A simple and delicious, nut-free vegan cheese sauce that’s ready in 5 minutes, with no fancy ingredients! It’s silky smooth, packed with flavour, low in fat, and perfect for dunking and drizzling on all your favourite things.
This recipe was originally published in April 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
Unlike many vegan cheeses out there, this one does not require any fancy ingredients like agar agar or tapioca starch.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with “fancy” ingredients. Our shreddable and meltable vegan cheese (that’s perfect on pizza) uses a couple.
But when you’re looking to whip something up in just 5 minutes, this nut-free vegan cheese sauce is a winner! Plus, all you need are a handful of pantry items. 😉
What to expect?
A cheesy flavour that’s savoury, smoky, and bold. It’s incredibly addictive and you’re going to love it!
The texture is ultra creamy and silky smooth.
The prep time is minimal and there’s NO cooking time.
Added bonuses? Unlike “real” cheese sauce, this one is dairy-free (of course) and FAR lower in fat and calories, without sacrificing flavour!
In fact, I’m going to be bold and say this WFPB (whole food plant-based) vegan cheese recipe is even MORE flavourful than the real deal.
Ingredients + Substitutions
Here’s everything you’ll need to make our delicious vegan cheese sauce recipe.
- Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds keep this vegan nacho cheese nut-free. But, if you don’t have any on hand, sunflower seeds also work. If you’re not avoiding nuts, you may use cashews or blanched almonds. OR you can try tofu, but make sure to reduce the water to reach desired consistency.
- Roasted red peppers: Use peppers jarred in water, and not marinated in oil to keep this oil-free.
- Nutritional yeast: Adds savoury and cheesy flavour.
- Hot sauce: For flavour and a very subtle kick. You may omit if preferred.
- Rice vinegar: Adds a hint of tang. You may also use lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand.
- Seasoning: Garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt make the perfect blend of spices to amp up the flavour of our vegan cheese sauce. (Onion powder works over garlic powder if preferred.)
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Add all the ingredients to your blender.
Process until completely smooth.
NOTE: Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and re-blend to stir it in.
That’s it, easy peasy!
Now go and enjoy it with all your favourite things!
How to use it
So. Many. Ways!
Here are some of my favourites.
- Dip tortilla chips, raw veggies, home fries, or potato wedges.
- Drizzle it over vegan nachos or a baked potato.
- Pour some on our not-so-traditional poutine.
- Drizzle over roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or brussels sprouts.
- Make some pasta or vegan mac and cheese with it.
- Or spread some into a burger, sandwich, or wrap.
Use a strong blender, like a Vitamix, for the smoothest texture. If you don’t have a powerful blender, soak your seeds in hot water before proceeding with the recipe to help soften them first.
Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a sealed container.
To freeze, store the cheese sauce in a freezer-safe airtight container, and leave a little space for expansion. Keep frozen for up to 3 months.
- Use unsalted, raw pepitas or sunflower seeds. If you don’t have, or cannot find unsalted, make sure to halve the added salt. Once blended you may taste and add more salt, if needed.
- To ensure the cheese sauce has no oil, use roasted red peppers that have been jarred in water, and not marinated in oil. (Or roast your own.)
More delicious vegan cheeses
If you tried this recipe, please let me know about it in the comments below. I always love hearing from you! Don’t forget to Subscribe to This Healthy Kitchen to be among the first to get my new recipes! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to see more delicious food and get all the latest updates.
- ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds or raw sunflower seeds
- ½ cup fresh water or start with a little less for a thicker sauce
- 8 ounces roasted red peppers approx. 2 large peppers
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce of choice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Add all the ingredients to your blender and process until smooth.
- Serve with tortilla chips, on nachos, with steamed or roasted broccoli or cauliflower, or over potato wedges or poutine.
I have to tell you that I have tried every “cheese” sauce over the years & this one is my absolute favorite!! It’s incredibly delicious, cheesy, so healthy & low calorie!! You have created a masterpiece here & I want to thank you SO MUCH, as it has helped me stay plant based & on track with my goals. Anytime I’m craving a cheesy meal I put this on top & I like to joke (but its true) “I put that sh*t on Everything!!!!” hahaha It’s perfect on salads, as a dip, on pasta (konjac or veggie to keep it healthy & low calorie), cauli rice, the list goes on!
Thank you so much for creating & sharing such a wonderful receipe! If I produce a book of absolute top vegan receipes from different chefs one day, this one is at the top of my list!! All the Best!
*The receipe rating was missed on the other one, please use this one 🙂
Thank you so much for the glowing review Chanelle! I’m thrilled you’ve been enjoying our vegan cheese sauce so much, and appreciate you taking the time to share this with us. 🙂
Is there a subsitute for nutrional yeast, mabye like corn meal, oat flour, or something like that?
Hi Pranjal, the nutritional yeast is used for flavour here, not a thickener. So you may sub for any other seasonings you prefer.
Hi Rosa, love the idea of such a healthy cheese sauce. What could I use instead of the peppers….the only veg I am unable to eat unfortunately?? Thank you.
Hi Helen, I didn’t test this without the pepper, but I think a mix of sun dried tomatoes and onion would taste great. Of course this will change the overall flavour though.
Made this yesterday as soon as I got your email. Another brilliant recipe!! Thank you Rosa!
Oh yay! So glad you enjoyed. Thanks for sharing Carina. 🙂
Thanks for the recipe!! This really did take 5 minutes and damn it’s soooooooo good!!!!
Glad you enjoyed Ashley!
Such a delicious sauce! My entire family loved it!
This recipe sounds more nutritious and leaner than cashew cheese dip. Can’t wait to try this!
Thanks Nora. Hope you enjoy!