cheese sauce is very easy. Each step helps to really develop the flavour, while ensuring that the cheese flavour stands out above all others.
First, you sauté your onion and your carrots. Your carrots are for colour and to thicken your vegan cheese sauce. Your onion is for flavour! Then you add that to the blender along with your two other power ingredients, nutritional yeast (for that cheesy flavour) and cashews (for thickness and creaminess). Then you add in amazing seasonings, nut milk and lime juice that complement and really pull out that cheese flavour. Blend, and enjoy!
For this vegan cheese sauce I used Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast. Let me count the ways I love this nutritional yeast. First, it’s honestly the best quality nutritional yeast I’ve found. The packaging makes it very easy to scoop out (thanks to the zip top) or use in any way (like sprinkle right onto your popcorn). I also love that a lot comes in the package, so it lasts quite a while. We use our nutritional yeast aka our ‘nooch’ quite often in vegan pastas, Caesar salad dressings and so much more, and our first bag for the year still has a little bit left. That includes the fact that I made this cheese sauce with it, and two other dressings with nooch last week! Before I continue, you may be wondering, what is nutritional yeast?
What is Nutritional Yeast? Here’s an excerpt from my ebook, It’s That Easy:
“Nutritional yeast aka nooch is an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. Think of it like mushrooms. Because it’s inactive yeast, you can’t use it to cook. However, it is basically a super food – it is high in B12, protein, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium and zinc.
It’s gluten free, vegan and is a great source for your B12 vitamins. I could go on and on about nutritional yeast, but it has a cheesy taste that is super popular in the veg community for adding to sauces, popcorn and even to make a vegan parmesan cheese.”
Now that we are clear on that, nooch is THE star ingredient in this recipe. Feel free to add in an extra tablespoon if you want even more nooch love, just know that the recipe is perfect as is. If you want to find even more nutritional yeast recipes, then check out another recipe that I used with it: Vegan Herbed Parmesan Crackers. I even dive into many more ways that you can use it, including on kale chips!
Here are some tips to make the best vegan cheese sauce
- You want to use the best quality ingredients you can find. That means fresh carrots, great quality cashews and of course the best nutritional yeast you can find. Again, I’ve been enjoying nutritional yeast for over half a decade now, and Bob’s Red Mill’s Nutritional Yeast really is my favourite one and the best quality. I love to keep mine in the fridge to keep it fresh.
- Keep your supporting ingredients as neutral as possible. I highly recommend using yellow onions instead of red onions. It’ll still taste amazing, but red onions will add a slight sweetness, taking away from that tangy cheesiness. Same goes for the nut milk that you use. I would highly recommend using unsweetened versions of any one that you choose.
- Soak your cashews. Soaking your cashews ensures the smoothness texture possible, even with a high powered blender. If you’re thinking ahead you can definitely soak them overnight, we found that was the best result. In a pinch though, you can soak them in hot water for at least an hour, and blend for two blend cycles.
Now, let’s get to making this cheese sauce! After tasting it, you’ll understand what all the excitement is about. This makes a good 1 3/4 cups of cheese sauce. After taste testing it a few times, you might now be wondering how else you can use it. I’ve got you covered:
How to Use Vegan Cheese Sauce
- As a nacho cheese for your chips! Add in some jalapeños, onions and bell peppers or diced tomatoes.
- As a mac and cheese sauce
- Over your favourite foods such as fries, enchiladas and tacos for loaded dishes
- For a cheesy baked potato
- As a dip for steamed veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower
Plus, there are so many other ways. The above are just my go to favourites. Rest assured that you’ll definitely find a multitude of ways to use it and enjoy it, trust me!
Your Questions Answered
Q: Can vegan cheese sauce be frozen?
A: Yes it can! You can freeze this sauce in an air-tight jar or even in a zipped bag. Thaw it in the fridge overnight. You may need to re-blend it with a little more nut milk, vegetable broth or water since it will get very thick.
Q: How long can vegan cheese sauce last in the fridge?
A: This vegan cheese sauce can last in your fridge for up to 5 days. It depends on your ingredients, of course. Using the freshest ingredients will ensure that it lasts longer. You’ll probably eat it before then anyway, since there are so many ways to use it!
Do you have any other vegan cheeses?
You’re in luck friends! Yes I do:
I have a vegan Parmesan Cheese, where again I use my Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast.
I also have a Pistachio-Crusted Vegan Cheese Ball
I hope you enjoy this vegan cheese sauce friends! Let me know in the comments section below!
Vegan Cheese Sauce (+ 5 Ways to Use It)
- ½ cup Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tablespoon 12.5g olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 large carrot, 112g, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, 72g, halved and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight, then drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- Juice of one lime, 1 tablespoon
- ½ tablespoon tamari/liquid aminos or capers
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk or preferred nut milk
- In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil add in the carrots, onions and the garlic, stirring to combine. Cover with lid and allow to steam/roast until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a large high speed blender add the carrot mixture, cashews, salt and pepper, ground mustard, lime juice, tamari, nutritional yeast, paprika, and almond milk.
- Blend together in a high powered blender for about 2 minutes on a strong speed, until sauce is completely smooth and incorporate. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.
This came out really well! Do you think it will freeze well? It yielded way more than I can eat on my own at at once.
Thanks so much Cassie! Yes you can!! Just ensure it’s an airtight jar, then after thawing, maybe warm it up with a little bit of extra milk if it thickens up a lot! Hope that helps!!
I love your recipes! How long can the cheese sauce stay in the freezer for? Thank you!
Hi Scott thanks so much. It keeps safely for around 10days in the fridge. I hope this helps.
Hi what can I sub for cashews? Allergic to them. Would walnuts or sunflower seeds work? Thanks
Thanks so much for reading Priya! You can definitely sub walnuts , sunflower seeds, or even tofu.
My son is vegan and he adores this sauce that I make for over veg on a roast dinner. Fabulous recipes
Awesome Gail! We’re so happy that we were able to help.
Hi Jessica! Does the carrot make this “cheese” sweet? Because I prefer savory. Thanks for all you do!
Doesn’t make it sweet!