Spicy vegan nacho cheese sauce


The concept of a vegan, cashew-based nacho sauce had been intriguing me but it took me a while to try to make it. Mostly this was because a lot of recipes I’d seen call for pre-soaking the cashews overnight, which requires too much planning for my spontaneous cooking style.  But the desire for gooey cheesy goodness prevailed, and luckily, after a few messes, I have come up with a shortcut technique for this sauce that takes no pre-soaking and is pretty spot on! Rich, creamy, just the right amount of umami and spicy, and quite satisfying. You won’t miss the cheese version, really! Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

The possibilities for using this remarkable substance are endless: drizzle it over your nachos, flavor your cooked veggies, serve it as a dip for chips and crudites…let me know if you come up with any creative new ways to use it! And here’s a teaser for next time: stay tuned for an upcoming super yummy dinner recipe featuring this sauce.



  • 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp Mexican hot pepper sauce (I used my favorite, Cholula)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt (I used TJ’s chili garlic smoked sea salt) – optional, but adds great depth of flavor – sub regular sea salt plus 1/2 tsp garlic powder if not using
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 chopped ripe cherry or grape tomatoes (or half of a ripe tomato, chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water, just boiled

Add all the ingredients except the water to a food processor, and process until you get a thick grainy orange paste (about 3 min).


Next, while the food processor is running (to avoid a big mess!) very slowly add the hot water and let it incorporate into the sauce. You may need to scrape unincorporated stuff off the sides once or twice. You will know the sauce is ready when you have a thick creamy uniform warm orange delicious-smelling goo. Season to taste with salt and extra hot sauce if desired.


Can be used immediately, or stored in a sealed glass container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated for use later. Best served hot. Buen provecho!



One thought on “Spicy vegan nacho cheese sauce

  1. Pingback: Fiesta baked potato casserole with cashew queso | Rofat HaSalat

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