Indulge Your Love of Mac & Cheese with this Guilt-Free "Cheese" Sauce

Indulge Your Love of Mac & Cheese with this Guilt-Free "Cheese" Sauce

When the leaves of fall begin to turn red and gold I start craving the ultimate comfort food: macaroni and cheese. Comforting as it is, traditional ooey-gooey creamy delicious high-fat, high-carb, low-nutrient mac & cheese doesn't have a place in an eating plan that emphasizes nutrient-dense food. 

Chef brothers Derek and Chad Sarno to the rescue! Their thick, rich, creamy delicious Wicked Healthy Cheez Sauce has four main ingredients -- garlic, carrots, cashews and nut milk -- and no added sugars solid fats or oils. Make it without salt, as I do, for a sodium-free alternative.  

With plant-based ingredients and no added sugars or oils, you won't believe this sauce isn't real cheese! 

With plant-based ingredients and no added sugars or oils, you won't believe this sauce isn't real cheese! 

I pair this sauce with one of my favorite legume pastas and presto! Comfort food that's both guilt-free and delicious. 

The Recipe

I've seen a couple of versions of this recipe. Here’s the one I use, with my notes  on variations and options. 

In a medium saucepan, add

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup whole raw garlic cloves - I use elephant garlic. It has a milder taste and it’s a lot faster to fill a cupful!
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • splash of rice wine vinegar

Add enough water to cover, then bring to a boil and simmer until soft. 

While the veggies are cooking, measure into a small bowl: 

  • 1 tbsp white miso (use yellow if you want a stronger miso flavor)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I often use just 1/4 tsp for a milder sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp sea salt (Optional, in my version. See "A note on the sodium, below)

Have ready:

  • 2 cups unsweetened, unflavored almond or soy milk. Sometimes I use reconstituted powered milk. One version of this recipe calls for 24 ounces, but I prefer the thicker texture that I get with the lesser amount.
These jars hold about 2-½ cups.  The recipe as I've adjusted it makes about 4 cups. 

These jars hold about 2-½ cups.  The recipe as I've adjusted it makes about 4 cups. 

When the veggies are soft, drain, rinse, and put them into a blender set to high. Gradually add the milk product, followed by the dry ingredients. Blend on the highest setting you have until smooth and creamy. 

Leftovers are so scrumptious they won't last long, but use the sauce within a week or so. 

 

A Note on Sodium

The original recipe calls for 1 tbsp sea salt -- that's a LOT of sodium.  Consider: 1 tablespoon of salt has 6,976 grams of sodium. A typical recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce. That means each half-cup serving has about 872 mg of sodium. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends that adults limit themselves to a maximum of 2,300 mg sodium per day, or, ideally, 1,500 mg. Following a friend's suggestion, I make it without any salt and it tastes just fine. I recommend tasting it first, then adding salt judiciously, if needed. 

Nutrient Breakdown

My version of the recipe makes about 4 cups. Here's the macronutrient breakdown for each ½ cup serving. Macronutrient values are taken from the USDA Food Comparison Databases or package labels. 

  • Calories: 135
  • Protein: 7g
  • Fat (it's all plant-based): 8g
  • carbohydrates: 15g
  • fiber: 2g
  • sugars: 4g

Have you made this recipe? Visit me on Facebook and let me know. 

Peace.

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