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Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce


A plant-based cheesy dip that your friends will not believe is dairy-free. It is mostly made from cashews for creaminess and carrots for color. The cheesy flavor comes from the nutritional yeast and is enhanced by the spices. I find it to be luxurious, slightly spicy and totally addictive. It is perfect for game day or any time you have a cheese dip craving. Note: The nut-free version can be found here.


  • 1 cup carrots, diced*
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews or slivered almonds**
  • 1/2 cup water (or more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you want more heat)
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder (or more if you want more heat)


  1. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and add carrots. Cook until fork tender (about 12 minutes). Drain and add to high speed blender.
  2. Add all other ingredients to a high speed blender and puree until smooth and creamy. You may need to thin with water 1 tablespoon at a time to reach your desired consistency.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. You may want to add a squeeze of fresh lemon to help the flavors pop and for some acidity.
  4. Pour into a small serving bowl for dipping with chips. Garnish with jalapeno, sliced green onions, paprika and/or fresh cilantro.


* You can substitute peeled cooked sweet potatoes in place of carrots.

** Soak in water overnight or for a fast soak you can put them in a glass jar with boiling water and shut the lid. Let soak for at least 30 minutes. The longer they soak the creamier they are and the easier they are to digest Click here for a nut-free version of this recipe. Learn more about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post.

You may want to microwave just before serving. Serve the cheese sauce on a plate warmer or with a pot-holder to lock in the warmth. The cheese sauce can also be used for making nachos.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 76
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 205.7 mg
  • Fat: 5.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Vegan nacho cheese