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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vegan Cheese Sauce and Cream Substitutes

If you're vegan or lactose intolerant, it can be difficult to find dairy substitutes that taste good and are something you'd want to serve to friends and family without scaring them!  I have two favorite recipes that taste good and have fooled even non-vegans into thinking they were cheese or dairy!

Two ingredients you need for good cheese substitutes - nutritional yeast and raw cashews.  If you're allergic to nuts, sesame seeds work in place of the cashews for the cheez sauce.  I've also seen other recipes that use potatoes in place of nuts, where you boil and mash up the potatoes to add to the mix.  I've never made it myself, but it's an option to try if you have nut allergies.

This first recipe is for a savory cheezy-sauce.  I've used this to make a great mac and cheese, using brown rice pasta, so it was gluten-free as well!  I've also made eggplant and zucchini "parmesan" by layering eggplant or zucchini slices with kale or spinach, tomato sauce and drizzles of this cheez sauce.

Cheez Sauce

Soak 1 cup raw cashews in 2 cups of water for at least 8 hours
Drain cashews and add to blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix blender)

Add the following to the blender:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (not necessary, but give it a cheesy color)

Blend until smooth.  You may have to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender a few times.  This makes about 1 cup of cheez sauce.  Add to the recipe you're using and heat or refrigerate until you're ready to use.
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The second recipe is for a cashew creme.  This can be used in place of whipped cream on berries, strawberry shortcake or anything you'd typically use whipped cream.  I make it ahead of time and then refrigerate it for at least 1 hours before serving.

Vanilla Creme

Soak 1 cup raw cashews in 2 cups of water for at least 8 hours.
Drain cashews and add to blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix blender)

Add the following to the blender:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend until smooth.  You may have to stop and scrape the sides of the blender a few times.  This makes about 1 cup of vanilla creme.  Keep refrigerated and it lasts about a week.

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