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My First Cashew “Cheese” Sauce

March 10, 2011

So cashew “cheese” sauces. I’ve seen them on plenty of blogs. Always claiming it tastes just like that creamy, coats your pasta and melts in your mouth real thing, only vegan. And full of healthy fats and protein.

But I’ve never been a huge cheese person, and I also never really believed that cashews could end up tasting like cheese. Like for real?

But after Gena posted her Zesty Orange Cashew Cheese and then Evan made a Garlicky Cashew Cream Sauce I figured they might be onto something. And I’m always up for experimenting with new healthy foods, so last night I soaked some cashews in water.

I went into the day hoping to be inspired by some recipe so I could decide what to actually put my cashew cheese sauce on. If not, I’d just search blogs until I found something. But then I opened Oh She Glows and Angela read my mind.

The recipe? Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze.

The crazy thing is that I have had some cubed butternut squash sitting in my fridge and I had no idea when I was going to use it. It’s like this recipe was made for me.

I halved the recipe since I only wanted two servings, and I started by grinding about 1/3 cup of soaked cashews in my food processor.

Then I added soy milk, lemon juice, 2 TBSP nutritional yeast, garlic, mustard, tumeric, italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. No paprika in mi casa.

Finally it was time to add 1 cup of cubed, roasted butternut squash. The squash really thickened up the sauce.

The pasta (a combo of whole wheat rotini and whole wheat spaghetti) and some frozen peas finished cooking right when I finished the sauce. I strained it and then combined it all in a casserole dish. I had about 1/2 cup of “cheese” sauce leftover.

I popped it in the microwave for 3 minutes and then plated bowled.

So let’s talk about this. It was pretty dang good. I’m not going to tell you it’s like eating Kraft Mac n Cheese because that would be a lie. But this is truly a creamy, lightly cheesey sauce that melts in your mouth. I was proven wrong! I tend to avoid cheese or cream sauces because they aren’t the healthiest, but this one is full of healthy fats from the cashews and protein from the nutritional yeast.

I would absolutely make this again and am excited about figuring out what to do what the extra sauce I have. Perhaps a salad dressing? A take on a quesadilla? Or a pita pizza? Food is so fun:)

  • Have you ever tried a cashew cheese sauce?
  • What new recipe have you tried lately?


17 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2011 8:02 pm

    i’ve seen these cheezy recipes out there! but i feel like they’re soooo much work haha so i think i’ll probably pass on them forever until someone else makes it for me haha

  2. March 10, 2011 8:07 pm

    Yum! Thanks for sharing your review! I’ve seen these “cheese sauce” recipes all over the place, and have also been a little hesitant to try them…but I do love real cheese sauces on pasta, so I’ll have to get some nutritional yeast and try this out.

  3. March 10, 2011 8:10 pm

    No, I haven’t made a cashew cheeze sauce, but I will certainly try it! My latest obsession is Chocolate Covered Katie’s cake batter shake. It doesn’t taste quite like real cake batter, but it’s really yummy (and looks so pretty) πŸ™‚

  4. March 10, 2011 8:16 pm

    I’m a stranger to cashew cheeses, but I do love alfredo (yet not the heavy, greasy feeling afterwards!) I’ve been eyeballing her sauce, and I may have to give it a go!

  5. March 10, 2011 10:41 pm

    Forget love – I’d rather fall in chocolate! ~ Sandra J. Dykes

  6. March 10, 2011 11:01 pm

    Yeah…unfortunately. I have tried it. It’s….different. It’s certainly not cheese. I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to cheese. πŸ™‚

  7. March 11, 2011 6:19 am

    I SAW That recipe!!! i am SO trying this- hands down!

  8. March 11, 2011 6:31 am

    Ooh, this looks SO good!! I have been all about using cashews as based for sauces and spreads and stuff lately. I haven’t tried emulating a cheese sauce yet, but can’t really imagine it would taste all too much like a traditional mac and cheese…but at least a good creamy sauce πŸ™‚

  9. March 11, 2011 7:08 am

    Love your first-time perspective, as I’ve been intrigued and kind of put-off at the same time. I’ll try it!

  10. March 11, 2011 7:30 am

    Yum. I am going to have to try this. I have a lot of recipes on my blog using almond cheese, but I just buy it. I have never tried to make it. I think I would love this.

  11. March 11, 2011 9:36 am

    this sounds yummy, definately going to try it!

  12. March 11, 2011 10:01 am

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe! Looks amazing!

    ps. I’m about to head to Book People to check out that book you did the review on!

  13. March 11, 2011 10:54 am

    This looks delicious, glad you found a recipe that worked for you! πŸ™‚

  14. June 11, 2011 2:30 am

    Thanks so much for doing this review. I’ve been severely put off by the gritty feel of flour based “cheeze” sauces… ironically my husband doesn’t mind them, and he’s not even vegetarian!

    Anyway, point is I’ve been trying to find something that makes it creamy, without the 1/4 cup of flour required to make a roux, and I think this just may do the trick.


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