Ok friends, this is it. After all of the love for my Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella, it's time for a follow-up act: Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Nacho Cheese. (I know, I am just so incredibly original with the new name).
With the help of reader Amanda (hi Amanda!), I toyed around with different spices and flavours to achieve a cheddar-like cheese recipe. No small task, especially when you don't eat cow's milk cheddar to compare. With a little zing and zang, salty and sweet, ooey and gooey, I managed to achieve... are you ready for it?...nacho heaven. Big plate of nachos, hello again. Oh, how I missed you. Now I will devour you!
This recipe is good for more than just nachos. You can load up a baked potato, make a grilled cheese, layer on a veggie patty for a melty cheeseburger, or stir into noodles for quick mac and cheese. Anywhere that you would use melted cheddar cheese, you can now use this recipe.
Do you want more good news? Of course you do. It's oil, gluten, and dairy free, only 150 calories per serving, omnivores love it, over 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and only 15 minutes to make. Vegan high fives all around!
Can we see another shot of this ooey, gooey, melty-ness. Ahhh.... there we go.
Notes about this cheese:
- You have to use tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour). Corn starch, potato starch or any other starch won't have the same stretchy quality. If you can't find tapioca starch in your grocery store, you can always order it online here. If you have tapioca pearls, you can use a coffee grinder or a high powered blender to grind them into a homemade batch of tapioca starch.
- You can store the leftover cheese in an airtight container in the fridge and it should last for several days. This cheese will never turn into a solid block. It will always remain in a melty state. If you want to return the cold nacho cheese back to dipping consistency, reheat over medium heat while stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Once it is hot and bubbling it might have thickened up too much. You can thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water at a time, stirring it in until desired consistency is reached.
- Please beware, once you make a batch, you will probably eat the whole thing in one sitting. Don't say I didn't warn you!
To make this nacho cheese, first start by soaking the cashews for four hours or overnight. OR if you need to eat this immediately (and I always do), you can skip the soaking, and instead boil the cashews for 10 minutes until soft and tender, then drain before using. Sneaky deaky cashew softening trick.
Toss all the ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. It will be very watery, don’t worry, it will get cheesy!
If you don't have a high powered blender, you may want to pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into the pot to remove any cashew bits that didn't grind up. This will ensure a smooth cheese texture.
Put the pan over medium-high heat. Stir to keep anything from burning. You will start to see clumps forming.
Ooo clumpy. Keep stirring!
Then all of a sudden, magic! Everything comes together and makes this cheesy, melty, deliciousness. Keep stirring and cooking for another minute or two, to make sure it’s finished firming up. It should take about 5 minutes to cook total. That’s it! Done. So easy.
Only 15 minutes to make this melty, stretchy, gooey, dairy-free cheese. Pour it on nachos, serve it on a baked potato, use it in a quesadilla, or wherever you desire.
Adapted from my Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella.
- ½ cup raw cashews (see notes)
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 1 ½ teaspoons white miso paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
To soften the cashews: Boil them for 10 minutes until soft. OR soak the cashews for four hours or overnight. Drain before using.
To make the nacho vegan nacho cheese: Add the softened cashews, water, and all the remaining ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. It will be very watery.
Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, while stirring. If you don't have a high-powered blender, you may want to pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into the pot, to remove any cashew bits that didn't grind up. This will ensure a smooth cheese texture. As you stir it will start forming clumps, and then all of a sudden it will become a cheesy gooey mass of yumminess. This takes about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir for an additional minute or two to make sure it has firmed up completely.
I originally went with ¼ cup of cashews, but lately I have been loving using a ½ cup for an even creamier consistency.
If you want to return the cold cheese back to dipping consistency, reheat over medium heat while stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Once it is hot and bubbling it might have thickened up too much. You can thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water at a time, stirring it in until desired consistency is reached.
Only tapicoa starchy will give that stretchy texture, but you can prepare the cheese with other starch such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder which will give you more of a suace texture.