Silky smooth Cashew Cheese Sauce made with just a handful of ingredients in minutes. It tastes rich, creamy and cheesy and is super versatile. Use it any way you would regular cheese sauce!
Yep, this silky smooth luscious sauce is made from cashews. Who would have thought it? It's perfectly rich, cheesy and creamy and so quick and easy to make.
Simply throw the ingredients into a blender or food processor and with the push of a button you have yourself a batch of delicious cashew cheese sauce!
This is a must have vegan staple that is uncomplicated, easy to make, and will be a huge hit with the whole family!
With a handful of ingredients and some seasonings, you can make creamy cashew cheese sauce that is so tasty you will want to drizzle it on everything!
The ingredients are vegan staples that I always have on hand:
And a few ingredient notes:
- Raw cashews - Cashews are a magical vegan ingredient! They blend easily to make a delicious dairy-free cheese or carbonara sauce and you can even use them to make cashew milk. It's important to use raw cashews, not roasted. Raw cashews blend much more smoothly because they are softer and they also have a more gentle, mellow flavour.
- Plant milk - Any type but it must be unsweetened and unflavoured.
- White wine vinegar - Enhances the cheesy taste and balances the flavours. Apple cider vinegar can be used instead if it's all you have but white wine vinegar is best.
- Nutritional yeast - That superstar vegan ingredient, added here for cheesy flavour.
- Onion powder & smoked paprika - Both enhance the cheesiness. Chipotle powder makes a good alternative to smoked paprika.
How to Make Cashew Cheese Sauce
This easy dairy-free sauce is ready to enjoy in almost no time at all! Here's how it's done:
- Soak the cashew nuts in boiling water for 15 minutes.
- Drain, add to a blender with the other ingredients.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve or use in your favourite recipes.
Success tip: If planning to use on hot pasta, make the sauce a little thinner than you would ideally like because it will thicken on contact with the hot pasta. Or save some of the hot pasta boiling water to thin after you've tossed them together.
- Spice your sauce up with some sriracha, canned green chilies, chipotle peppers, fresh/roasted jalapeños or Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies.
- Try adding some chopped fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes or a dollop of pesto.
This healthy, high protein and multipurpose dairy-free cheese sauce is a gateway to lots of quick and flavourful dishes. It can be served hot, warm, room temperature or cold.
Some of my favourite ways to use it:
- Toss through freshly cooked pasta for an easy dinner. Maybe with a sprinkling of vegan parmesan too?
- Pour over vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower
- Use to make lasagna, vegan mac and cheese or Alfredo
- Drizzle on nachos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, fries, burrito bowls, pizza or baked potatoes
- Use as a dip with tortilla chips, pretzels, no yeast flatbread or raw veggies
- Pour a little into risotto right before serving to make it extra creamy!
Storing & Reheating Leftovers
If you want to make this yummy cashew cheese sauce ahead, or you have some leftovers, store it in a sealed container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
To reheat, microwave it for 30 seconds then stir and repeat until it is heated through. Or pour into a small pan and heat very gently on the stove top.
Cashew-based sauces do have a habit of thickening up as they sit. If you need to thin it add a few drops of plant milk or some water and stir well. Stop when it is at your desired consistency.
Even if you have a high powered blender I recommend soaking your cashew nuts in boiling water before proceeding with this recipe. It makes the sauce incredibly silky smooth!
No. For this recipe you need to use raw cashews. This is because raw cashews are neutral in flavour. Roasted cashews have a nutty, toasty flavor that would be noticeable and detract from the cheesiness. Secondly, when raw cashews are soaked, they soften and plump up. This makes them easy to blend which in turn creates a silky sauce. Roasted cashews do not behave the same way.
Stored in a sealed container in the fridge it should keep for up to 5 days.
Yes. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. I recommend blending again once it's defrosted because the texture changes slightly. Blending will smooth it out. Add a little water or plant milk to thin as necessary.
Cashew Cheese SauceAuthor:
- 1 cup (140 grams) raw cashew nuts
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika , or chipotle powder
- ¾ to 1 cup (180 ml to 240 mls) plant milk , (must be unflavoured & unsweetened)
- Put the cashews in a small bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave to soak for 15 minutes. Do this even if you have a high powered blender. It makes the sauce really silky and glossy!
- Drain the cashews through a sieve, (discarding the water) and add them to a blender along with all of the other ingredients. Start off with the lowest quantity of milk so that you can adjust to suit your needs. You can use a food processor to blend the sauce if you don't have a blender but it won't become quite as smooth.
- Blend until completely smooth. Check the consistency and add more milk as necessary, blending for a few seconds between each addition to combine.
- Finally taste to check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Nutritional information is provided for convenience. The data is a computer generated estimate and should be used as a guide only.
This recipe was originally published on May 22nd, 2015. I've since added new photographs & rewritten the post and now I am republishing it for you. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for following A Virtual Vegan!