Vegan Cheese Sauce

Impossibly creamy and oh-so-cheesy without the dairy, this vegan cheese sauce is the perfect accompaniment to steamed or roasted vegetables. Sound too good to be true? Tasting is believing so give this dairy-free sauce a whirl and watch those veggies disappear!

This post was created in partnership with Ocean Mist Farms.

Overhead view of steamed cauliflower and broccoli in a bowl topped with vegan cheese sauce and cracked pepper.

Make it Quick and Easy

Imagine perfectly tender broccoli and cauliflower florets enrobed in the creamiest dairy-free vegan cheese sauce of your dreams – and your family loving every bite!

As working parents we fully understand how challenging it can be to get a meal on the table most nights of the week. We also know that getting our kids to eat (and enjoy!) vegetables can be equally challenging so today we’ve partnered with our friends at Ocean Mist Farms to share an undeniably delicious side dish that employs a shortcut to help you meet these challenges head on.

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Two bags of broccoli and cauliflower steam bags standing upright on a counter.

The shortcut? Ocean Mist Farms’ award-winning microwavable steam package that makes cooking fresh vegetables easy and convenient! The washing and chopping are done for you, all you have to do is open the package, add your seasonings of choice, reseal the bag, and microwave for 3 minutes. You get perfectly cooked vegetables every time, in nearly record time. Each Season & Steam package of fresh vegetables is full of fresh-picked vegetables that are cleaned and ready to use, and the Ocean Mist brand is the only steam bag on the market that gives you the option to pre-season your vegetables, reseal and steam by microwave all within the same bag. 

Vegan cheese sauce poured over a bowl filled with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Make it Cheesy and Watch it Disappear

Not many kids will willingly tear into a bowl of steamed broccoli and cauliflower but when you add our vegan cheese sauce, it’s an entirely different story. Rich, creamy, and mild it pairs beautifully with any vegetable (plus many more foods but more on that to come). 

Most vegan cheese sauce recipes call for heaps of nuts making them high in fat. Ours, however, features a base of potatoes and carrots with just enough cashews to make it rich and creamy. We know you’re going to love it!

All ingredients for dairy-free cheese sauce in small bowls arranged together.

Ingredients for Steamed Vegetables with Vegan Cheese Sauce 

  • Ocean Mist Farms Floret Medley – A mix of precut and pre-washed broccoli and cauliflower florets in a convenient microwave steam bag.
  • Seasonings of Choice – You are only limited by your imagination and spice rack here. We’re keeping it simple with fresh lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. 
  • Yukon gold potato – The creamy, buttery texture of Yukon gold potatoes make them ideal for this vegan cheese sauce. However, you can successfully substitute peeled Russet or red potatoes.
  • Carrot – In addition to adding a bit of vitamin A via beta-carotene, carrot adds a subtle sweetness and gorgeous orange color to this dairy-free cheese sauce. 
  • Raw cashews – Roasted cashews can be used in a pinch if that’s what you have on hand. Macadamia nuts are a good substitute for cashews. 
  • Unsweetened, plain almond milk – If you’re avoiding almonds, try unsweetened cashew, hemp, or oat milk instead. 
  • Nutritional yeast – This ingredient can be used to add additional protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to meals. It’s also a great way to add that savory-umami-nutty flavor you find in cheese without, well, adding cheese. 
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Fine salt & black pepper

How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce

  1. Place the cashews in a small heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over the cashews to cover them completely. Place a plate or lid over the boil and set aside to soak for 30 minutes. 
  2. While the cashews are soaking, place the potatoes and carrots in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables by about ½ inch. 
  3. Bring the vegetables just to a boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 17-20 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Drain any remaining water from the pan and add the vegetables to the container of a blender. 
  4. Drain the cashews after 30 minutes of soaking and place the drained cashews in the blender along with the vegetables. 
  5. Add the almond milk, yeast, lemon juice, oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, mustard, and black pepper to the blender and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. 
  6. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more almond milk and continue to blend until smooth. 
  7. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  8. To prepare the broccoli and cauliflower florets, open the Season and Steam bag. Add seasonings of choice (we like a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper). Reseal the bag and microwave for 3 minutes on high, adding additional time as needed until florets are tender to your liking. 
  9. Transfer florets to a serving bowl. Spoon dairy-free cheese sauce over steamed florets and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve immediately. 

