Welcome to our website makeover and to our vegan cheese sauce week!
In the years before cashew based sauces got popular, I only had one basic cheese sauce I used, which was a basic roux white sauce with lots of oil and nutritional yeast mixed in. These days, I try to keep lots of different sauce recipes up my sleeves, which means that I juggle between several cheese sauces depending on my mood and needs. Julie and I are sharing our favorites this week, so you’ll have an arsenal as well. A jar of cheese sauce in the fridge will give you the freedom to make all sorts of dishes lickety-split!
Today I’m sharing the cheese sauce I use when I want super quick mac n cheese, but something on the lighter, healthier side. I stumbled upon this recipe accidentally one day, when I had some leftover squash I wanted to use up. Yep, it’s a squash-based cheese sauce! I love this sauce so much, and newp, you really can’t tell there’s squash in this recipe. In truth, I enjoy this sauce so much, I keep steamed squash purée on hand at all times. I even grew winter squash this summer, with the idea to keep my freezer full of purée all winter long.
Depending on the type of squash you use for this recipe, this sauce might be a little sweeter than sauces you’ve had before. Since I don’t eat a lot of sugar, I’m pretty sensitive to sweet things, and I don’t find this sauce sweet. But it’s something to keep in mind when you’re picking out squash. Acorn squash makes a sauce a bit less sweet than some of the more orange fleshed squashes like butternut. I don’t think pumpkin would be right for this, but you can always try it and see what you think. Same with steamed sweet potato.
I usually whip this cheese sauce up when I want a quick meal, since I just pour it on top of hot pasta and gobble it down. For chip dipping or bowls, you can heat it up, and it will thicken a bit on the stove or in the microwave. This would also be great to pour over baked potatoes or roasted veggies.
To keep squash on hand for this recipe, I steam it whole in my instant pot. Then when cool, I split the squash, seed it, and scoop out the flesh. I mash it in a bowl, then scoop it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet in 1/2 cup increments and freeze. Once frozen, I transfer it to zip style bags and freeze. It’d work just as well, and probably even be tastier, if you used baked squash.
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xo Julie & Kittee