A good, creamy cheese sauce makes pretty much everything better. And this Butternut Squash Vegan Cheese Sauce is pure magic! Drizzle it over veggies, baked potato or pasta. Use it to make a batch of healthy nachos or just dunk your favorite tortilla chips in it! However you use it, keep a batch on hand for adding a little vegan, cheese-y goodness to every meal.
I have been making this sauce for years. And years. And years.
It is actually the base of my silly, delicious Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese that was one of my first veggie-loaded recipes. However, many people shared with me that it is their favorite vegan cheese sauce recipe and use it for so many other dishes that it totally needed a post all its own, highlighting its cheesy wonderfulness.
How does that vegan cheese sauce taste cheesy without dairy?
Nutritional yeast! The nutritional yeast in this recipe gives the vegan cheese sauce that lovely, earthy taste that a traditional cheese sauce has. It is also high in B-12, which is something important to make sure to add to a vegan diet.
On top of being good for you, when you combine nutritional yeast with the natural sweetness of butternut squash, a little garlic and a few other real food ingredients, you have a next-to-the-real-deal vegan cheese sauce that will rock your socks and is so family friendly.
Ways to enjoy this Butternut Squash Vegan Cheese Sauce
Cheese sauce is a classic comfort food staple for adding a little pizzazz to all kinds of foods. So use this vegan version in any way you love to use traditional cheese sauce. Some of my favorite ways are:
- add to cooked pasta for an easy vegan mac and cheese
- drizzle over roasted broccoli
- drizzle over roasted cauliflower
- as a dipping sauce for roasted Brussels sprouts
- with my favorite tortilla chips
- as part of homemade nachos
- in tacos
Tips for making Butternut Squash Vegan Cheese Sauce
- For a little extra punch of flavor, sub vegetable broth for the water.
- Use a high-speed blender or food processor. If you love the smooth, creamy texture of regular cheese sauce, the high speed blender/food processor is a must. It really makes such a difference. If you don’t have a high-speed one, this sauce will still come out delicious but won’t be as smooth as it is pictured here.
- Make it your own. We all have a different palate with different preferences. So as much as I love this sauce as is, I encourage you to make it magical for you. After you blend it up, taste and adjust the flavors as needed…blending again.
Other butternut squash recipes you are going to love…
- Instant Pot Black Bean & Butternut Squash Soup
- Sunrise Butternut Squash Smoothie
- How to cook butternut squash (6 ways!)
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash + Apple Soup
Butternut Squash Vegan Cheese Sauce
- High-speed blender or food processor
- 1 cup butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup almond milk unsweetened and plain
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1 large clove garlic or to taste. Sub 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- In a medium saucepan, combine butternut squash, cashews and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook 10-15 minutes or until squash is for tender.
- After the butternut squash and cashews are done cooking, scoop into a high-speed blender or food processor, reserving remaining cooking liquid. Add remaining ingredients to blender, too. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add some of the butternut squash/cashew cooking liquid to make for a thinner cheese sauce.
- Store in an air-tight container in fridge for up to 5 days.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
This. Stuff. Is. Bomb.
I am not vegan and I most definitely AM a cheese lover, and I can’t get enough of this!! It may be the reason I’m stockpiling butternut squash like it’s cool.
Plus it’s so easy and quick to make. 👍🏼
Ha! I love that!
So excited about this–Aldi had frozen butternut squash cubes and I got them because I knew I’d find some delicious vegan recipe on here to use them! Can’t wait to try it!
Yes! Using frozen butternut squash makes this recipe extra easy!
OMG. I just made a batch and I’m licking it out of my blender. I can’t wait to have it tonight for dinner over everything! And I do mean everything!
I have made this twice nkw. SO GOOD!!
What can I replace nutritional Yeast with?
Hmmm. Tricky question. I have never tried it with anything else and nutritional yeast is kind of a unique ingredient. You could do regular cheese instead of the cashews and the nutritional yeast if vegan/dairy-free isn’t needed or vegan cheese (though they all melt and behave a bit differently).
Is there something I could sub the cashews for? My so has eoe and has to be top 8 allergen free.
I haven’t tested it with anything different. I know a reader once made it with chickpeas and enjoyed it, but I haven’t tried that sub for myself.
What do you recommend for a cashew substitute? My daughter is highly allergic but this looks good!
While I haven’t tried it with this recipe, I know some people with allergies find using cooked chickpeas instead of cashews in vegan “cheese” to be successful.
Soooperb sauce. I subbed in almonds instead of cashews and oat milk for almond milk.. Go raibh mile maith agat thank you in Irish gaeilge.
I am so glad, you liked it, Claire!
I love oat milk. I will try that and use chickpeas instead of cashews or almonds. I am highly allergic to both
Hi there! Has anyone tried freezing for quick reheating for a healthy lunch? Just wondering if anyone has tried
I’m wondering the same, I will be attempting it and let you know.
Could this be made with no oil by perhaps increasing the cashews?
I haven’t tried it without oil but I bet it would be fine without it. Maybe add a little water or broth if the mixture is too thick
I would like to use this to top a lasagne. Does it brown well or is there too much liquid in it? Thank you!
It is tasty in baked recipes but doesn’t brown well.
I have tried a few vegan cheese recipes and I keep coming back to yours. I use oat milk when I make it since I think it’s a bit creamier. Thank you SO much!
I’m so happy to hear that, Jennifer! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and review!
Is apple cider vinegar an ok substitute for lemon juice?
Yes. I like to use that as an acid sub in this and other recipes!
I was skeptical… It is DELICIOUS! Thank you!!
I am so glad to hear that, Margie!
Hi! Am I reading this right? It is over 1200 calories per serving? Seems kind of high, considering the ingredients. Thanks!
That is for the whole batch. I’ve updated the recipe with a serving size of 1/4 of a cup since that is probably how much someone would us over pasta or over veggies! Thanks for pointing that out.
Thanks for the update! This looks delish and I can’t wait to try it. I’m a big, big fan of both butternut squash and nutritional yeast. As a vegan, cheese sauce that leans toward healthy is hard to find pre-made….they tend to rely heavily on fat (at least what I can find). This is going to rock!!
Found this recipe to be tasty enough that I am ready to make it a second time. I added a little more garlic for my taste buds.
So glad you enjoyed it, Diane!
I only used half a cup of cashew because they’re expensive and this still turned out great! Thank you!
I’m so glad to hear that, Kathie! I agree, they are expensive and so that is a great tip that I’m sure others will appreciate knowing. Thanks for taking the time to share.
This is delish. I’m not usually a fan of Nutritional Yeast but this recipe was easy and delicious. I ended up putting it over steamed broccoli. 10/10 would make again.
I hear you, Kelsey! It is not my favorite either but when done right, it can be so good! So glad you enjoyed it!