Dairy Free Cheese Sauce (no cashews!)
This dairy-free cheese sauce is simply the best! It’s made with lots of vegetables, and zero cashews for a nut-free cheese sauce that’s perfect for dipping, drizzling, and pasta sauce.
Cheese is one of those things that seems irreplaceable when you change your diet! Being dairy-free is hard, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. This cheese sauce is totally dairy free, but it feels like the real deal. It’s creamy, has a lightly cheesy flavor, and it’s perfect to use just like you would any cheese sauce.
Why you’ll love this cheese sauce
- It’s nut-free and dairy-free. Most dairy-free cheeses will still be cashew based which is limiting for those with a lot of food allergies. This one doesn’t use cashews or almonds. It uses coconut, which isn’t technically a nut.
- It’s veggie-packed. This sauce has hidden veggies, making it the perfect option for any picky eaters.
- You can use it just like a regular cheese sauce…
How to use this cheese sauce
- Drizzle over veggies. This sauce is perfect for adding to steamed broccoli or cauliflower! I love to eat a big plate of broccoli with this sauce.
- Dip it in chips. If you like a basic cheese sauce for chips, this is a great option.
- Use it as a mac and cheese sauce. The only thing I would do is add some pasta water to help turn this into a true pasta sauce.
The Ingredients for the Dairy Free Cheese Sauce
- Chicken Broth. Sub veggie broth if needed.
- Coconut Milk. Use full-fat coconut milk from a can! I use the Native Forest simple coconut milk.
- White Sweet Potato. I prefer white sweet potato like Hannah or Japanese sweet potato as it’s less sweet, but you can use orange sweet potato in a pinch… it’ll just be sweeter.
- Nutritional Yeast. This really helps give the sauce the “cheesy” flavor.
- Salt, Pepper, Avocado Oil, and Garlic.
- Carrots and White Onion. I love the extra flavor and nutrients these add!
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Arrowroot Starch.
How to make Dairy Free Cheese Sauce
- Step One: Combine the liquids and set aside.
- Step Two: Saute the veggies. Using a large pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and sweet potato and saute for 7-8 minutes or until lightly tender.
- Step Three: Cook the liquid and veggies together.
- Step Four: Blend. Allow to cool slightly before blending in a blender or with an immersion blender. See notes for adjusting taste or thickness.
- Step Five. Serve warm!
Can you make this recipe ahead of time? How do you reheat it?
You can make it in bulk and keep it in the fridge for 2-4 days. I like to reheat it on the stove top for a few minutes on low. I haven’t tried to freeze it yet, but it should work just fine.
What’s the difference between this and queso?
I have a queso recipe that’s similar to this recipe, but this one is a bit thinner in consistency which lends it better to mac and cheese or drizzling on veggies. The queso recipe, and this are still both great for a chip dip!
How do you make the sauce thicker or thinner?
This sauce is a thicker consistency, but if you want it thinner, simply add a bit of chicken broth!
If you want it even thicker after the sauce is blended combine 1 tsp arrowroot starch with 1 tsp water and mix. Add the sauce back to the pot along with the arrowroot mixture and stir to heat for 1-2 minutes. Add more arrowroot as desired.
Can you leave out the nutritional yeast?
The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy taste to this sauce. If you don’t like it, you can leave it out, but the sauce won’t taste quite as cheesy.
You’ll also love…Print
Dairy Free Cheese Sauce (no cashews!)
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (sub veggie broth)
- 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 tsp arrowroot starch
- 2–3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup white sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- Salt and pepper (omit pepper for AIP)
- Combine the chicken broth, coconut milk, vinegar, arrowroot, and nutritional yeast in a bowl and set aside.
- Using a large pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and sweet potato and saute for 7-8 minutes or until lightly tender.
- Pour the liquid over the vegetables and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Allow to cool slightly before blending in a blender or with an immersion blender. See notes for adjusting taste or thickeness.
- Serve warm over vegetables, or as you would a cheese sauce.
- The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy taste to this sauce. Start with 2 tbsp and adjust the nutritional yeast to taste.
- If a thicker sauce is desired after the sauce is blended combine 1 tsp arrowroot starch with 1 tsp water and mix. Add the sauce back to the pot along with the arrowroot mixture and stir to heat for 1-2 minutes. Add more arrowroot as desired.
- All nutritional information are estimations and will vary. Estimations do not include optional ingredients.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 200
- Fat: 16.8g
- Carbohydrates: 11.8g
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Protein: 2.7g
OmG this is a real hit, cant wait to make it. How do we store it, and how long does it stay?
You can make it in bulk and keep it in the fridge for 2-4 days. I like to reheat it on the stove top for a few minutes on low. I haven’t tried to freeze it yet, but it should work just fine!
Hmm. I wonder if this might work with tigernut milk or flaxseed milk…
Tigernut should work!
This is amazing! I made it for queso chili and doubled both recipes, not realizing I’d have so much extra queso. When it had cooled a little I was eating it with a spoon! So good! A few times I ate the extra like soup….with generous salt and pepper and melted plain goat cheese in it. Highly recommend!! This will be my go to queso from now on! My 16 month old likes it too!
So glad you enjoyed!
Is there any possibility to sub the potato?
I’m allergic to sweet potatoes.
Can I use pumpkin instead?
You can try, but it may wind up sweeter!
Just made this, super easy! Great texture, flavour & colour. Since it is a mild, slightly sweet flavour it kind of got lost on the beef tacos I made, works better as a dip in my opinion. Next time I’ll make it for queso and add a little jalapeno too. Tomorrow I’m going to try it with steamed broccoli 🙂 Thank you!
Thanks so much!!
I’m so glad to find a cashew-free cheese sauce recipe! The texture is spot on. I wish the recipe specified an amount of salt and pepper. Real cheese is pretty salty – I started with a half teaspoon of salt, but ended up adding more – probably 3/4 – 1 tsp in all. About as close to cheese sauce as you can get for dairy-free!
I also had to stir very frequently during simmering to prevent sticking.
I didn’t have time to make the cheese sauce, so thankfully I had some premade whole 30 dairy free cheesy sauce. This was so delicious and quick, thanks for sharing so many scrumptious recipes! I will be making this cheesy sauce though! I had bought all of the ingredients already.
I forgot to go back to the baked beef tortilla recipe, so that is what I was referring to when I said I made this!!
I’m new to gluten free so there’s definitely a learning curve, but very excited I found your page! I’m having a hard time finding white sweet potatoes. Any suggestions where to find them?
I find them at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, H-Mart, or other Asian grocery stores