Low Fat Vegan Cheezy Sauce For Steamed Vegetables

by on April 23, 2012

Low Fat Vegan Chef Cheezy Cheese Sauce For Steamed Vegetables

Today I wanted to share a recipe with you from my upcoming second recipe ebook: Low Fat Vegan Chef Presents: Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World. All the recipes are done and photographed, I just have to write it and put it together. In total there is going to be about 60 recipes in it all with photos! It should be available in a few weeks, so keep your eyes out if you’re missing some home cooked comfort meals!

As I’m currently in Kauai (our second stop in Hawaii) and pretty much away from the kitchen (aside from throwing together cut up fruit, basic salads and steamed vegetables) I haven’t been making any new actual recipes in a week. I kind of feel like I should be making food, but when you’re on vacation you’d rather be snorkelling, swimming or taking pictures! (If you’re like me I guess!)

I thought this would be a great recipe for those not sure what to put on their steamed vegetables for dinner. Most of you have probably had some sort of cheese, Cheese Whiz or cheese sauce on your vegetables prior to eating vegan and have a craving for something cheese-like at the dinner table. Also sometimes kids (and even grown ups!) like to dip their veggies into a sauce or dip and don’t enjoy eating them plain.

Growing up my mom would always make this homemade butter+flour+milk+grated cheese sauce for us when we had pierogies, ham, mixed vegetables, or even a dish called Welsh Rarebit (essentially a fried egg on toast topped with cheese sauce. Her version anyways and no we’re not Welsh or Polish. I have no idea where these recipes came from!). We loved this sauce. We asked for it all the time, we wanted to pour it on everything and we wanted to dip everything into it.

Pretty much everything about my mom’s cheese sauce that made it delicious isn’t really healthy or vegan, so I wanted to create something that was much much healthier and still tasty for those who miss cheese sauce.

The trick to getting a cheese-like taste in your sauces is to use nutritional yeast (this is yellow yeast flakes that are sold at the health food store, this is not brewers yeast, quick rising yeast nor does it have anything to do with baking) and miso paste. Nutritional yeast has a cheese-like tangy flavour and can be used in sauces, dips, dressings, or even shaken onto salads and pop corn. The miso paste is what gives it a strong fermented salty flavour and gives the cheesiness more depth. Nutritional yeast and salt is really not enough, miso paste is essential. You can find this at the health food store or any local asian market. I usually buy yellow/mild or brown rice miso. I don’t use white shiro miso or red miso. But use what you can find. The miso won’t go bad and will last a while and you can use it for more asian sauces, dips and add to soup stocks or make miso soup with it. If you use my recipe ebooks you will find it in several of the recipes as well.

For this recipe I just used a pre pack of fresh mixed vegetables that I got at the store. I wanted to make it simple for people who are new to preparing fresh vegetables and don’t have a lot of time. You can also cut up your own assorted fresh vegetables, or use frozen vegetables as well. The key is to make sure you don’t overcook them and make them mushy. I am constantly checking on them while they steam and testing them with a knife to see if they are soft in the centre. When they are al dente and ALMOST cooked turn off the heat and take off the lid. The veggies will continue to cook with all the hot steam in the pan and they will be overcooked if you continue to leave the heat on them. Leave the cover off so you dissipate some of the steam. No one likes overcooked veggies! This takes some practice, but if you can set a timer and find out the exact time it takes when the water boils you will make things easier next time you make them. Broccoli is the first to overcook and cauliflower is sturdier so I usually put it in the pot for a minute first and then put the broccoli on top to cook.

