The title isn't even supposed to be an exaggeration... I promise you this sauce really is that good. Also, it's made almost entirely from vegetables! I feel like one of the biggest struggles with anyone transitioning to a vegan or dairy free diet is giving up cheese. If I'm being 100% honest, there have been many moments where I miss that warmed up brie with some pepper jelly on a toasted piece of bread...its just *chefs kiss.* However, my alarmingly aggressive dairy allergy does tend to keep me away and its recipes like this that I find to be a delicious substitute.
I'll be honest, she takes a little prep but all you really do is add everything to a blender so I promise its not as bad as it may seem. Not only is our golden cheese sauce vegan and gluten free, she is also nut free!! If you don't know much about vegan cheese, SO many of the alternatives are made with cashews. While this doesn't impact me, tree nuts are one of the top 8 allergens among both children and adults. This recipe option is a great alternative for those who need it, I added it to pasta to make a "mac and cheese" vibe, but it would be great on tortillas, rice bowls, etc. as well!
I could eat this sauce straight from the spoon and I promise it'll be a real crowd pleaser among all your vegan (and non vegan) friends. There are a couple of key ingredients that you may not have on hand but have become SO essential in my daily cooking.
First up, we have miso paste which is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermented soybeans. Miso has the most amazing umami flavor and it has become a real staple in my noodle/sauce dishes. I like to buy mine from Whole Foods or Sprouts!
Next we have tahini, which is Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted sesame. It is my favorite for salad dressings, sauces, and baking. I buy mine from Trader Joes, Sprouts, or Whole Foods usually.
Finally, we have nutritional yeast. If you are familiar with the vegan community, this item has been popularly coined as "nooch." It is made to mimic a cheesy type of flavor in dishes but also is a great source of B12! I like the brand that I linked, but usually just buy it from Trader Joe's where it is much cheaper. You can honestly sprinkle this on anything -- I use it on bowls, toasts, potatoes, pasta & more!
Now, it's finally time for the recipe -- our cheese sauce is made using the one and only: butternut squash! Details are all written out below.
Golden Vegan Cheese Sauce (mac n cheese style)
- gluten free, nut free, dairy free -
1 regular butternut squash
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp white miso paste
3 tbsp tahini
Approximately 1/2 cup of plant milk (I used oat)
garlic powder, salt & black pepper to taste
1/4 block of firm tofu (optional)
spinach (also optional)
Cook, rinse & drain your noodles according to the package and set aside
Start by cutting open your butternut squash and remove the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees
Once cooled, remove the skins and add the flesh of the squash to a high speed blender or food processor
Also in the food processor/blender add nutritional yeast, white miso, tahini, your plant milk + all the seasonings to taste and blend until smooth
**You may have to adjust the amount of liquid used depending on your blender/food processor, just add small amounts in between until you reach a thick/well blended consistency.
**Also, I would recommend about 2 tsp each of seasoning but just taste and adjust as you prefer!
Once your sauce is prepared, pour it over your pasta noodles in a pot and stir until well combined
This part is optional, but I like to add in crumbled tofu and spinach for some added protein! You can add both of these into the pot and just stir until the spinach has wilted and the tofu is well combined
I top my mac and cheese with red pepper flakes + some more black pepper
As always, if you recreate please message me a photo or tag me at @tanya_tastes. Hope you enjoy it! :)