Nacho Cheeze Sauce

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm continuing to reflect on my early posts and how my vegan cooking skills and pallet has evolved. Early on, I spent a lot of time looking at vegan cheese sauces. Nutritional yeast, for many, is an acquired taste. It was for me and, although it has it's place, I still keep my nutritional yeast usage to a minimum. In my opinion, these sauces are cheesy, not yeasty.

I was once a major cheese junkie and my need for cheeziness has led me to develop some delicious sauces. Here's a list of cheese sauces I posted in my first year:

Nacho Sauce (below): This is a delicious sauce. The flavor is amazing, but it has one drawback. It is a cooked sauce, thickened with cornstarch. As a result, it clumps as it cools and it doesn't reheat well. It's still amazingly tasty the second time through, just a bit lumpy. I blend this up and freeze it in 1 cup batches, then microwave it until it thickens. Problem solved. This is the recipe posted below.

Dippable Nacho Sauce
: I solved the reheat problem with this sauce. It is thickened with cream cheese and has a great consistency at room temperature. Perfect for a cheezy dip along-side corn chips. If you heat it, do so gently.

Chedda Sauce: This is a thick sauce that tastes more like cheddar cheese. Its base is chickpeas, its pretty healthy and it makes amazing grilled cheeze sandwiches. Also, it doesn't clump as it cools, so it can be reheated. When you heat it, heat it gently.

Instant Mac & Cheese: I posted this sauce barely a month ago and it only took three days to become my most popular post ever. The sauce is delicious, it's creamy and stable and it reheats just fine. I make the powder by the bag and store it in my refrigerator where the kids can cook some pasta, and just dump in the sauce powder with some boiling water. Ta Da!

Cheezy Enchiladas

Nacho Sauce

1/4 cup cashews
1 cup water
2 oz pimentos
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 small lemon, juiced (about 1 tbs)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs canola oil
2 oz diced green chilies

I usually double these amounts.

Add the water and pimentos to a blender and blend thoroughly. Add the cashews and leave in the pimento water while you add the other ingredients. Add the cornstarch, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and oil. Blend again until thoroughly combined. Add the green chilies.

For immediate use: pour into a sauce pan (stove) or glass container (microwave) and heat just until it begins to bubble. Stir and serve.

For freezer: pour into single use containers, I make about a cup at a time, and freeze. Then defrost in the fridge and heat as above.

8 (1/4 cup) Servings: 72 calories (6g fat, 4g carbs, 2g protein)

Note: I grind my cashews separately so it prevents lumps of cashews. If your blender isn't great (like mine) you can grind the nuts separately in a coffee grinder or just be careful when pouring out the sauce. Cashew chunks will tend to sink to the bottom. Also, if you zip your nuts in a sandwich baggie and give them a good pounding, they'll be perfect for blending or grinding).

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  1. Lou Says:
  2. Hi Matt, me and my partner just made your Chedda Sauce and toasted a sarnie with it - thank you, so much, for sharing it, it was bloody gorgeous. It's literally just before bed time here, but when I saw it, I ran down the stairs and got him to help me, we're glad we didn't wait til tomorrow :)

    I really enjoy your blog, and have been following silently for a while now. Thank you for all the effort and please keep up the great work:)

  3. I've seen other cheese & cheese sauce recipes that use pimentos - I can't find them here in Australia, but I believe they're a kind of small red pepper. Could I use bell peppers or some other kind of pepper as a substitute?

  4. A pimento is a mild sweet pepper that provides a nice undertone of flavor and, more importantly, a realistic color. you could use a red bell pepper or other sweet pepper should work fine. I would expect 4 oz to be about 1/4 cup.

  5. Michal Says:
  6. I cant wait to try this recipe out, i have been looking for a good and quick nacho sauce to make for chili cheese fries. Thank you and I look forward to reading more of your blog!

  7. Alex Says:
  8. oh. my goodness. after finally going out and getting pimientos, i was all set to make your nacho cheeze sauce...only to find that i had no cashews (when did i use the last of those?!), so i subbed brazil nuts which worked pretty well. i topped tortilla chips with some chorizo-style ground seitan (i know, i know, i should've made the seitan too, but it was on sale) and the nacho sauce. i was instantly taken back to high school football games where i devoured those overpriced nachos with the mysterious cheese-goop (except yours is not nearly as bad for you, i'm sure!). so thank you very much! i hardly ever use any cheese substitute or flavoring (except nooch, of course), so this was definitely a nice treat! i probably will use the rest in some bean burritos or maybe spinach quesadillas. mmmmmm.

  9. Anonymous Says:
  10. I hardly ever comment on recipes but just have to comment here and thank you for this recipe. This was by far the best vegan cheese I have ever had. I am planning an entire weeks worth of meals around this cheese, and currently eating it right out of the pot with a spoon. This recipe is absolutely amazing, it reminds me of the movie theater cheese I used to eat as a child, but better. Thank you for sharing it!


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