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This rich and creamy, sharp cheddar-style Vegan Cheese Sauce is gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free and soy-free. Pour this dairy-free cheese sauce on all your favorite veggies, tacos, nachos or even French fries. You can also use it as a dip for your favorite chips!
First, I’d like to share a little ditty I call The Day I Gave Up Cheese.
♪ Not so long long ago
I can still remember how
That che-ese used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my cheese
It would make me feel at ease
And then I would be happy for a while
But Veganuary made me consider
Giving up dairy cheese forever
I knew that as I wept
I’d just take it step by step
I tried and tried and tried and tried
To let it go with all my might
Something brought me to my knees
The day I gave up cheese
Bye, bye cheddar cheese-laden fries
Now my cheese is made from carrots and potatoes, oh my!
And those good ole cows are letting out a big sigh
Singin’, “this is a cheese you gotta try…
This is a cheese you gotta try.” ♫
Prize winning song parody?
A winning vegan cheese sauce recipe?
And, while I won’t be enjoying “cheddar cheese-laden” fries anytime soon, I will be enjoying vegan cheese-laden fries instead.
So, let's get to some cheese making, shall we?
Ingredients you'll need
- Raw Pumpkin Seeds - I opted to use pumpkin seeds instead of cashews since they worked so well in my Vegan Parmesan Cheese and allowed this sauce to be nut-free, so those with nut allergies can enjoy it. Personally, I think they make the sauce a little more tangy, along the lines of a sharp cheddar.
- Potatoes - I find yellow or gold to work best, but have also used Russets before successfully.
- Nutritional Yeast
- Lemon Juice
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
How to make this vegan cheese sauce - step by step
Step 1 - Soften the pumpkin seeds
Cover the pumpkin seeds with boiling water and set them aside for 20 minutes.
I like to use an electric kettle to boil water because it does the job much faster than on the stovetop.
Step 2 - Prepare the potatoes and carrots
While the pumpkin seeds are soaking, peel and cut the potatoes and carrots into very small chunks.
Add the potatoes and carrots to a 2-quart pot.
Cover with water, and bring to a boil and cook until tender (approximately 10-15 minutes).
Step 3 - Blend the ingredients
Add nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, lemon juice and water to a high-powered blender.
Drain pumpkin seeds along with the potatoes and carrots in a mesh strainer and add to the blender.
Secure the lid and blend on high.
Stop to scrape down the sides as needed, and keep blending until the ingredients are well-incorporated and the sauce is smooth and creamy (approximately 2 minutes).
Please note that this recipe makes a pretty thick sauce.
Therefore, if you like your cheese sauce a little thinner, you can add 1-2 tablespoons more water.
What can this "cheese" be used for?
This creamy cheese sauce is perfect to serve over veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower or as a dip for tortilla chips or French fries.
Whether you pour it on or dip into it, the options are endless!
And if you like mac and cheese, I've also got a plant-based mac and cheese using a modified version of this sauce.
Can I use sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin seeds?
Yes, but the overall flavor of the cheese sauce will be a little more mild.
Can I use sweet potatoes instead of yellow or gold potatoes?
Yes, but doing so will result in a sweeter taste.
And, the measurements will be a little different. Instead of 1 ¾ cups chopped Yukon Gold potatoes, use 1 ½ cups chopped sweet potatoes.
You will also have to add more water. Start with ¾ cup water and add more as needed in 1-tablespoon increments.
Can I use cauliflower instead of potatoes?
Yes, but you will be able to taste the cauliflower in it and the final product will be a little more sharp.
If using cauliflower, replace the potatoes with the same amount of chopped cauliflower (1 ¾ cups). Boil the cauliflower along with the carrots just as the directions note for the potatoes.
Instead of ½ cup water, start with ¾ cup and add 1-2 more tablespoons after blending if needed to thin out.
Storing and reheating
Cheese sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheat leftovers in a microwave safe dish in 15-second intervals, stirring in between.
You can also reheat in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until heated throughout.
For a nacho version of this recipe, check out our Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce next.
If you're not nut-free, you might also enjoy our Cashew Cheese Sauce.
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 ¾ cup peeled and chopped yellow or gold potatoes (chopped into small pieces of similar size)
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots (chopped into small pieces of similar size)
- ½ cup filtered water (plus more if needed)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ⅛ tsp turmeric
- Cover pumpkin seeds with boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes
- Add the potatoes and carrots to a 2-quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft (approximately 10-15 minutes once boiling).
- Add ½ cup water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and turmeric to a high-powered blender.
- Drain pumpkin seeds along with the potatoes and carrots in a mesh strainer (5 ½" or 7 ⅞" size) and add to the blender.
- Secure the lid and blend on high, scraping down the sides as needed, until the ingredients are well-incorporated and the sauce is smooth and creamy (approximately 2 minutes). Please note this recipe makes a thick sauce. If the sauce is too thick for your liking after you've used ½ cup water, you can add 1-2 tablespoons more water and blend again.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
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