This vegan nacho cheese is creamy, rich, and packed with flavor without using any nuts. It is better than store-bought processed versions and is incredibly easy to make. Plus, you can have this budget-friendly sauce ready from scratch in just 20 minutes!
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There is nothing like some delicious vegan dips when the mood strikes. Some other delicious ones I love include this vegan queso dip, cheezy and spicy vegan spinach dip, and vegan buffalo chicken dip. They are incredibly delicious and easy to make too!
❤️ Why you’ll love it
I absolutely love this recipe for its unique blend of flavors and textures to get a nacho cheese effect. It uses pantry staple veggies such as potato, sweet potato, and carrots to get a creamy, savory sauce that will give you a cheesy flavor without any processed ingredients.
It is also simple, easy to make, and budget-friendly. What is best is that you do not need to plan ahead of time to make it either. Simply get any leftover carrot, potato, or sweet potato you do not want to use for your next lunch or dinner, and you are good to go.
The nutritional yeast used in this recipe gives it that depth that will remind you of the traditional version. By blending the ingredients, you will enjoy a creamy, dreamy sauce that is both rich and satisfying.
🧾 Key ingredient
The ingredients needed to make vegan nacho cheese are simple and easy to find. You may already have several of these items in your pantry.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are the main ingredients in this recipe. They provide the sauce with a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness.
Onion and garlic are essential for building a flavor foundation. They lend a savory depth to the sauce that balances the sweetness of the potatoes and carrots.
Vegetable broth is used for both cooking and blending. It helps to soften the vegetables for blending and adds a rich, savory flavor to the sauce.
Sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast are the secret ingredients that make this sauce so special. Sunflower seeds add a nutty flavor and creaminess without the use of cashews, making this recipe nut-free. Nutritional yeast, on the other hand, gives the sauce a cheesy flavor without any dairy.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
For this vegan nacho cheese recipe, the most crucial piece of equipment you will need is a high-power blender such as a Vitamix. It effortlessly turns all the ingredients into a creamy, smooth sauce without leaving any bits behind. While you can use a hand blender, a Vitamix will undoubtedly elevate the texture of your sauce to another level. Trust me, you will notice the difference!
Preparing the ingredients
Start by peeling and dicing your potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Remember, the smaller you dice them, the shorter the cooking time will be.
Next, peel and chop your onion and garlic. These ingredients will add a lot of flavor to your sauce.
Making the vegan nacho cheese
Now, it is time to pre-cook your ingredients. Boil some veggie broth in a pan and add all your diced and chopped vegetables to it. Cook them until they are soft.
Once your vegetables are cooked, reserve one cup of the cooking water. This will be used later to help blend everything into a creamy sauce.
Transfer all the cooked vegetables into a blender.
To this, add sunflower seeds (there is no need to soak them), lemon juice, your favorite spices, corn starch, and the reserved cooking water.
Blend everything together until you have a creamy sauce. Add some nutritional yeast, and blend again. Your simple, tasty, and easy vegan nacho cheese sauce is ready. Enjoy!
💡 Expert tip
For the best vegan nacho cheese sauce, ensure your vegetables are cooked until they are soft before blending. The softer the vegetables, the creamier your sauce will be. Also, remember to reserve some of the cooking water from the vegetables. This broth not only adds flavor but also aids in achieving the perfect creamy consistency when blended with the other ingredients.
If you are a fan of roasted bell peppers, why not add them to your nacho cheese sauce? They will provide a unique texture and smoky flavor to the sauce, adding even more flavor and depth to it.
If you like your food with a bit of heat, consider adding more hot chili powder or red pepper flakes. These spices will give your sauce a kick without overpowering the other flavors. You can adjust the amount according to your taste.
Experiment with different seeds. You can use different seeds like pumpkin seeds or flax seeds instead of sunflower seeds. Each type of seed will bring a unique flavor and texture to this nut-free vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe.
🥣 Serving ideas
This vegan nacho cheese sauce is incredibly delicious and versatile. Use it as a dip for nachos or tortilla chips for a classic way of enjoying it. It also goes great on tacos for a delicious cheesy flavor.
I love serving it alongside sandwiches and wraps, such as crunch wrap supreme, burritos, or chili cheese dogs. I love my fajitas inspired portobello mushroom burger with this sauce. The flavors work great with them, making you enjoy vegan food even more.
You can also enjoy it with your favorite finger food as a tasty dip on the side, such as some vegan buffalo cauliflower. The cheesy sauce will balance out the buffalo flavors beautifully. It is also great with some vegan buffalo chicken wings.
And if you want to get really creative, try using it as a salad dressing on your favorite greens. The veggie-based ingredients of this sauce will enhance the salad even more and make it taste even better.
❄️ Storing tips
Storing and reheating this favorite vegan nacho cheese sauce is easy and does not sacrifice its creamy, delicious flavor.
To store the leftover sauce, allow it to cool down completely. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. The sauce should stay fresh for up to three days.
Unfortunately, freezing this sauce is not recommended due to the nature of the ingredients used in this recipe, particularly the absence of nuts and oil. The texture may change upon thawing, making it less creamy and potentially grainy.
You may reheat the sauce when you are ready to use it again. To do this, pour the sauce into a small pan and warm it over medium heat. You can also serve it at room temperature or cold right out of the fridge.
You can use any type of potato you have on hand. However, I recommend using a starchy potato like Russet or Yukon gold for a creamier texture.
Yes, you can. If you do not have veggie broth, you can use water instead. Just remember to adjust the seasoning as the broth adds extra flavor to the sauce.
No, there is no need to soak the sunflower seeds for this recipe. They blend well without soaking and add a nice creamy texture to the sauce.
You can use flour or arrowroot powder if you do not have cornstarch. These will help to thicken the sauce just like corn starch. There are 20 ways to thicken something that you can also check out to learn more.
The spiciness of the sauce can be adjusted according to your preference. If you like it spicy, add more Sriracha or chili powder. If you prefer a milder sauce, you can reduce the amount or omit these ingredients.
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Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup Potato (diced) 1 medium
- 1 cup Sweet potato (diced) 1 small/medium
- ½ cup Carrot (diced) 1 medium
- ¼ cup Onion (chopped) ½ small
- 1 clove Garlic
- 3 cup Veggie broth
- 1 cup Veggie broth aka cooking water
- ⅓ cup Sunflower seed (raw, unsalted)
- 2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp Corn starch
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- ½ tsp Hot chili powder or flakes
- ½ tsp Sweet smoked paprika powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ⅛ tsp Pepper
- ½ tsp Sriracha (or any other chili paste) optional depending on how hot you like your cheese sauce
- Peel and dice potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. The smaller you dice them, the shorter will be the cooking time.
- Peel and chop onion and garlic.
- Boil veggie broth in a pan and add all vegetables (diced potatoes, diced sweet potatoes, carrots, chopped onion, and garlic). Cook them until soft.
- When ready, reserve 1 cup of cooking water.
Blend everything to make a sauce
- Transfer all cooked vegetables into a blender. Add sunflower seeds (no need to soak them), nutritional yeast, lemon juice, spices, corn starch, and the reserved cooking water.
- Blend them until you have a creamy sauce.