You already knew that cashews can make dairy-free ricotta, but here’s a twist: The nuts can also make silky, golden “cheese” sauce. Angela Liddon, cookbook author and the mastermind behind popular vegan blog Oh She Glows, shares her recipe for this all-purpose condiment.
And she’s serious about it being all-purpose. Vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, served over roasted vegetables, spooned straight into your mouth—this sauce can do no wrong. Just ask the many non-vegans who sang its praises (and licked the bowl clean) here in our Test Kitchen.
Though the sauce is short on dairy, there’s no questioning its bold flavor. Nutritional yeast gives it a surprisingly cheesy taste, and both white wine vinegar and lemon juice lend a tang. The longer you soak your cashews, the less water you’ll need to help blend the sauce together, but you can also make your cheese sauce as thin or as thick as your needs call for.
To learn more, read “5 Entertaining Tips That Are Vegan Friendly.”
All-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce
Recipe adapted from ‘Oh She Glows Every Day,’ by Angela Liddon
Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus soaking time
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes, plus soaking time
¼ cup cashews
3 tablespoons water, plus more for soaking (and as needed)
⅓ cup carrots, diced
1¼ cups potato, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Hot sauce (optional)
1. Soak the cashews in water for 2 hours or up to overnight.
2. In a medium saucepan, cover the carrots and potato with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, 10 minutes.
3. Drain the vegetables and add to a blender with the cashews. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add water to thin if necessary.
4. Season with salt and hot sauce if desired, then serve.