This week, Kittee and I are sharing our favorite vegan cheese sauces! I always have a huge canning jar of this cheese sauce in the fridge, for last minute mac and cheese, drizzled over cooked pinto beans, drizzled over enchiladas or nachos, as a dip for steamed broccoli or cauliflower or tossed with cooked brown rice (which we lovingly call cheesy rice). It’s the perfect creamy, cheesy sauce and is so dang easy to make!
I usually double this recipe. You can quickly blend it up in your high speed blender (I love Blendtec, Kitchen Aid and Vita Mix), using ingredients that you mostly have in your pantry. If you don’t have Instant Clearjel (ICJ), you can order it on Amazon. I use it for lots of different things, but it’s amazing for thickening sauces without cooking them. Ultra Gel will totally work in place of ICJ if you don’t have it. If you’re wondering what exactly Instant Clearjel (ICJ) and Ultra Gel are, they are basically instant or precooked cornstarch. They are also non-GMO too.
Before I get to the cheesy sauce recipe, I want to share a couple of other ways I use these thickeners:
The first is pies, as it makes the best thickener for them. Since it’s thickening power is instant, you don’t have to bake your pie for hours, waiting for the filling to thicken while the crust is burning.
And lets not forget using it for freezer jam! It gives the jam the best texture, and doesn’t have to be cooked (unless you want to).
I also sometimes add a tiny bit to frosting, as it thickens it a touch so you don’t have to add as much powdered sugar. It also keeps frosting soft, so it doesn’t get that crunchy-ness that can sometimes happen from powdered sugar. I came up with a mock cream cheese frosting, and just a tiny bit of the ICJ gives it a similar texture to using cream cheese.
Although I have been using lCJ for many years, Ultra Gel is a new one for me. I’ve just started experimenting with it, and it’s very similar to Instant Clearjel, except a big difference is it can be whisked directly into sauce. When using ICJ, it must be be mixed into dry ingredients first, or it will cause the sauce to clump and gel together. They seem to be interchangeable in recipes, and I plan to do lots of experimenting!
If you have ICJ on hand, an old bakery trick is to add 1 tablespoon of it to every cup of flour in a cookie recipe. It’ll keep your cookies nice and soft. Just make sure to whisk it into the flour mixture. There seriously are a million ways to use it. I also totally forgot that it’s great to add a little bit to thicken your ranch or other creamy dressings. And you can use it to make vegan mayo. I also add a tablespoon or so to cashew creams and other sauces to make them just a tad thicker, so that I can reduce the cashews a bit.
And, without further ado, here is the recipe for my go to cheesy sauce!
This sauce can be doctored up by stirring in some salsa or hot sauce or playing around with the seasonings. Adjust how much Instant Clearjel (or Ultra Gel) you use by how thick of a sauce you want. If you want it thinner add less, and if you want it thicker add more. And, the best part is that if you add too much, simply add a little more plain soymilk to thin. Easy peasy!
I’m so excited for everyone to try it!
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xo Julie & Kittee