I’ve got your new food addiction! Cheese-less cheese. Yes, it tastes like cheese! But it’s vegan nacho cheese and it’s also totally NUT FREE!
Don’t worry, this vegan nacho cheese sauce is actually harmless because it’s made with potatoes and carrots. Woo hoo!
I’ve tried many cheese sauce recipes as well as products I’ve found at some specialty stores. None of it is THAT good. Sometimes it just taste like nuts, or nothing, or something else you can’t quite figure out on your tastebuds. Well, you’ll get none of that with this version!
As long as you have a high-powered blender on hand, you can combine these better-for-you ingredients and get dipping in no time.
I use a Vitamix but a NutriBullet will work wonders too. If you have a Ninja style blender, only the smoothie attachment that looks like a bullet will get this nacho cheese to a silky smooth consistency. I’ve found the normal large blender attachment doesn’t as it is more like a food processor and not a high-powered blender. You’ve been warned. You want this ‘ish to be SMOOTH and SILKY!
Once it’s ready, you can go traditional and dunk in some tortilla chips like I did in the photos. But you should also try this stuff on jazzy plates like lentil chili cheese nachos, nachos supreme or mean green vegan nachos. Whatever combination of toppings you pair it with, you’ll be yelling “it’s nacho cheese!” anytime someone tries to swipe a bite. Ha ha ha… get it? Cut me some slack. I’m a food blogger, not a comedian. Anyway, scroll down for the full recipe.
This recipe can easily be modified if you don’t have some of the ingredients. Keep reading!
Arrowroot flour was part of the original recipe to help thicken, hold and help a little with reheating the cheese. BUT if you don’t have it right now or don’t want to buy it you can leave it out and it doesn’t affect the end result! Some people have been swapping it for cornstarch which is fine too. But it also works without either of those ingredients.
Pickled jalapeños are the KEY ingredient but you could always use fresh (to your spice liking) and add white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to adjust acidity levels. If you don’t want it spicy because you’re feeding it to kids, I recommend swapping the jalapeño brine for pickle brine and then just omitting the pickled jalapeños all together.
The tomato paste was an addition AFTER the nacho cheese video on YouTube! So it doesn’t NEED a tomato paste but I do like it for a hint of flavor and to help final color. If you don’t have tomato paste, a mild or medium red salsa is a nice swap. Ketchup could be used, but sparingly as it’s sweet. Sriracha could be used too, only if you aren’t using jalapeños and subbing pickle brine as the acid.
One of my fave people, Erin Ireland, tested the recipe with NO OIL and said she liked it and it didn’t make much difference! BUT personally I still like it with the oil for mouth feel, needed fat and viscosity!
If you didn’t have potato for some reason, you could use cauliflower instead along with the carrot. You could also use frozen potatoes like tots, hashbrowns etc. But they too will need to be thawed either in boiling water with the carrots or if they’re already cooked throw them in the blender! If you’re having trouble finding potatoes or carrots right now because of food shortages, you could order a produce box with Farmbox Direct. I ordered a small organic box and it contained both items!
This vegan nacho cheese sauce is addicting and life changing!
- 1 C white potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 C carrots, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 C vegetable oil
- 1/4 C nondairy milk
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 6 pickled jalapeño slices
- 3 tbsp jalapeño pickle brine
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp arrowroot flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Boil the potatoes and carrots in pot of water for approximately 10 minutes. Drain them from the boiling water and add to a high-powered blender immediately. If you cook the potatoes for too long, they will become starchy and your sauce will not be smooth. This recipe will not work in a conventional blender. The potatoes need to be whipped at a high enough speed that they break down and emulsify, creating a smooth and creamy cheese-like sauce, with undetectable potato! You’ll need a Vitamix or Blendtec. I’ve made it in a Magic Bullet in a half batch and it also worked well.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and combine until smooth. Your sauce may be hot enough to serve immediately, if you’re in a rush, or heat it up in a small pot to thicken it slightly before pouring over whatever food you want to make cheesier! How about chips, chili, broccoli, or cauliflower for starters.