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This Magic Cheese Sauce Isn't Made from Cheese

You'll want to put this plant-based cheese sauce on everything.
By Published Apr. 2, 2021

A good cheese sauce can be used in many ways: poured over tortilla chips, smothered on vegetables, or even slathered on a burger if you’re feeling saucy. The possibilities are endless. 

But say you don’t eat cheese. Do you just forgo the magic of a melty cheese sauce forever? Fear not. In our new Complete Plant-Based Cookbook, test cook Joe Gitter set out to solve the mystery. And boy did he solve it—you’ll never believe that this “cheese” sauce is vegan.

He experimented with many different ingredients during development but ultimately settled on something surprising and untraditional: Joe boiled potatoes and then blended them. This is a perfect example of what not to do if you’re making mashed potatoes, but this gluey, sticky mess ended up being the perfect base for a cheese-like sauce. 

Next was the question of how to make it look like cheese. Joe blended in carrots, which helped contribute color. Nutritional yeast, a staple in vegan cooking to add savory flavor, was also essential here. The addition of mustard powder added to the depth of the flavor profile. After adding some vegetable oil for texture and vinegar for tang, we had a vegan “cheese” sauce that looked like cheese; smelled like cheese; and most importantly, tasted like cheese. No foolin’.

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You can use this sauce like you would any regular cheese sauce, but some of our suggested ways to use it include adding it to our plant-based Double Smashie Burgers or in our Loaded Meaty Nacho Dip, which you can find in the book. If you want to add some kick, feel free to add some chipotle chiles in adobo for some smokiness.

Cheez Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (⅓ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
  1. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Add potatoes and carrot and cook until tender, about 12 minutes; drain in colander. 
  2. Combine cooked vegetables, 1/3 cup water, oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt, and mustard powder in blender. Pulse until chopped and combined, about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. (You will need to stop processing to scrape down sides of blender jar several times for mixture to come together.) Process mixture on high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Serve. (Sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days; reheat in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until glossy and pourable. Adjust consistency with hot water as needed.)

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