I have been maintaining a plant-based diet for several years now. The taste of the cheesy, creamy vegetarian meals like mac n’ cheese and potato casserole are my favorite dishes. Today, I can get those tastes without dairy. Because of ingredients like cashew cream and nutritional yeast, I can still enjoy that creamy taste without milk, cheese, or butter. Thanks to some awesome vegan ingredients, it is possible to mimic that rich, dairy taste of creamy sauces. Here are six ingredients that star in vegan creamy sauce recipes. With these tricks, you can cook any type of sauce.
Most vegan sauce recipes call for some sort of non-dairy milk. Some are specific to coconut milk for a sweeter taste, while others may call for soy or almond milk. Whichever type you use, non-dairy milk is an easy substitute for milk in any recipe. Non-dairy milk usually acts just like milk in cooking, so replacing cow’s milk with a cruelty-free alternative is simple since most grocery stores carry packaged non-dairy milks. With nut milk, you can cook a delicious creamy sauce for a Broccoli Cheese Pasta Bake or this Mashed Cauliflower Green Bean Casserole.
In some dairy sauces, especially gravy, animal fat is used for taste and consistency. Olive oil can be used as a replacement for the animal fat in a recipe. Also, when mixed with flour and non-dairy milk, it can help create a thick, rich texture like dairy sauces. Try using olive oil in this vegan Bechamel Cheese Sauce or in this Moussaka With Cashew Cream.
3. Toss in a Pinch of Nutritional Yeast
As a general rule, you can use nutritional yeast flakes to substitute parmesan cheese in any recipe. It’s also used to give a thick consistency to non-dairy, creamy sauces. Instead of the dairy-packed macaroni and cheese, try a Cheesy Vegan Mac n’ Yeast or this Mac and Not Cheese. By having nutritional yeast always stocked in your pantry, you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily you can create delicious, creamy sauces like alfredo sauce.
Every vegan cook knows about the wonders of cashew cream, considering it is very easy to make and takes only one major ingredient: cashews! Soak cashews for four hours, then blend with water, and you’ve got a vegan choice to use for recipes in place of real cream. Try this recipe for a basic cashew cream and try using it to bake an Onion Tart with Greens and Cashew Cream. You can even use cashews to make a garlic spread that mimics a cheesy garlic sauce.
Biting into rich, creamy pot pie is like eating a slice of heaven. By using vegan butter along with soy milk, vegetable broth, all-purpose flour, and various spices, and vegetables, you’ll have a vegan rendition of the classic chicken pot pie. Vegan butter spread alternatives look and taste very similar to margarine or butter spreads. Try using it in Chicken-Less Pot Pie Soup or this Jackfruit Pot Pie.
Soy makes for great non-dairy milk, butter, and yogurt products. When you mix both Soya yogurt and soy milk together, they create a white, creamy sauce that’s perfect for pasta. With these ingredients, make a Pine Nut and Broccoli Cream Reginette with Chargrilled Pepper or this Chickpea Paprikash.
Giving up dairy can be tough since so many favorite dishes in the American diet include milk, cheese, or butter. Luckily, making a choice to live a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite dishes. Who needs cow’s milk and butter when almond milk and vegan butter spread work even better?
Lead image source: Mac and Not Cheese