Recipe: Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

updated Feb 5, 2020
Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

This is my favorite spread for making veggie nori rolls, but I also love it as dip for raw vgetables, a sandwich spread, or even a salad dressing, thinned with a little water. I would never say that this really tastes like cheese, but it does make a fine plate of nachos spooned over tortilla chips topped with warmed black beans and scallions.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

I learned this recipe about a year ago from my sister Jill, and she learned it from raw foodist friends of hers. Before that, it had been decade at least since I bought nutritional yeast, which gives this sauce its nutty, cheese-like flavor. The vitamin-packed powder is hippie food and a vegan staple, but it happens to taste amazing too. I love it sprinkled on popcorn and even apple slices, though this recipe is the best use of the stuff I’ve ever found.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

Makes 3 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    large red bell peppers, roughly chopped

  • 2 cups

    raw cashews

  • 1 cup

    nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 clove

    garlic, optional

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1/2 teaspoon

    red chile flakes (or less, depending on your spice tolerance)


  1. Soak the cashews overnight in cold water to soften, unless you have a high power blender such as a Vitamix.

  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, making sure the red peppers are on the bottom. Blend until a smooth sauce forms, adding a bit of water if the blender is having trouble blending.

  3. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. The cheese sauce will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.