Blended cashew nuts make a perfect creamy sauce that's just right to serve with pasta - or to make a vegan mac and cheese. This cashew cheese sauce recipe is quick and easy and takes just minutes to make.
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Cashew cheese sauce is one of my go-to recipes for a quick lunch.
Simply soak and blend the cashew nuts, whizz them up and hey presto - you have a smooth, creamy sauce.
Quickly cook some pasta and that's lunch, right there.
If you want to up the veggies you're eating then this goes perfectly with a large green salad.
Or you could add some jalapeños or roasted cherry tomatoes to the pasta.
Both are so good.
Is this sauce good for vegan mac n cheese?
The short answer is - yes! This sauce makes amazing cashew macaroni cheese.
If you're in a hurry stir it through the pasta and serve immediately.
Alternatively stir the sauce through the pasta. Top with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for a cashew mac 'n' cheese. Remember that the sauce will thicken up as it bakes so don't worry if it seems too runny.
There are so many recipes online for vegan mac and cheese, or macaroni cheese as we prefer to call it here in the UK, that it can be hard to know where to start.
I love to make dairy free macaroni cheese with this sauce but I also love butternut squash mac and cheese. The latter makes a more orangey sauce that tastes amazing - plus contains a healthy portion of veggies.
How else can you use this vegan cheese sauce?
You could also use your sauce:
- in lasagne
- to make vegan cauliflower cheese
- as a white pizza sauce
- for broccoli cheese
- with potatoes.
For full ingredients list, quantities and instructions see recipe card at the end of this post.
Soak in hot water before blending for a beautifully creamy sauce.
Dairy free milk
I usually use oat or almond milk.
Fortified with vitamins, nutritional yeast has an intensely savoury flavour that many people liken to cheese.
Garlic granules or onion powder
This is optional but a spoonful of either will add some flavour to your cashew sauce.
Salt and pepper
Add as much or as little as you like, to suit your taste.
A little chopped parsley adds a fresh flavour and a splash of colour to your meal.
You can use any kind of pasta with this sauce. For the photos I have used fusilli.
Do you need to soak the cashew nuts before blending?
What I love about this particular cashew cheese sauce recipe is that it is so quick and easy to make.
Yes, the cashews do need to be soaked before blending (otherwise your sauce won't be smooth). However, just 20 minutes in hot water will do.
This sauce is a great one to make for in batches and can be stored in both the fridge or the freezer.
For best results store the sauce separately from the pasta.
Store in the fridge
Once completely cool (the sauce may have got hot in the blender) transfer to an airtight container. Label and store in the fridge for up to five days.
NB: the sauce may thicken in the fridge. You can loosen it with a spoonful of dairy free milk or hot water if needed.
Store in the freezer
Allow to cool then transfer to a freezer bag or box.
Label and date and store in the fridge for up to three months.
Pin quick and easy cashew cheese sauce for later
How to make quick and easy cashew cheese sauce
You will need a blender* to make this recipe.
Vegan cashew cheese sauce
- 100 g cashew nuts
- 250 ml dairy free milk increase to 400ml if baking in the oven*
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules or onion powder optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley chopped, to serve
- 300 g dried pasta
- Put 100g cashew nuts in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside and leave for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook 300g pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Drain the cashew nuts and place in the blender with 250ml* milk and 2 tbsp nutritional yeast. Add 1 tsp onion powder or garlic granules if using. Blend until the sauce is smooth.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir the sauce into the pasta, sprinkle over some chopped parsley and serve immediately.
- If you want to make this sauce for baked macaroni cheese increase the milk quantity to 400ml - it will thicken in the oven as it bakes. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and sauce and bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide only.
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