We all know that a good cheese sauce is like liquid gold. Even if you’re not a big cheese eater, cheese sauce is always popular. There’s just so much you can do with it – toss your pasta in it, pour it over nachos, add it to a casserole, use it for a dip or fondue, or drizzle it over a bed of fresh vegetables. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re plant-based and avoiding dairy, there are plenty of great vegan cheeses on the market now. Check out Vegan Cheese is Better Than Ever: Try These 11 Brands to see which are right for you. Some dairy-free cheeses are made with soy, others are made with nuts and seeds, and many use nutritional yeast. But there is also a whole new way to make cheese – vegetables! That’s right, we can make delicious cheese sauces using ordinary vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and squash. Veggie cheese sauces are easy and taste amazing. Here’s how to make all kinds of cheese sauce using vegetables.

1. Cauliflower

Hot 'n' Bubbly Cauliflower Cheese [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

By now, we all know that cauliflower is a magical vegetable that can be turned into rice, purées, and even pizza crust. Read Cauliflower is the New Kale. Try These Recipes! to learn all the different ways to use this vegetable. To make cauliflower cheese sauce, all you have to do is cook the cauliflower, either by steaming or boiling, and then purée it until it’s smooth. Then add in the ingredients that will give it a cheesy flavor such as nutritional yeast, garlic, cayenne, miso, Dijon mustard, and/or lemon juice.

This Super Creamy Mac and Cheese (No Nuts, No Soy, No Problem!) has a cheese sauce made with cauliflower and butternut squash along with hemp seeds and rice milk. This Hot n’ Bubbly Cauliflower Cheese is super-creamy with a combination of cauliflower and cashews. When you want comfort food without the guilt, these Cauliflower Cheese-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are just the thing. Creamy Alfredo-type cheesy sauces can be even healthier when made with cauliflower. Try this Spaghetti Squash With Basil and Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce and this Cauliflower Alfredo for your next Italian night at home.

2. Squash

Cheesy Seasonal Pumpkin Mac [Vegan]

All types of squash, including pumpkin, can be used to make cheese sauce. Again, just cook the pumpkin by boiling or steaming, and purée it until it’s smooth. Alternatively, you could use canned pumpkin or squash purée – just be sure to buy the plain purée that has no seasoning since you’ll add your own cheesy flavors.

Pumpkin purée is used to make the cheese sauce in this Mac ‘N Squash as well as this Cheesy Seasonal Pumpkin Mac. Butternut squash is not only the perfect slightly sweet taste for making cheese sauce but it’s already the right color. These Autumn Nachos with Pumpkin Queso Dip have a cheese sauce made with butternut squash, miso, cashews and nutritional yeast. Butternut squash is also used to make this Smoky Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese and Super Creamy Mac n’ Cheese.

3. Potatoes

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese with Spinach

If you have a couple of potatoes in your pantry, you can make a rich cheesy sauce in no time. Potatoes have starch which makes a thick sauce and with the right seasonings and a bit of turmeric for color, you could be topping your baked potato with a potato cheese sauce.

This Fat-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce is not only vegan, but it’s also gluten-free, fat-free, and nut-free. It’s made with Yukon gold potatoes and zucchini with nutritional yeast and paprika. Now that’s a sauce you can feel good about drizzling over your roasted veggies. This beautiful Paprika Cheese Without Nuts or Soy slices and grates just like cheese should. Made with potatoes, red peppers, oats, and nutritional yeast, this is perfect for a cheese sauce. Just melt it into a béchamel sauce made with nut-free, soy-free dairy-free milk. Love Swiss? Try this Swiss Cheeze Sauce. Don’t forget sweet potatoes – they already have the orange color! Try this Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese with Spinach.

4. Carrots

Healthy Mac n Cheese

You don’t need to use turmeric for color when you make cheese sauce out of carrots mixed with potatoes. This combo is one of the most popular healthy vegan cheese sauce choices around. Just boil or steam the potatoes and carrots and purée them. Add in your cheesy flavors and you have a cheese sauce that tastes like the real thing. Try making your own potato-and-carrot cheese sauce as in this Healthy Mac n’ Cheese, Life-Changing Cheese Sauce, and Extra-Creamy Mac and Cheese.

5. Beans

White Bean Alfredo (7)Rhea Parsons

You can also use white beans to make a cheese sauce. Simply blend cannellini or Northern beans with nutritional yeast, seeds or nut-free, soy-free vegan cheese. By adding nooch to this Great Northern Bean Dip, you can have a thick, creamy cheese sauce that tastes great.

Here’s how I make my White Bean Alfredo Cheese Sauce: In a saucepan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat  Saute minced red onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cloves of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Mix in 2 cups of puréed white beans. Add one cup each of non-dairy milk and veggie broth and whisk until well-combined. Mix in vegan grated parmesan, a pinch of nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer and thicken for a few minutes. Serve over pasta, veggie noodles or veggies.

When it comes to dairy-free cheese, there are more options than ever. Cheeses made from soy, tapioca, nuts and seeds are delicious but making cheese sauce out of vegetables? Priceless. Give these recipes a try and you’ll want to pour healthy cheese sauce over everything!

Lead image source: Life-Changing Cheese Sauce