Dairy-Free Salsa Cheese Sauce is an ooey-gooey, totally delicious alternative to traditional cheese sauce.
Packed with veggies, and totally dairy-free, you’ve got to try this one to believe it!
A gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo recipe.
Okay, you guys, you’re not going to believe the surprise ingredients in this alternative take on traditional cheese sauce.
Seriously, you’ll never guess.
Potatoes and carrots.
Yep, you read that right.
The combo of carrots and potatoes, combined with a handful of other ingredients, combine for an ooey-gooey sauce you’ll simply have to taste to believe.
Of course, this sauce doesn’t taste exactly like traditional processed cheese, but when used as a dip for chips or poured over noodles, it really is pretty darn close.
The best part, in my option, is stirring in a generous amount of salsa at the end, taking a seriously yummy sauce and elevating it to the next level.
Serve this any way you’d serve traditional cheese sauce: as a dip for chips or veggies, or stirred into warm pasta.
Fair warning, the sauce thickens quite a bit when it cools, so keep it warm during serving, and thin with a splash more stock if you’re reheating.
I hope you’ll make this one soon. If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!
Now, let’s make some Dairy-Free Salsa Cheese Dip!
Recipe & Kid Friendly Adaptations
1 | Serve this cheese sauce as a dip for chips, as a veggie-filled topping for nachos, poured over veggies, or mixed with cooked noodles for an awesome mac & cheese alternative.
2 | I have not tried making this without the cashews, but I imagine it would still work, it just may not be as creamy. If you try it let us know in the comments!
3 | Want to make this recipe in an Instant Pot or Crockpot? Check out the variations as the end of the recipe.
This Recipe Is
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, mayo-free, grain-free, soy-free, vegetarian, vegan and paleo
Tools to Make The Best Dairy-Free Salsa Cheese Sauce
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Dairy-Free Salsa Cheese Sauce is an ooey-gooey, totally delicious alternative to traditional cheese sauce. Packed with veggies, and totally dairy-free, you’ve got to try this one to believe it!
1 cup peeled and diced russet potatoes*
1 cup diced carrots
½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided**
¼ cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast, or more to taste***
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, peeled
¼ cup chunky salsa****
- Place the potatoes, carrots, stock and ¼ teaspoon salt into a medium saucepan.
- Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 20-30 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool slightly
- Add the cashews to a blender. Blend on high until a fine flour forms, being careful not to overblend.
- Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, ¾ teaspoons salt, and garlic clove to the blender. Carefully pour in the vegetable and stock mixture.
- Cover and blend until completely smooth, adding a splash more stock if necessary.
- Pour into a bowl, add the salsa, stirring to combine. Taste and add additional salt, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast, if desired.
Instant Pot Variation
- Place the potatoes, carrots, stock and ¼ teaspoon salt into a 6-quart electric pressure cooker.
- Secure the lid, select the manual setting, and set it to high pressure for 5 minutes. When the pressure cooker timer is done, quick release the pressure.
- Proceed with steps 3-6 above.
Slow Cooker Variation
- Place the potatoes, carrots, stock and ¼ teaspoon salt into a 6-quart slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-5 hours, or until the vegetables are very tender.
- Proceed with steps 3-6 above.
Serve this cheese sauce as a dip for chips, as a veggie-filled topping for nachos, poured over veggies, or mixed with cooked noodles for an awesome mac & cheese alternative.
*Peeled red or yellow potatoes will also work.
**This sauce has significantly less salt than the processed version. If you taste it and find it bland, add more salt, ¼ teaspoon at time, until you reach a flavor you enjoy.
***Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor without containing any dairy. Find it on the bulk aisle of your natural foods store, or in the baking section. It adds an essential “cheesy” flavor to the recipe, so I don’t recommend skipping it.
****A good quality jarred salsa works well.