One of the things I think I missed the most when I became plant-based was a rich, creamy, cheese sauce. I do love a good cauliflower cheese but whenever I tried to make it the sauce would split whilst the dish was in the oven.
After much trial and error I think I finally cracked it!
There’s a secret step that I was missing and which I discovered when reheating left-over sauce. Since I made this breakthrough I haven’t looked back and I get a perfect creamy cauliflower cheese every time.
The basic cheese sauce recipe is super-simple but you’ll need a high power blender for best results.
300g cashew nuts
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
½ teaspoon english mustard powder
¼- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
Pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Approx. 200mls water
Place all of the ingredients into a high-power blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Use more or less water to adjust the consistency of the sauce if required.
If you’re using this to make a sauce based dish you can stir it in to your recipe at this point but if you’re going to be making a gratin style dish that will be baked in the over there’s a secret step that makes all the difference to the end result.
Would you like to know the secret step that stops your sauce splitting if you’re making a cauliflower ‘cheese’ or using the sauce to top off an aubergine bake?
Pour the sauce into a saucepan and heat gently until it just starts to thicken a little.
You’ll need to keep stirring as it will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and if you don’t keep stirring you could end up with a solid bit in the bottom of the pan that won’t stir in.
Take off the heat and set aside until you’re ready to use your sauce.
That’s it, just warming the sauce up and allowing it to thicken slightly seems to be the critical factor in the sauce holding together when used in a bake or gratin.