“Don’t you miss cheese?!” is a question many vegans get asked. This cashew cheese sauce, my vegan friends, is the answer. No, it doesn’t quite taste like melted cheddar cheese. But the combination of rich, creamy cashews and nutritional yeast create a thick sauce that has the same savory, comfort-food appeal. More importantly, it’s delicious.

I used a highly rated recipe from Food.com and tweaked it to my own taste, omitting most of the salt, upping the paprika, reducing the water, and using Sriracha instead of pimentos. Rather than soaking raw cashews, I used toasted cashews instead, which adds a great depth of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup (heaping) nutritional yeast
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Toast cashews in a dry pan over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes, turning frequently.

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Put the cashews and all of the other ingredients in a blender or large food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Heat the sauce over medium heat to thicken it to desired consistency, adding more water to thin it out if needed. I prefer a thicker sauce, almost like a dip, so I heat for about 10 minutes.

Goes great with: raw, crunchy vegetables, Mexican food, tortilla chips and salsa, lentils and beans, and of course, pasta! It’s also a tasty spread for sandwiches. Recently, I used it as a topping for spiced lentil and kale tacos.


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