Dip Away: Curried Pumpkin Cheese (Vegan!) Sauce
Whether you have food sensitivities and allergies, or you are a foodie, lover of nuts or a pumpkin-on-everything aficionado, this amped-up creamy vegan sauce is sure to satisfy. It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t a substitute for conventional dairy cheese. Instead, consider it a delicious and healthy alternative to your favorite fall dips.
Cashew cheese dip or sauce is not a new concept. But the addition of pumpkin, along with warm Indian spices that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, elevates the original recipe to a whole other level.
I love using cashews because they lend a creamy texture with a neutral taste. Feel free to try other nuts, though, as experimentation is part of the fun. While this recipe doesn’t include nutritional yeast, if you’d prefer a cheesier flavor, I suggest adding in one tablespoon of nutritional yeast at a time until you reach your desired flavor notes.
Not only is this autumn-inspired vegan cheese sauce incredibly quick and easy to prepare, but there are also endless ways to enjoy it; I prefer to serve it warm. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Sauce: Add more water to thin it out, then toss it over salads or pasta.
Spread: Serve it on top of toasted naan, sandwiches, crackers and more.
Dip: Serve it with vegetables, chips, pretzels or crackers.
Vegan Curried Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for up to 4 hours, drained
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
Water, to desired consistency (I used 1/4 cup)
Add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary. Best served warm.
Per serving (1/4 cup): Calories 54; Fat 4 g (Saturated 2 g); Sodium 227 mg; Carbohydrate 3 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 1 g
Min Kwon, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian who specializes in food sensitivities. She has a passion for translating the science of nutrition into real-life, applicable advice and tips. In her healthy food blog, The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman, she focuses on sharing simple yet healthy recipes made from wholesome, REAL foods.