Cooking Demo: Making cashew-based vegan cheese sauce with Linda!

I’m sure most of our pledges will recognize our peerless baker and vegan chef, Linda Nelson!  In addition to baking for almost all of our pledge meetings and presenting two of our popular Pledge cooking demos, Linda was kind enough to star in our debut video demo!  In this cooking demonstration, Linda is making a cashew-based vegan cheese sauce while offering us her thoughts of veganism and animal rights.  The full recipe is below.  Try it with macaroni & cheese, baked potatoes, grits, or veggies!  A special thanks to James DeAlto for filming!

Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

1 1/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste (I leave it out)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper  (I use ground black pepper since I keep forgetting to get some white)
3 1/2 cups nondairy milk   (I always use soy milk since it makes a thicker sauce than some of the thinner non-dairy milks)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup light miso paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I’ve left this out when I don’t have a fresh lemon)
12 to 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked.

* I always add about 1/4 cup of my homemade dijon mustard though a commercial brand would work well, if you choose to add it.

Directions for the cheese sauce:

Place cashews in large-sized bowl of the food processor and finely grind. Don’t, however, allow cashews to turn to paste. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pulse three more times to blend in the spices.

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, and oil. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low-medium, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until thickener dissolves.

With the food processor running, gradually add milk/oil mixture to cashew/nutritional yeast mixture. Blend for 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Next, blend in miso and lemon juice.

Combine cashew cheese with macaroni and serve. You also may bake it (I always do).

To make the baked version: Preheat the over to 325. Transfer the macaroni mixture to a baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through. Uncover dish, and sprinkle 1/2 cup herbed bread crumbs or cracker crumbs on top. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and crisp. Serve hot.