This easy veggie cheese sauce is a healthy alternative to cheese that is made with simple plant-based ingredients and pureed into a delicious vegan cheese sauce that will get even picky eaters to eat their vegetables! Made with squash, carrots, and your choice of cashews, beans, or potatoes, this cheese sauce is packed with nutrients and flavor!
If you want to sneak more vegetables into your kids, or you just want to eat mac and cheese or nachos without the guilt, this recipe is for you! It's a thick, creamy, and cheesy sauce packed with plant-based nutrients and 129% of your RDA of vitamin A!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- It's quick and easy to make with simple ingredients.
- The sauce is full of healthy vegetables.
- It's plant-based, gluten-free, soy-free, and easily made nut-free or oil-free too.
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- Squash - any type of squash will work. I usually use yellow squash or butternut squash, but you can use any type. You will need 2 cups of any variety that you choose.
- Carrots - for flavor and color. You will need about 2 medium or 10 baby carrots.
- Oil - just a little olive oil or other neutral-flavored oil to warm the garlic in to bring out the flavor. You can omit the oil to make it oil-free.
- Garlic - for flavor.
- Vegetable Broth - to give the cheese sauce more flavor. You can also use water.
- Nutritional Yeast - to give it a cheesier flavor. You can leave it out if you want, it will still have a nice flavor. Check out this link for more about nutritional yeast.
- Onion Powder - for flavor.
- Paprika - for flavor. Smoked paprika gives a great smokey flavor if you want that.
- Turmeric - for color and nutrition. (optional)
- Lemon Juice - for flavor and to give the cheese a little acidity.
- Cashews, Potatoes, or White Beans - to make the sauce thick and creamy. For this you can choose from 1 cup of cashews, 1 1/4 cup of diced potato or 1 can of white beans - drained and rinsed. I like to use cashews to give it a rich and creamy texture. (No need to soak the cashews beforehand, they will soften when cooked with the squash.) Potatoes and beans also work great, but they will not be as smooth and creamy as cashews.
- Salt - for flavor.
🔪 Helpful tools
Immersion Blender - or a traditional blender. I prefer to use a metal stick blender aka immersion blender, so I don't have to transfer hot liquid and so that the hot sauce doesn't come in contact with plastic.
- Put some oil in a saucepan and add minced garlic. Turn on the heat to the lowest setting and let the garlic warm in the oil while you are preparing the other ingredients.
- Peel and cut squash and carrots into bite-sized pieces and toss them in with the oil and garlic.
- Add your choice of cashews, white beans, or potatoes.
- Add 2 cups of vegetable broth, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Turn up the heat to medium and allow to boil slowly for about 10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft enough to break apart when you stick a fork in them.
- Blend with an immersion blender for about 2-3 minutes until very smooth and creamy. (or transfer to a blender to blend)
- Use as you would any cheese sauce. Pour over pasta or use it as a cheese dip, or make loaded vegan nachos with it.
🥡 Storage and reheating
Refrigerate: Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for 3 - 5 days in a sealed container.
Freezer - Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheating - reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop until warm.
You will find many types of vegan cheeses and cheese sauces on my site. Just as there are many types of cheese, there are many types of vegan cheese as well. This sauce doesn't taste exactly like cheese, but it has a great cheesy flavor that will satisfy your cravings. If you want a cheese sauce that tastes more like real cheese check out my vegan nacho cheese sauce.
🧀 More vegan cheeses
- Vegan Smoked Gouda
- Vegan Garlic Herb
- Vegan Pepper Jack
- Melty Vegan Mozzarella
- Vegan Cheddar
- Vegan Cream Cheese
If you are interested in learning how to make more easy homemade vegan cheeses, check out my cookbook, "The Ultimate Guide to Easy Vegan Cheese Making."
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
A rich and creamy vegan cheese sauce made from vegetables.
- 2 cups butternut squash (or summer squash) cut, peeled and cubed
- 2 medium carrots or about 10 baby carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup raw cashews or 1 1/4 cup potatoes peeled and cubed, or 1 can of white beans drained and rinsed.
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste (The amount needed will depend on sodium in your broth and personal preference.)
Put some oil in a saucepan and add minced garlic. Turn on the heat to the lowest setting and let the garlic warm in the oil while you are preparing the other ingredients.
Peel and cut squash and carrots into bite-sized pieces and toss them in with the oil and garlic.
Add your choice of cashews, white beans, or potatoes.
Add 2 cups of vegetable broth, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Turn up the heat to medium and allow to boil slowly for about 10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft enough to break apart when you stick a fork in them.
Blend with an immersion blender for about 2-3 minutes until very smooth and creamy (or transfer to a blender to blend).
Use as you would any cheese sauce. Pour over pasta or use it as a cheese dip, or make loaded vegan nachos with it.
*Nutrition facts are calculated using butternut squash and cashews.
- Omit the oil for an oil-free cheese.
- Add 1 tsp of miso paste just before blending for a more cheddar cheese flavor. (Omit the salt if you do this since miso is salty.)
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