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Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce or Dip – Vegan and Gluten Free

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce

Oh I do love my Froothie blender. It makes such beautifully smooth sauces and has encouraged me to be so much more adventurous than I used to be. Vegan cheese sauce has been on my radar for a couple of years now. Last month, I finally got around to making some. This cheesy cashew nut sauce really is a revelation and I’ll be making it a regular part of my repertoire.

Nutritional Yeast

Sceptical as ever, I doubted the many claims I’ve heard that you can make a vegan cheese sauce that actually tastes like cheese sauce. How wrong I was. Even CT was fooled. Nutritional yeast is a key ingredient and it gives that savoury umami note that is essential in a good hard cheese. Until I attended the vegan cookery course at The Vegetarian Society last year, I’d never really come across nutritional yeast before. It has many benefits such as a high Vitamin B12 content and it’s a complete protein to boot.

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce or Dip

As usual I’ve tried to make this cheesy cashew nut sauce as nutritious as possible. I’ve seen some vegan versions where potato forms the base of the sauce, but I wanted my version to be protein rich. Cashew nuts seemed like the obvious answer. In addition to the nuts and nutritional yeast, I added an onion, garlic and a carrot for extra nutrients as well as colour.

Ultra Smooth Sauce

The sauce is super simple to make, though a little planning is needed. It’s best to soak the cashew nuts for at least two hours before blending and the vegetables need cooking in order to make the stock. I used a little vinegar to replicate the acidity of cheese. I think I achieved that cheesy cheddar tang I was after. The small jug of my Optimum G2.3 induction blender* came into its own and was used to whizz the ingredients together to produce an ultra smooth sauce. It has an ingenious lid with blades that you can rotate by hand whilst the mixture is blending. This puts an end to ingredients getting stuck and refusing to budge – something that used to frustrate me hugely.

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce

If you’d like to order any Froothie appliance* including the G2.3 blender, I can offer Tin and Thyme readers free P&P. Just add 2483 free ambassador delivery to the comment box when ordering. Delivery will be credited back onto your card. As I go to press all orders over £200 come with a free nutriforce extractor.

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce

I’m rather pleased with what I’ve come up with. The beauty of this cheesy cashew nut sauce is that it really does taste like cheese sauce. It can, however, be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. Anyone except those with a nut allergy of course. As well as being dairy free and vegan, it’s also gluten free.

Vegan Cheese Sauce

My cheesy cashew nut sauce works equally well as a sauce or a dip. It can be used to make lasagne type dishes, poured over a baked potato or steamed veg. In fact it can be treated in any other way you’d use a traditional cheese sauce. We enjoyed this as a dip one day, spread over bread another day and poured over a baked potato and steamed broccoli on the third day. Not bad, eh?

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce – The Recipe

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce
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Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce or Dip (Vegan & Gluten Free)

This flavoursome vegan cheesy cashew nut sauce can be used for pouring over steamed veg and baked potatoes or as a lasagne component. Make it slightly thicker and it makes an excellent dip.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dips, Spreads & Sauces
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cashews, gluten-free, nutritional yeast, sauce, vegan
Servings: 4 people


  • 100 g cashew nuts - soaked & rinsed
  • 50-100 ml vegetable stock - depending on how thick or runny you want the sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar I used kombucha vinegar
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • ½ tsp tamari


  • 1 medium carrot - scrubbed
  • 1 small onion - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - peeled
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parsley stalk
  • pinch sea salt


  • Soak the cashew nuts in water for at least 2 hours then rinse and drain.
  • Make the stock by throwing the veg, herbs, pepper and salt in a pot and covering with water. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Drain the stock and remove the bay leaf and parsley stalk from the veg. 
  • Place the veg into a power blender with the remaining ingredients and 50ml of the liquid stock. Blitz until the sauce is smooth. This will give a good dipping consistency. To make a pourable sauce, add more stock until the required consistency is achieved.


The longer you can soak the cashew nuts the better - best soaked overnight or for 8 hours if possible.
Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a week.


Cook Once Eat TwiceI’m sharing my recipe for cheesy cashew nut sauce with Searching for Spice for Cook Once Eat Twice.


Other recipes for vegan sauces you might like

For even more sauce recipe inspiration, head over to my saucy sauces board on Pinterest.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this cheesy cashew nut sauce, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce. PIN IT.

Cheesy Cashew Nut Sauce or Dip (vegan & gluten free) Can be used anywhere you'd expect to use cheese sauce, including hot dishes such as cauliflower cheese. #TinandThyme #VeganRecipe #VeganCheeseSauce #CashewSauce #CheeseSauce #veganuary

I use a Froothie Optimum power blender* for smoothies, spreads, sauces and even chocolate making. This post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging. 


  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    10th July 2017 at 9:50 am

    I too love to use cashews to make dressings and dips! This looks terrific!

    • Choclette

      10th July 2017 at 11:55 am

      Thanks Angie. I’m fairly new to using nuts to make sauces, but I’ve made a few now and I’ve been happy with them all.

