Homemade Vegan Cheese Sauce Powder


Day 315.

While we’re not vegans, I like the idea of creating our own homemade cheesy powder for macaroni and cheese. This recipe, adapted from Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman’s The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions will let us make kid-friendly mac and cheese from natural food items in our pantry.While it’s a lot of ingredients, once it’s all mixed up it’s easy to add dairy-free milk or water, heat and add to pasta. It’s just like opening up an orange powder packet to add to macaroni, without all the unpronounceables. UPDATE: we made Kid-Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese the next day and the kids loved it.

Homemade Vegan Cheese Sauce Powder
Adapted from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.
Ingredients for about 5 cups (10 batches of macaroni and cheese)

  • 3 cups raw cashews (like these)
  • 2 cups nutritional yeast (like this)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (optional; I left this out)
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard seed (I used hot)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Grind cashews in a dry blender or coffee grinder, in batches. Add ground cashews and remaining ingredients to a sealable container (at least 5 cups capacity). Seal and shake vigorously to mix.

Mix powder in a 1:2 ratio powder to water or dairy-free milk and heat over medium heat before adding to prepared pasta. For example: mix 1/2 cup powder and 1 cup water or soy milk, heat over medium heat until thickened and mix with 1 pound prepared pasta.

Store refrigerated for up to a month or freeze.

The Results
This was really simple to mix up and I’m looking forward to trying it on some kid lunches and adult snacks. I think it may also work well in dips and slow cooker recipes as a cheese sauce substitute. Here the top two recipes we have been making with this homemade vegan cheese sauce powder: Vegan Cheesy Popcorn and Kid-Friendly Vegan Mac and Cheese.

Homemade Vegan Cheese Sauce Powder

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  1. Anonymous says

    Could this be used as a seasoning for home-meade chex mix or something like that? Or does it only work in sauce form?

  2. Kristi says

    I think that could definitely work. I've used it on Cheesy Popcorn before. My only issue was getting it to stick. To accomplish that, I had to add a bit of olive oil to the popcorn. Let me know how it works out!

  3. Nikk says

    What other nuts can be used instead of cashews? i heard that cashews are acidic forming in the body? What alkaline nuts caan be used? :)

  4. Tania:) says

    Hello:) This seems like a great recipe! What is the purpose of using nuts? Can they be omitted?

  5. Karissa says

    Can you subsitute agar agar or vege-gel for the cornstarch? I’m looking for a non-starch substitute that is also a thickener. Thanks!