I am going to break ranks with a lot of vegans and admit something to omnivores/dairy fanatics: fake cheese does not taste like cheese. Nothing is going to quite duplicate the meltinesss, texture, or flavor of cheese. I can’t stand it when vegetarians insist something “tastes just like X” or that they serve it and “no one knows the difference!” Such talk is usually a tangled web of lies. So I’m not going to spout that bullshit here. I’m an honest guy.
The issue for me is not duplicating cheese precisely (maybe it was in the beginning, but my goals have changed). The goal is to duplicate typical cheese-containing dishes as a whole, in ways that are still delicious–even if it doesn’t taste exactly like the original product. Also, I want to do it from scratch using whole ingredients (and not that nasty science experiment Daiya cheese). My biggest beef with many vegans is the reliance on processed, pre-made, fake meat and cheese products sold at the grocery store. Reliance on those items confirms the stereotype that vegan diets are too expensive (they’re not, given the main staple of our diet–dried beans–is the cheapest thing at the grocery store) and missing essentials like protein, calcium, iron, and B vitamins (they don’t, as long as a variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and vegetables is consumed). Now, about the “cheese” sauce…
This cheese sauce by itself is really just a base. It can be combined with salsa or Rotel and heated for a vegan nacho dip, spread on bread for a vegan grilled cheese, or–my primary goal behind the experiment–used as an ingredient in my finally perfected vegan mac and cheese.
500 grams (about 2 cups) of raw, unsalted cashews, soaked overnight and drained.
120 mL (1/2 cup) water
60mL (1/4 cup) canola oil
60mL (1/4 cup) nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 crushed garlic cloves
Throw all the above ingredients into a food processor and blitz the hell out of it until creamy. I would not recommend using a blender unless you have one of the really high-powered ones like a Vitamix. The cashews will not blend as well in a regular blender and you will find yourself stopping to scrape down the sides constantly.
That’s all there is to it. It keeps in the fridge (covered, of course) for at least 4-5 days, but–to be honest–I almost always use it all immediately. So I have not tested that.
Give it a try!