If you grew up with a love of cheese there’s no reason to abandon that after taking on a vegan diet, especially when you can have Velvet Vegan Cheese Sauce nearby. It’s easy to make and has not one, but two secret nutritional powerhouse ingredients.
If you were to look at our weekly menu of meals, you might be surprised to learn that we’re vegan. Maybe that’s because the names sound kind of familiar. Macaroni and Cheese. Pizza. Lasagna. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Loaded Baked Potatoes. Broccoli Casseroles. These are all things considered to be kind of cheesy. Not in the roll-your-eyes cheesy kind of way either.
Cheese and Vegans. They’re kind of oxymoronic. Arch enemies. Nemeses.
As the infamous Pink Panther says, “Not any more.” (spoken with a French accent).
I made this Velvet Vegan Cheese Sauce the other day and my daughter immediately declared it her favorite. Of course, I think she says that about everything I make. I swear, she’s up to something! I’m expecting a request for something really big some time soon.
I call it velvet because it reminds me of that highly processed American cheese that is sold in rectangular blocks at the store. Except this one is vegan. And it has two very surprising, very healthy ingredients in it.
Don’t you want to know?
Dollop spoonfuls of this sauce over freshly steamed veggies like broccoli or green beans. Or pour it over freshly cooked macaroni for your own vegan Mac and Cheese fest! Use it in place of Velveeta in your favorite nacho cheese dips. You can even spread this cheese sauce on bread and make your own grilled cheese sandwich. There’s no end to the possibilities!
It’s surprising the things you can eat while living on a vegan diet. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, just veganize them!
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour (you can use regular flour, but why not give gluten-free a try?)
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons Bragg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas
- 1 cup water (separate from the cup above)
- 1 package Vegan Cheddar Cheese (either Follow Your Heart or Daiya)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons paprika
- In a saucepan, melt margarine over low heat. Add flour with a whisk and beat over a medium heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly.
- Whip in 1 cup of hot water, Bragg, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric, stir well.
- In a food processor combine the pumpkin, chickpeas, and 1 cup of water (separate from the 1 cup of hot water). Pulse the food processor for several seconds, up to a minute or as needed so that the mixture is very smooth. You don't want any lumps from the chickpeas.
- Add the pumpkin/chickpea mixture to the cheese sauce mixture and stir until everything is well acquainted.
- Next shred the vegan cheddar cheese and add this to the cheese sauce mixture and slowly raise the heat on the burner to medium high heat. Stir this mixture until the grated cheese melts. Don't worry, it will be worth the wait.
- Once the cheese sauce is done, allow it to cool and top with paprika.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.
Now you know what my secret ingredients are. The pumpkin adds some delicious beta carotene and the chickpeas provide a powerhouse of protein! So not only is this recipe delicious, it’s also packed with fiber, protein, and healthy nutrients.
*Sigh* Life is just too good.