I like having alternatives. In this case, a dairy-free nacho cheese-y sauce. Whether it is for a person with a lactose intolerance, a cholesterol issue or another dietary or kosher restriction, it’s good to have something for those reasons.
This recipe intrigued me because there is a cup of grated carrots in the mix…a healthy addition and adds to the nice orange colour. The recipe came from the vegan cookbook Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon – recipe named: Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip. The author prepared this sauce as part of a baked nacho casserole dish but I only wanted the sauce to make a plate of nachos as a snack. I have also used this sauce to top a bowl of bean chili — really delicious.
This one step has to be prepare in advance. A cup of raw cashews needs to be softened by soaking in water for at least 2 hours or longer if you have the time.
While they are soaking, I gathered up the rest of the ingredients – nutritional yeast which is available in a health food store (and has a cheesy aroma already), grated carrots, lemon juice, a garlic clove, sea salt, chili powder, onion powder and freshly ground pepper. The original recipe has cayenne pepper but there will be enough heat from the chili powder; in fact reduce the amount of chili powder too if you don’t want the sauce as spicy.
Boil up the shredded carrots covered with water for a few minutes until just tender. Drain and cool.
Drain the cashews and give them a rinse. Put all the ingredients plus 2/3 of a cup of water into a blender and blend until very smooth.
I was amazed by how this sauce has the colour and texture, and most importantly taste of a spicy nacho cheese sauce. So now the final test…serve nachos to my husband…
He’s impressed! I got the ‘OK’ symbol — yay! Nacho chips covered with salsa and cheese sauce, warmed up a bit in the microwave and then topped with some sliced green onions for extra colour and flavour. It’s a winner. Give it a try.
Dairy-free Nacho Cheese-y Sauce
from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup peeled and grated carrots
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1 1⁄4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
3⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Place the cashews in a medium bowl and add water to cover. Set aside to soak for at least 2 hours, or longer. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
- Place the carrots in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook the carrots for only 3 minutes, or until just fork-tender. Drain.
- In a blender, combine the drained cashews, drained cooked carrots, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne (if using), and 2⁄3 cup water and blend until very smooth, adding a little extra water if needed for texture. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and use as needed. Works great for nachos or chili.