The Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe

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Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

A thick, creamy, tangy, gooey vegan nacho sauce made with supermarket staples. Perfect for dipping or topping nachos, baked potatoes, veggie burgers, or macaroni and cheese.

Note: For the best, smoothest results, use a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix or Blendtec) and press mixture through a chinois.

Recipe Facts

4.5

(17)

Active: 25 mins
Total: 25 mins
Serves: 8 servings
Makes: 2 cups

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Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening or palm oil

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder

  • 1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce

  • 4 ounces russet potato (about 1/2 medium), peeled and thinly sliced

  • 4 ounces roasted cashews (about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Frank's)

  • 2 teaspoons pickling liquid from a can of pickled jalapeño peppers (plus peppers, to taste)

  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. Melt shortening in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeños and cook, stirring, until completely softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and chipotle (with sauce). Cook, stirring, until fragrant and mixture starts to sizzle, about 1 minute.

  2. Add potatoes and cashews and cook, stirring, until cashews are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add water and almond milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are fully tender, about 10 minutes.

  3. Transfer mixture to the jar of a high-powered blender (see note). Add hot sauce, jalapeño pickling liquid, and a pinch of salt. Start on low speed and slowly increase speed to high. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, adding water a few drops at a time as necessary to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt.

  4. Press mixture through a chinois (see note), using the bottom of a ladle to get it through. Cheese sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week. To reheat, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, or reheat in a small pan on the stovetop, stirring constantly, and adding extra water to loosen sauce as necessary.

Special equipment

High-powered blender and chinois (see note)

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
196 Calories
17g Fat
10g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 196
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 239mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 6mg 28%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 212mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)