Cheese. The bane of my existence. I used to live for cheese. All kinds of cheese: creamy cheese, stinky cheese, hard cheese, soft cheese. I loved French cheese, Italian cheeses, even synthetic American cheeses. Cheese made of cow’s milk, goat’s milk cheese, sheep’s milk cheese….if it was an animal and it could produce milk, I ate the cheese. Anything with cheese as a main ingredient: Mac n Cheese, cheese pizza, fried cheese, cheese fondue…anything. Anything and everything,
And then I started studying nutrition. And all of that…. Every. Single. Piece. Of. Cheese. was thrown out the window. Bye.
Now my life is consumed with finding cheese substitutes. And I don’t mean the occasional sprinkling of nutritional yeast. I mean fermentation, blending, baking, combining. Essentially- chemistry in the kitchen. Thus far, I have not been disappointed.
In this blog, there are a number of recipes for different vegan cheeses but below is the latest discovery. There are no exact measurements because I tend to stand around my Vitamix, adding in ingredients to enhance saltiness, yeastiness, creaminess and color. The possibilities are infinite and the taste is generally pretty damn good. I made a double portion of this sauce and used it as the filling for baked stuffed peppers (of which I totally forgot to photograph) but they were fed to a table of five non-vegans and were devoured by all. I then added a bit of filtered water to the cheese and used it as a cheese sauce to serve over pasta (think: mac n cheese) which was served to another two non-vegans and one even took a doggy bag of the cheese sauce for her lunch the next day (success? Absolutely). Finally, I used the cheese sauce last night as a topping for some black bean veggie burgers (along with avocado and tomato)…. The veggie burger that I also served to my husband- who doesn’t eat anything I make and refuses to accept veganism: and guess what? He loved it. He asked for seconds.
So yeah, this cheese sauce is a winner. Make it. Make it yours. Change the spices around a bit. Do what you gotta do. But make it. Because it is totally awesome. And a plus? Really freaking easy!!!!!
Spicy cashew cheese sauce
- I cup cashews (I soaked mine for about two hours, but they also work boiled quickly. And admittedly, I did them raw once and the sauce turned out fine)
- 1 half of lemon squeezed
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ clove garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp miso
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- sprinkle hot chili powder
- sprinkle cayenne powder
- sprinkle chipotle chili powder
- Himalayan salt to taste (I used about ¼ tsp)
- Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor (I always use my Vitamix) and add filtered water little by little until desired consistency is reached. As I mentioned before, add as much or as little of any of the ingredients. I tend to like this sauce pretty spicy and salty and not too thick but tastes differ and so should the recipe at the end of the day! The more often you make this sauce, the more it becomes second nature. Enjoy!