A friend recently asked me for advice about going vegan. My top tip? Find yourself a good “cheese” sauce recipe. My favourite recipe is one that I adapted from my mum’s adapted version of a recipe in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak. The original recipe calls for cashew butter, but it’s not cheap, so instead we use cashews, a bit of water and a blender. Not dirt cheap, but definitely not as expensive!
It’s really, really easy to make. All you need to do is chuck the following ingredients into a blender and whiz on high for 30-45 seconds:
1 cup unsalted cashews
1/2 cup water
3 tbs Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3 tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tbs soy sauce or tamari
1tsp onion powder or onion salt
An that’s it! Pour your cheez into a ziplock bag and snip off the corner for easy squeezing, or pop into a container, store it in the fridge then spoon it onto any and everything you fancy! You can freeze it too, I pour it into ice cube trays, so I only defrost what I’m going to use.
Now if you are like me and realise that cashews are rather costly, there is a pretty easy way to make this sauce go a little bit further. Just whiz in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water (instead of 1/2 a cup) and then, to thicken it up again, pop it on the stove at a medium to low heat and whisk in some corn flour that’s been dissolved in a bit of cold water.
This cheez can be used for just about anything. I’ve had it on lasagne, pizza, pasta, any kind of Mexican dish that calls for cheese, toast, crackers, in my vegan tuna goop, I’ve even used it as a dip. As a dip, it’s actually quite a good consistency if you add about 1/3 cup of water instead of 1/2 a cup, and goes well with pesto, guacamole or salsas.