Low Fat Vegan Chef Cheezy Cheese Sauce For Steamed Vegetables

Low Fat Vegan Cheezy Sauce For Steamed Vegetables

From Comfort Foods From Around The World 

Serves 3-4 for a side dish of veggies


1 cup almond milk, unsweetened original (I used Blue Diamond brand. Don’t use sweetened or vanilla)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (available at Indian stores, spice markets and Amazon. McCormick also makes one available at Walmart)
1/2 tsp miso paste
Fresh ground pepper (if desired)
1 1/2 tbsp flour (GF if desired)


  1. Add almond milk to a sauce pan and heat over medium (or medium low on gas stove) heat until warm. Sprinkle in the nutritional yeast and smoked paprika. Whisk it in.
  2. Add the miso paste and try to break it up so there are no large clumps. Let it heat through a little and keep whisking it. Taste test and add a little more smoked paprika and some ground pepper if desired. If you add more miso it will make it saltier so use caution. (You want a tangy zesty flavour.)
  3. Gently sprinkle in the flour and whisk in to combine. Try to ensure there are no clumps. Heat through for a minute or two until it’s thickened up. Stir it to prevent it from sticking or burning at the bottom.
  4. Have your steamed vegetables ready or turn off the element and cover to keep warm until your veggies are ready.
  5. Drizzle over vegetables and serve. (Have extra ready for your dinner guests to add more if they wish.)
Feel free to use soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk etc as desired. I just have a preference for almond milk and don’t enjoy the taste of soy milk myself. To change some of the flavours in this sauce you could omit the smoked paprika and add some garlic and onion granules instead or add some tabasco or chipotle chili powder to make it spicy.

What do you think of this recipe? Did you ever have cheese sauce before you were vegan? What do you like to use now on vegetables?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine Miller April 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I am very lucky to have open-minded children who will eat pretty much anything put in front of them. They have tried ALOT of attempts at vegan cheese sauce(most met with varying degrees of MEH)! I finally was desperate enough to order Genmai miso from Eden Foods direct and attempt this recipe. It was wonderful and I truly believe the miso makes a HUGE difference in that “cheese” flavor I’ve been trying to get all this time. The kids dunked their tortilla in it happily and then (though my mushroom soup was a bit insulted) poured the rest of their sauce into the soup and declared it much better for the addition. So, maybe I will find a wonderful chowder-esque soup recipe featuring this cheese sauce on the site in the future. I can already guarantee you two little fans for anything including this sauce. Thank you!


2 Veronica Grace April 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Awesome! I definitely agree that genmai miso makes all the difference in cheese sauces! So glad you enjoyed it thank you for sharing. 🙂


3 Norma April 25, 2012 at 5:29 PM

I am anxious to try your Low Fat Vegan Cheezy Sauce; it looks very good.
For my raw recipes, I thicken with Psyllium (I buy it at my health food store)
Thanks for your good work, your weekly recipes.


4 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 26, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Yes I use psyllium to thicken raw recipes or chia gel blended.


5 Krista April 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I am eager to try your recipe, but I still need to purchase some miso as I have never used it before. In reality I am eating almost all fresh fruit and vegetables, but my family is used to all the other “healthy” foods that we have chosen to eat after much putting aside of other foods during the years.

My sister, who is vegan, gave me a delicious Carrot Cheeze Sauce recipe which everyone enjoys – used on taco salad, potatoes and pizza, etc. The little difficulty is that it has 1/3 cup of oil in the recipe that yeilds 3 cups. We make plenty and freeze the sauce in ice cube trays for convenience of proportions needed later on – it is then necessary to re-blend after thawing to get that creamy texture again.

I was wondering from your experience if the oil in my recipe could be replaced with almond or cashew milk (we blend up cashews as a base for a sour cream and it thickens so well when cooked up). Cook until soft 1-1/2 medium carrots (exact measurements are not necessary as this is used mainly for the lovely color). Place in blender with 2 cups water/carrot liquid, 1/3 cup oil (I have wanted to replace this with cashews, but how much would I use?), 1/3 cup soft wheat flour, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 1-1/2 T. onion granules, 1-1/2 tsp. salt (replacing this with miso may be helpful- what do you think?). Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until flour is cooked. Remove from heat and wisk in 2 T. lemon juice.

We are blessed with those who know how to put together foods that taste good and are also good for you! Thanks again for sharing all these wonderful recipes.


