You could say this Plant-Based Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe is long overdue. I’ve shared a number of recipes where it’s played a starring role.
It all began when I was looking for a cheese sauce to go with some baked fries. That’s when I discovered Kathy Hester’s delicious Creamy Vegetable-based Vegan Cheese Sauce. With a few extra spices it became a perfect plant-based nacho cheese sauce.
I used it again in my Cheesy BBQ Chickpea Wrap.
And more recently for some Nacho Avocado Toast – as well as some quick throw-together meals I’ve shared on Instagram.
Until now, I directed my readers to two different sites (HealthySlowCooking.com and AllRecipes.com) to achieve my spicy take on this cheesy masterpiece. This recipe should make things easier!
Plant-Based Nacho Cheese Sauce
The main ingredients include:
I like to use frozen cauliflower florets. Frozen veggies reduce prep time and are easy to keep on hand.
I just pile baby carrots in the measuring cup – no need for peeling and chopping!
Small young turnips are milder than larger adult turnips. If you want more of a sharp cheddar taste, go with a larger turnip. You can always use the leftovers in roasted veggies.
Cashews add creaminess. Be sure to use raw cashews.
You boil the nuts and veggies until they are tender then you simply blend them with some almond milk, nutritional yeast and spices.
This Plant-Based Nacho Cheese Sauce is so easy to make and so delicious! I have a feeling it will be starring in more recipes to come!
Plant-Based Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 1 ½ cups frozen cauliflower florets - fresh is also okay – but more work!
- 1 cup baby carrots or chopped carrots – but again, more work!
- ½ cup turnip peeled, chopped
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- water – enough to cover veggies in saucepan
- 1 cup almond milk preferably unsweetened (or ¾ cups rice milk)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 ⅛ tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. chili powder - adjust to taste
- ¼ tsp. ground mustard powder
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- ⅛ tsp. onion powder
- ⅛ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ⅛ tsp. oregano
- ⅛ tsp. black pepper
- Add cauliflower, carrots, turnip and cashews to a sauce pan and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender when pricked with a fork.
- Drain cooked veggies and place in a high-speed blender.
- Add almond milk and remaining ingredients to blender.
- Cover and begin blending on low and increase to highest speed.
- Blend on high for approximately 30 seconds. (Use tamper if necessary – I usually don’t need to.)
- Scrape down sides with a spatula and blend for another 20 seconds or so. (Remember to begin blending on lowest speed and increase to highest speed.)
- Use immediately or store in fridge and reheat as needed. (It’s so good, it’s not likely to last very long, but it should be okay for a few days.)
Note: I do not include nutrition information with my recipes because I subscribe to the theories presented in the book Whole and believe we should focus on eating a variety of whole foods instead of counting calories or keeping track of individual nutrients.
This looks sooo good!! If I don't have access to turnips and just leave them out will I completely alter the final product/taste? Any suggestions on subs?...
The turnips add the sharp flavor associated with cheddar cheese. If you leave them out the flavor will be much milder. In regards to substitutions - and I'm just guessing here because I haven't tried it - you could try radishes... Let me know how you make out!
This is so yummy! I made this tonight without the turnips because I couldn't find them at the store I was at. I added a little canned chipotles and it gave it a great spice and smoky flavor. Thanks for a great recipe! 10 out of 10 would make again!
Glad you enjoyed it! The addition of the chipotles sounds yummy! 🙂
I have a son with a all nut allergy. Does anyone have any suggestions for substitute for cashews. I was considering substituting soy milk for the almond milk. But, try to also stay away from soy because of breast cancer history.
You can simply omit the cashews. The sauce won't be quite as creamy-but it won't impact the taste. If you use rice milk instead of the almond milk you might want to use a little less. Rice milk tends to be thinner than almond milk... you'll have to experiment to find the right amount. Let me know how you make out!
Made this sauce "as written" as s topper for fries- yummy, definitely worth making again.
I have quite a bit leftover (only cooking for myself). Will use in cream of cauliflower or broccoli-"cheese" soup.
Glad you enjoyed it! Using the leftovers in a soup is a great idea! It also makes great "cheesy" spinach! 🙂
Hey there! Loved this!! How long does this keep?? We put it in a jar in the fridge. Opened it up for next day use and oh man smelled so bad. Tasted it though cause I'm cool like that haha and it tasted fine. Thoughts?
Huh - I've kept it in the fridge for 2 or 3 days and never noticed an odor. Perhaps you used an extra strong smelling turnip... 🙂
This was so good, thank you! I made it without the nutritional yeast and it was still delicious.
So glad you enjoyed the recipe Rande. 🙂
can i freeze this?
Freezing shouldn't affect the flavor. However, it could have an impact on the texture. I haven't tried freezing it, but I imagine you would need to stir or blend the thawed sauce to regain creaminess.
Can I substitute another nut for the cashews? I'm specifically allergic to cashews. Would almonds or peanuts do the same? If so, which would be better to use?
Hi Theresa - you can leave the cashews out completely and not bother to substitute another nut. The sauce will be a little less creamy, but the flavor should still be good.
Just made it but skipped to cashew milk instead. Still very good and creamy. Thanks!
Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
I tried this recipe for the first time this week and I've already made it again. It's so good! I love the healthy ingredients. It's good as a nacho dip and also as a sauce for my lunches of veggies and farro. Thank you!
Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to share. 🙂
Wow! This is awesome!!! Forgot to add the cashews, and it still tastes fantastic. Thanks for such a great recipe ????
Thanks Jenn! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Ohhhh my goodness ! Absolutely THE best, hands down, nacho sauce I've ever made. Thank you sooo much for this wonderful recipe. I can already tell it's going to be a go to favorite of mine !!!
Thank you! Enjoy! 🙂
By far the best vegan nacho dip recipie I have tried! (and believe me there have been many) The biggest standout here is all the spices. I modified the turnip to sweet potato and the mustard powder with 1tsp of grainy dijon mustard (thats what i had on hand.) also instead of boiling the veggies, I started off with 4 cloves of garlic and half a white onion chopped sauteed, added all spices chopped veggies, cashews and 1/2 cup of veggie broth and put on the lid and cooked until veggies were soft and the broth almost gone. Dumped all into the blender with nutritional yeast and almond milk.
Husband LOVED this one!
Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
I use this recipe regularly for macaroni. I'm not very exact in my seasoning measurements, but this seasoning mix is perfect for a nacho flavored sauce! Thank you!
That's great to hear! 🙂
mine wasn't so good. wish i had cut recipe in half. i used all organic veggies from my farm share so its very healthy but not so tasty. maybe it was the almond milk that had vanilla bean in it? what a waste of farm to table ingredients.
Hey Susan - I'm guessing the vanilla almond milk threw the taste off. It doesn't sound like an appealing combo.
Oh! Perfect.... I have a patch of turnips that need picking 🙂