VEGAN CHEESE SAUCE RECIPE (nut-free, low fat)

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Most vegan cheese sauces out there are nut-based, which can be absolutely delicious… but HEAVY on the calories. So if like me, you’re trying to lose a few pounds then this vegan cheese sauce recipe has got you covered. 

This recipe is plant-based and uses nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor. Nutritional yeast has loads of dietary benefits of its own, so it’s a great addition to a vegan diet.

This vegan cheese sauce is the perfect consistency for making Mac and Cheese, Nachos, or a lovely Pasta Bake. I’ve also used it as a sauce for dunking my veggie sticks in and it was delicious!

How can a cheese sauce be low in fat?

Traditional cheese is well known for being a fatty food. Likewise, many of the vegan cheese sauce recipes out there use a lot of cashew nuts. Nuts contain healthy fats which make them high in calories, so it’s a good idea to eat them in moderation for most people.

This vegan cheese sauce comes in at only 122 calories per serving (and that’s a BIG serving). That’s the equivalent of only 18 cashew nuts or just 1 slice (1 oz / 28g) of cheddar cheese!

vegan cheese sauce in a glass jar in front of a nacho plate

The trade-off is that this vegan cheese sauce won’t be stringy, so if you’re looking for that then this recipe isn’t for you. But, if you’re looking for a vegan cheese sauce recipe that works for things like a Pasta Bake, Mac and Cheese, or Nachos, you’ve come to the right place!

If you’re looking for a vegan cheese sauce recipe that is stringy, I highly recommend this vegan mozzarella recipe from the Happy Pair on YouTube. Some of my favourite vegan chefs!

So what’s in this vegan cheese sauce recipe?

Veggies! This is a plant-based recipe made mostly from carrots and cauliflower. I don’t really know why this works – it definitely sounds like it shouldn’t – but it does!

flatlay of the vegan cheese sauce ingredients on a marble surface
  • Carrots – The story you tell your kids about carrots being able to help you see in the dark may be a myth. However, carrots do have a lot of antioxidants, lutein, and beta carotene which are all thought to be good for healthy eyes.
  • Cauliflower – Poor underrated cauliflower. It always seems to get a bad rep as being bland and boring. But, the neutral taste of cauliflower makes it great for acting as a base to recipes or a carrier for strong flavours (bang bang cauliflower anyone!?). 
  • Butter Beans aka Lima BeansA rich, creamy variety of bean with a smooth flavour that works great for this recipe. Like all beans, they’re packed with protein and fibre! This makes them a great addition to a vegan diet (or any diet for that matter!).
  • Nutritional Yeast – Massively high in B vitamins (including B12 – great for a vegan diet) and dietary fibre. Nutritional yeast also has a naturally cheesy flavour which makes it pretty much perfect for this vegan cheese sauce recipe.
  • Liquid Smoke – This is an optional addition to the recipe. I just LOVE the stuff! It gives food this traditional smokey flavour which is amazing. But, don’t go overboard as it can make things a little bitter if you add too much. If you don’t live close to any big supermarkets it can be hard to find. Luckily it’s easy to get hold of online. I get mine from Amazon in a 3 pack – that’s how much I love it!
  • Spices – Smoked paprika, cumin and turmeric. All easy to come by and commonly used in my recipes. That’s why all three make the list of the top 10 most useful herbs and spices in my vegan kitchen cupboards essentials guide which you can download COMPLETELY FREE
Plant Based Kitchen Cupboard Essentials Pages laid out to provide a preview of the PDF
  • Agave or Maple Syrup – I’m not a fan of overly sweet flavours in my savoury food, but this recipe needs a touch of sugar to balance it out. This is why there’s only a tiny bit in there. However, this is such a personal thing so taste and adjust after blending to suit your own taste buds.
  • Water – PRO TIP – use the water from steaming the veggies to re-add some of the nutrients that would have been lost in the cooking process.

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Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe – Plant Based!

A nut-free, oil-free vegan cheese sauce recipe that goes great with nachos!
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins


  • 1 tin Butter beans (also known as lima beans)
  • 6 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • ½ head Cauliflower
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 tsp Liquid smoke (optional, but you wont get such a smokey flavour without it)
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • cups Water (*use the water from steaming the veg)
  • tsp Agave or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp Sea salt


  • Roughly chop the carrots and cauliflower and steam or boil them until soft (about 12 minutes if stesming).
    carrot and cauliflower on the hob showing a roughly half and half split
  • Once the veggies are cooked, add all of the ingredients to the blender and blitz for around two minutes until the sauce looks smooth.
    Do a quick taste test and add a little more agave if you think it needs sweetening a little.
    all of the vegan cheese sauce ingredients in a blender ready to be blended together
  • Serve with tacos or mix in to some pasta for a healthy cheesy meal.


  • Using the water from cooking the veg will mean you’re replacing some of the lost nutrients from cooking back into the food.
Calories: 122kcal
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Vegan, Gluten free, Oil-free
Keyword: Sauce, Vegetable, Healthy, Oil-Free, WFPB, Kid Friendly

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