This is a versatile and tasty sauce. It can go on a variety of grains and vegetables, and it also works as a dip. The sauce is based on what Vitamix calls their “Not-So Cheese Sauce.” The flavor is savory and satisfying.
The bright color comes from the yellow nutritional yeast* and red (not spicy) pepper. Vitamix’s recipe calls for canned pimientos, but I’ve also had good results with using roasted bell peppers from a jar. You could also probably use raw red bell peppers or paprika.
I found the Vitamix recipe to be a bit overly salty and thin, so I made a few adjustments. Depending on how you want to use it, you could add even less water. I also prefer cashews over almonds for this sauce, although any mild nut should work.
1 cup water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup roasted red peppers (100 g)
1 cup raw cashews
1 ½ tsp onion powder
⅓ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
Blend on high for a couple minutes until the sauce is warm and starts to steam.
A classic combination is to serve this savory cashew sauce with broccoli as shown above, but it also goes well with many other vegetables and grains. It’s a similar idea to what I described in my write-up of the Real Food Daily house dressing: you cook up some simple steamed vegetables and/or grains and then give them a boost of flavor with a savory sauce.
You can also use this sauce to make a vegan mac-and-cheese.
If you make this sauce and like it, you might want to make a double batch the next time, since it keeps well. Leftover sauce should keep in the fridge for at least 5 days, but we’ve always used it up sooner than that.
*Nutritional yeast is essential for this recipe. It provides the umami flavor that gives the savory sauce it’s backbone. I buy it in the bulk section of my grocery store, but you might also find it with the supplements or natural foods. Note that nutritional yeast is different from brewers yeast (which is more bitter), and baking yeast (which is still alive!). If you can’t find nutritional yeast locally, you can order from Amazon.↑