6 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica June 5, 2012 at 10:06 PM

I think the oil is just a thickening agent in that cheeze sauce recipe. You can’t straight replace it with almond milk, you would need to also thicken it with corn starch (either sprinkled in or in a slurry w a little water) and heat it until it thickens a bit or add another blended carrot or two, or you could try psyllium husk powder as it will help things gels together and hold. That’s available at the health food store, I get it at bulk specialty spice shops too.

Using miso instead of salt gives you that nice cheezy fermented flavour. I wouldn’t use salt if I could use miso.

I made another recipe that has butternut squash as the cheese sauce and it didn’t have any oil and I found that the mixture of lots of squash with some milk and flour made it thick enough. So just add more starch to your existing recipe. I try not to use cashews too often because they’re so high calorie and I find them addicting! Maybe you could add 2 tbsp of cashews and replace the rest with some more cooked carrots and try that.


7 Mary April 24, 2012 at 6:58 PM

My occasional veggie sauce is taratour sauce. It is made with tahini diluted with lemon and water. You can add pressed garlic if you like. Just put it in a bowl and mix with a fork. First it gets thick, then thin if you add enough water. It’s been awhile and I never measure, but try 1/4 cup tahini, 1 -2 tsp lemon, really small garlic clove (or garlic granules), 1 T water. When that is all blended you can add water to thin to pouring or drizzling consistency. Salt to taste. God bless.


8 sylvia April 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM

thanks for the celery idea, dying to try these recipes. Welsh rarebit was all the rage when I was young. I lived in Scotland and I think we just used toast slice of bascon [poor pig] and melted cheese under the griller . this recipe sounds so healthy low G.I. veg. and low carbs wonder if making a roux with said milk and flour before hand would help? Could I substitute ground wheat berries for the flour?…………..mmmmmmmm to many questions for someone on holiday. enjoy Hawaii.


9 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 24, 2012 at 8:17 PM

I really don’t know how to make a roux without oil. It’s basically oil/butter and flour mixed and toasted and then they add milk to it. The flour gets all brown and rich tasting from being toasted, it’s not really the same when you just use milk and flour, but this is trying to be healthier.

I have no idea about ground wheat berries. I have never used them. Basically you need something with starch to bulk up and thicken the sauce so it’s not just a watery milk.


10 Kristina May 2, 2012 at 6:08 AM

Flour is ground wheat berries! I grind my flour all the time – so good for you! When you use fresh ground flour you are getting all the nutrients that disappear after 2 to 3 days. Flour loses 40% of its nutrients after 24 hours and 90% after 3 days. And the enriching process that is done with commercial flour does not come close to adding back all the nutrients that are lost.


11 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Sometimes I make oat flour from steel cut oats for some gluten free recipes. The Vitamix can do it. I have some organic whole wheat flour I use when I need it, but wheat berries can be a little more expensive if you’re looking for organic too. Cool.


12 Svetlana April 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

What can you substitute for flour?


13 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 24, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Use cornstarch, tapioca starch or gluten free flour.


14 Joelle April 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Can’t wait to try, I am not really a fan of the cashew based ones, and I’m with you on the rabbit…at least that’s what I thought it was!! lol


15 Marie April 24, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Yes, it is rarebit.


16 Carla April 24, 2012 at 10:12 AM


Sounds delic… can’t wait to make it.


17 desri April 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

I think it could have been welsh rarebit not rabbit 😉


18 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM

See we called it rabbit when we were kids. Had no idea lol.


19 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 24, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Actually I checked and it is ALSO called Welsh Rabbit. If you google many people use the name interchangeably. Here’s a recipe for Welsh Rabbit http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Welsh-Rabbit-108892


20 Lina April 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Love your recipes Veronica and am sad to pass this one by–I am on a strict no salt or added sugar program. If I’m not mistaken, miso is salty?


21 Jelle (mostlyraw.eu) April 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Correct about 650mg/salt/tsp for this miso, you can try leaving it out or add a bit of dried celery.


22 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Yes miso is salty. Sorry.


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