  2. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    10th July 2017 at 11:54 am

    You can never have too many cheezy dips, eh? Will cause a snacking addiction!

    • Choclette

      10th July 2017 at 12:01 pm

      I think I might already have a snacking addiction – oops!

  3. johanna @ green gourmet giraffe

    10th July 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I love vegan cheese sauces and think cashews are a great base – I have tried potato based sauces and think they just don’t have the right texture. Serving it over potato and broccoli though sounds wonderful

    • Choclette

      10th July 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Potato just doesn’t appeal somehow, though the sauce went wonderfully well on top of potatoes. I did take some photos, but they weren’t great, so didn’t include them. Now I’ve made vegan cheese sauce once, there will be no stopping me.

  4. Kate

    10th July 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I must admit, I have yet to try a “cheese” sauce with nutritional yeast. I am totally skeptical. I will have to try it sometime, though. This looks so tasty!

    • Choclette

      11th July 2017 at 4:10 pm

      I was sceptical too Kate and it took me a long time to try making one. I’m so glad I did 🙂

  5. Jacqueline Meldrum

    10th July 2017 at 4:50 pm

    What a fabulous idea for a dip Choclette. It looks so cheesey, creamy and lush. Mmmmmm! Shared!

    • Choclette

      11th July 2017 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Jac. I was quite surprised to find it really did taste cheesy – a great discovery.

  6. Kate Hackworthy

    11th July 2017 at 10:48 am

    It looks so creamy and delicious. I love how smooth the blender got the sauce/dip!

    • Choclette

      11th July 2017 at 4:07 pm

      I’ve said it before and I expect I’ll say it many times again: I would be lost without my Froothie blender 🙂

  7. kellie@foodtoglow

    11th July 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I have been a fan of “nooch” for awhile, with my favourite using being to sprinkle it over popcorn. No cooking! And I do make sauce with it too, but truly nothing like this. I am putting this on my must try very soon list. Thanks for sharing. And the new Froothie blender sounds fab!

    • Choclette

      12th July 2017 at 2:32 pm

      Oh “nooch”, what a fabulous word. How did that come about? I’ll have to try it over popcorn now, sounds like a very good idea.

  8. Nadia

    11th July 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I love homemade nut based cheeses! I was also skeptical about nutritional yeast when I first heard of it but now I use it all the time! I love how versatile this recipe is 🙂

    • Choclette

      12th July 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Yes, it’s one of those things that just has to be tried I reckon. Now I’ve opened and used my pack of nutritional yeast, I’ll be using it a lot more.

  9. Sus //

    11th July 2017 at 7:38 pm

    I need to make this ASAP. I had something very similar in Norway over the weekend. Does it keep for a few days? If I don’t have tamari can I leave it out?

    • Choclette

      12th July 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Sus. Ooh Norway, how fabulous. It will keep in the fridge for a few days no problem and yes if you don’t have tamari or other good quality soy sauce, just use sea salt instead.

  10. Corina

    12th July 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I’m intrigued by vegan cheese sauces and would love to try nutritional yeast just so I can see for myself what it’s like. It’s great that it’s so similar to a traditional cheese sauce and can even fool people! Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice

    • Choclette

      12th July 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Yes, it’s quite amazing and I didn’t really believe it until I tried it for myself.

  11. Nico @ yumsome

    12th July 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Welcome to the wonderful vegan world of nooch & cashew cheese!

    I love it when non-vegans discover all this stuff for themselves…. part of me wants to nonchalantly say, “Yeah, lots of us have been making this stuff for a decade – fab isn’t it?” but the bigger part wants to say, “OK, you’ve mastered this, now it’s time to make seitan!”


    Lovely recipe, Choclette, and it’s brilliant that you’re introducing it to a wider audience too! Keep it up! xx

    • Choclette

      13th July 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Hahaha, I know how you feel Nico. it’s the same for me when it comes to foraging or cultured foods or even wholefoods.

  12. Kavey Favelle

    25th August 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I keep reading about the combination of nutritional yeast and cashews to make a veggie cheese-like dip and am so intrigued. It does look really delicious!

    • Choclette

      8th January 2019 at 10:05 am

      Gosh, how terribly remiss of me. I’ve only just spotted your comment Kavey. I do apologise. Have you tried nutritional yeast yet?

  13. Cathy @ Planet Veggie

    31st August 2017 at 3:24 pm

    I love making cheesey vegan food out of cashews – I always buy a big bag of them when I see them in the supermarket!

    • Choclette

      31st August 2017 at 8:53 pm

      I wasn’t surprised it was good as I’ve heard so many foodies go on about it, but it was even nicer than I was expecting.

  14. Mandy

    2nd November 2017 at 4:34 pm

    I’ve been meaning to make cashew cheese for ages – will have to give this a try

    • Choclette

      5th November 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Well this isn’t quite cheese, it’s a sauce really. But it’s jolly delicious.


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