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Cheese-Free Cheese Sauce
(with nuts)

This cheese sauce is gluten-free & dairy-free, but does contain ground nuts (cashews). For a version without nuts click here.


I miss cheese. I really do. There isn’t a day that goes by – in the 7 years since I gave up dairy – that I don’t miss cheese.

I tried to like soy cheese, but didn’t. I tried several other cheese substitutes on the market. Some are okay, and some are downright good.

But even the cheese-substitute products that are good, have a built-in problem for me. They all contain fairly high levels of potato starch.And I'm sensitive to potatoes.

So eating these cheese-substitute products poses a challenge for me.

This recipe for cheese sauce has no cheese or other dairy. And it is gluten-free. But it does contain nuts. (For a cheese sauce without nuts, click here.)


  • 1 ½ cups raw cashew pieces (Don’t use the roasted, salted variety.)

  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp paprika

  • ¾ cup water

  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice



In a blender or food processor, blend the cashews on high speed to make a fine powder, adding a bit of the water if you need to. Add the nutritional yeast, the salt, garlic powder and paprika and blend to combine them all together. Add the water and lemon juice and blend until smooth. If you find it too thick, add a little extra water.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of cheese sauce. You can refrigerate the sauce in a lidded container – a mason jar works great.


Use it on bread or crackers as a spread, raw vegetables as a dip or on cooked veggies as a sauce.

You can also reheat the sauce to warm it but be careful. Do not microwave as the sauce will thicken and be gummy in texture. Instead, heat a portion in a metal bowl over a pot with steaming water.

Alternatively, use hot water when you make the sauce to serve warm as soon as you make it.

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