Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

Story by Miranda
Vegan cashew cheese in a jar with a spoon and some raw cashews
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Drizzle it on salads, grain bowls, or on sandwiches as a vegan sub for mayo. Our creamy, smoky vegan cashew cheese sauce is as versatile as it is delectable. 

Magical Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

As mouth-watering and delectable as it is healthy, this lusciously creamy vegan cashew cheese sauce—or should we say vegan cashew “cheese” sauce?—will enliven any meal it touches. If you’ve ever had Yumm sauce, this sauce is a little bit like that, but better. Drizzle it on salads, grain bowls, use it in sandwiches as a vegan sub for mayo—it’s an incredibly versatile sauce. It’s as easy as tossing everything in a blender or food processor and hitting “start”.

One warning, though: once you’ve made it and know how truly easy and addictively delicious it is, there’s no going back. You’ll be making this once a week, minimum. We’re...sorry?  No, scratch that. It’s easy, tasty, and plus! Topping veggies with a healthy pour of this vegan cashew cheese sauce just might get your kids to actually eat them. You’re welcome.

Bowl of raw cashews soaking in water
Vegan Cashew Queso in the base of a vitamix blender

Is Soaking Cashews Necessary?

Soaking the cashews ahead of time is the one thing about this recipe that takes a little foresight. It softens them up, which means they blend easily and make for an ultra-silky cashew cheese sauce. However! If you have a Vitamix or similarly powerful blender and are pinched for time, you don’t have to soak them. Your cashew cheese sauce might be a smidge less creamy, but the final product will still be killer. 

Vegan Cashew Queso cheese sauce in a jar with a spoon

Is Nutritional Yeast Good For You?

YES! And it’s the combination of the rich, savory umami-ness of nutritional yeast and creamy, good-fat filled cashews that makes creamy vegan cashew cheese sauce so gloriously “cheesy” in flavor. If you’ve ever experimented with vegan cooking, you’ve probably encountered nutritional yeast—you may even know that it makes the world’s greatest popcorn topper, and therefore always have a container of it handy. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Nutritional yeast is not the same as the yeast you bake with. Do not—we repeat DO NOT—substitute a packet of dry active yeast for the nutritional yeast called for in this recipe. They’re not at all the same. This is nutritional yeast
  2. Nutritional yeast is super good for you! It’s especially important for vegans and vegetarians, because it’s one of the very few sources of B12 that is not derived from an animal product. Just one tablespoon offers about 40% of your daily recommended dose of B12.  
  3. It is really delicious! The most apt comparison—and one you’ll hear a lot—is that it’s similar in flavor to parmesan cheese. A sprinkle of nutritional yeast lends a super satisfying dose of umami to just about any dish.
Vegan Cashew Queso cheese sauce held on a spoon.

What Can I Put Cashew Cheese Sauce on?

We love to drizzle this sauce of everything! If you need a few suggestions may we recommend one of these great recipes! 

Did You Give This Vegan Cheese Sauce A Try?

If you make this vegan cashew cheese sauce, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and tell your friends where you discovered the recipe. 

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, soaked for three hours
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp chilli powder
2-3 small chipotle peppers (depending on desired heat) OR 2 tsp of chipotle powder
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor. Process or blend until smooth. Enjoy!

*Store for up to a week in a fridge in an airtight container.