Warm “Vegveeta” Cheese Sauce

This warm ‘cheesy’ dip has a mild flavor that can be used to accompany many foods… and also combines very well with salsa to mimic the velveeta/salsa dip from years ago. I make this without nutritional yeast, but if you like it, feel free to add in the nooch!

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp tahini (or 1/8 cup pine nuts)
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup + 1-3 tbsp plain unsweetened almond milk (see note)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp (little scant) paprika
1/8 – 1/4 tsp turmeric (for color)
1 tbsp neutral-flavored oil (optional, see note)
optional: 1 ½ -2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until very, very smooth (start with 1 cup + 1 tbsp milk). Transfer mixture to a small/medium saucepan, and heat over low/low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until mixture is starting to slowly bubble and thicken (stir frequently through heating). To thin sauce slightly, stir in another 1-2 tbsp of milk. Avoid thickening sauce over high heat (or increasing heat too quickly), since this sauce can scorch easily. Once sauce has thickened, transfer to a serving dish… and get dipping!

Notes:
1) I prefer to use plain unsweetened almond milk (by Blue Diamond) in this cheese dip. It has a more neutral flavor than soy milk, and isn’t sweet-tasting as rice and hemp milks can be. Try using the almond milk if you can.

2) Be sure to use a neutral oil (not extra-virgin olive oil) so that the mild cheese flavor is not overtaken by any particular oil essence.

3) The color of this dip will deepen with heating. When first blended, it is quite light without much color, but with heating, more yellow/orange color develops.

Options:
1) For a nacho “Vegveeta”-style dip, try stirring about 1/3 – ½ cup of your fave salsa into the heated sauce.

2) Other add-in’s to consider (add after blending/warming sauce):
- a handful of sliced green onions
- chopped sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed, drained) or fresh chopped tomatoes
- sliced olives
- chopped parsley or cilantro.
- for heat-lovers, a few tablespoons of chopped jalapeno peppers or a few dashes of hot sauce.