If you’re dairy-free, vegan, or just trying to cut back on dairy cheese, this is the recipe for you! In our quest to find a quick and easy cheese to make vegan grilled cheese, we crafted this simple, delicious, vegan cheddar cheese spread made with 8 wholesome ingredients.
The best part? It looks and tastes like cheddar cheese! Okay, maybe it doesn’t melt exactly like cheddar cheese, but the flavor and color are there! And it does provide that melty, stringy factor when heated. Perfect for storing in the fridge to make quick vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, and more! Let us show you how it’s done.
It starts with soaking cashews and sliced carrots in very hot water. This helps them soften, which later yields a creamy consistency.
Once soaked and drained, they’re added to a blender along with tapioca starch for thickening and stringy texture, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, apple cider vinegar for a tangy/fermented element, and sea salt, garlic powder, and ground mustard for flavor. Optionally, if you’re going for a yellow cheddar appearance, you can add a little bit of turmeric.
The creamy mixture is then gently cooked in a saucepan where it transforms into a thick and spreadable paste. And that’s it — so easy!
We hope you LOVE this vegan cheddar cheese! It’s:
Quick & easy
The uses for this vegan cheddar are endless, but it’s especially perfect for making grilled cheese sandwiches and vegan mac ‘n’ cheese (recipes coming soon!). It would also be delicious on baked potatoes or in casseroles, scalloped potatoes, enchiladas, and beyond!
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
- How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Easy Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese”
- Cashew Ricotta Cheese (Soy-Free, Fast, Easy!)
- 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Cheddar Cheese (Spread & Sauce!)
CASHEWS & CARROTS
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced (peeled) carrots
- Hot water for soaking
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (optional // for color)
- In a mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, soak cashews and carrots in very hot water for 30 minutes (uncovered). Then drain and add to a high-speed blender with 1 cup water, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, garlic powder, and dry mustard (turmeric is optional for deeper color). Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more apple cider vinegar for acidity, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic powder for depth of flavor, or salt to taste.
- Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, while whisking, for 1-2 minutes or until thickened to a spreadable consistency (see photo). It should resemble the texture of soft cooked polenta.
- The cheese spread is now ready to use on things like grilled cheese sandwiches, or to add to cooked shells for quick vegan mac ‘n’ cheese (recipes to come!).
- Store sauce covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month (let thaw in the refrigerator before use). In the fridge, it will thicken into a paste/spread as it chills.
*Recipe as written makes ~1 ¼ cup.