Ways to Serve Dairy-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce

Naturally, this vegan cheese sauce is utterly divine over steamed vegetables but don’t limit yourself to just one use. Vegan Cheese Sauce can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Tossed with cooked pasta to create a DIY dairy-free and 100% plant-based mac and cheese
  • As a dip for your favorite vegetables
  • To create ‘loaded’ baked potatoes or cheese fries
  • To make nachos or drizzle over taco bowls. For a quick and easy queso-style dip, stir in some of our Homemade Taco Seasoning, a pinch of ground chipotle pepper powder, and/or a few tablespoons of canned diced green chiles. 

Vegan cheese sauce in a small bowl.

Can I Freeze Vegan Cheese Sauce? 

Yes, you can! Our Vegan Cheese Sauce freezes well and reheats without separating thanks to the starchy Yukon gold potato used as the base. 

To freeze:

Place leftover vegan cheese sauce in a freezer-safe container with a lid. Refrigerate until completely cooled then transfer to the freezer. May be stored for up to 3 months. 

To thaw:

Remove frozen cheese sauce from the freezer and allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. For faster thawing, place the sealed container in a bowl in the sink. Fill the bowl with room temperature water to speed up the thawing process, changing the water every 30 minutes or so.

To reheat in the microwave:

Place the desired amount of vegan cheese sauce in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds, stirring halfway through cooking time. Continue to heat in 30 second increments until hot. Stir before serving. 

To reheat on the stovetop:

Place the desired amount of cheese sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat for 3-5 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.

Creamy vegan cheese sauce coated on steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets in a bowl with a black spoon.

Can Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce Be Made Without Nuts?

Yes! While the cashews do make this vegan cheese sauce thicker and silkier, we understand if you need to swap them out to accommodate an allergy or intolerance. If that’s the case, you can replace the ¼ cup cashews with an equal amount of silken tofu or additional potato or cubed with excellent, nut-free results. 

What If I Don’t Have A Microwave?

You do not need a microwave to make the vegan cheese sauce since that’s done on the stovetop and with a blender. However, if you don’t have a microwave to prepare the broccoli and cauliflower florets, you can still enjoy the convenience of Ocean Mist Farms Season and Steam products. Just add the florets to a steamer basket set inside a large pot with lid along with ¾ cup water and bring just to a boil uncovered. Lower the heat slightly, place the lid on the pot, and steam for 3-5 minutes or until the florets are tender to your liking. 

Recipe

Vegan Cheese Sauce

A silky smooth cheese sauce with hidden veggies that’s perfect for topping steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets, tossing with pasta, or drizzling over a baked potato.

Prep: 15 mins.Cook: 30 mins.Total: 45 mins.

Servings: Makes ¾ cup (Serves 4) 1x

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag Ocean Mist Farms Floret Medley
  • Optional: Fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, and/or spices of choice 
  • 1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces (4 ounces)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened, plain almond milk 
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews in a small heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over the cashews to cover them completely. Place a plate or lid over the boil and set aside to soak for 30 minutes. 
  2. While the cashews are soaking, place the potatoes and carrots in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables by about ½ inch. 
  3. Bring the vegetables just to a boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 17-20 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Drain any remaining water from the pan and add the vegetables to the container of a blender. 
  4. Drain the cashews after 30 minutes of soaking and place the drained cashews in the blender along with the vegetables. 
  5. Add the almond milk, yeast, lemon juice, oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, mustard, and black pepper to the blender and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. 
  6. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more almond milk and continue to blend until smooth. 
  7. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  8. To prepare the broccoli and cauliflower florets, open the Season and Steam bag. Add seasonings of choice (we like a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper). Reseal the bag and microwave for 3 minutes on high, adding additional time as needed until florets are tender to your liking. 
  9. Transfer florets to a serving bowl. Spoon dairy-free cheese sauce over steamed florets and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.

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Dietary

© The Real Food Dietitians

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This post was made possible by our friends at Ocean Mist Farms. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.


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