This Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce Is Your Weeknight Dinner Hero

vegan cheese sauce
Photo Credit: Eva Kolenko

“Unless you were raised by macrobiotic hippies, you’ve had it. I’ve had it. And there’s no shame in saying it—we’ve all had macaroni and cheese out of the box.” So says Miyoko Schinner in her book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples, which includes an impossibly “cheesy” vegan cheese sauce — in shelf-stable form.

But her book is more than just one recipe. Schinner offers a rock-solid foundation of staples for your kitchen that promise tons of flavor; Schinner is all about enticing people to a plant-based diet not through ideology, but through taste.

Her recipes will save you money and time. Consider, for example, that half-gallon of soy milk that runs around $4 at the store. To make the same amount of soy milk at home it only takes a handful of soybeans and some water. And, by making it at home, you’re eliminating the environmental impact of packaging, shipping and storage. Need more proof? There’s homemade vanilla extract that makes use of leftover vodka.

But About That Vegan Cheese Sauce

When it comes to vegan cheese sauce, her genius recipe is as simple as blitzing a few ingredients together in the food processor to make a vegan cheese powder. Stick the gloriously cheesy-tasting powder in your pantry and you’re set to combat five weeknight dinner panics in convenient succession.

When you’re ready to use the cheese mix, cook 1 cup of dry macaroni (we like brown rice elbows like Tinkyada) according to package instructions and drain. Whisk together 1/3 cup mix with 1 cup water or unsweetened nondairy milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer, then toss with hot cooked macaroni noodles.

vegan cheese sauce
Photo Credit: Eva Kolenko

Well-Crafted Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

  • Serves: 5
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • ¾ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons powdered mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until a fine powder is formed. There should not be any discernible chunks or large granules of cashews, so this may take 3 to 4 minutes of processing.
  2. Store this in a jar or portion out into 1/3-cup increments and store in ziplock bags in the pantry for up to two months or refrigerate for up to 6 months.
  3. How to use the cheese mix: Cook 1 cup of dry macaroni according to package instructions and drain. Combine 1/3 cup mix with 1 cup water or unsweetened nondairy milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil while whisking. Simmer for 1 minute, then toss with hot cooked macaroni noodles.