One of the hardest foods that I gave up when I became vegan, was cheese. Especially nacho cheese. For most people I think one of the last things to go is cheese. It's just so good. But still pretty gross when you think about it.
When I was in elementary school my mom was teaching us to pack our own lunches for school, because she wanted us to learn, and I'm sure she was tired of packing them for us. I remember quite a few times I would pack tortilla chips and a can of cheese. That's it. Chips and cheese for lunch. That does not seem like a well balanced meal, at all. I think sometimes my mom would forget to check our lunches to make sure we were packing healthy foods, instead of junk food.
Even though now I am an adult and a Registered Dietitian, I still like to indulge in chips and cheese sometimes. You know, for nostalgia's sake of course. Alright, and because it's just down right delicious.
Now, I do not feel as bad eating chips and cheese because I know that the "cheese", that I make, is actually healthy. This recipe does not have any oil, and is a good source of protein and fiber. So, win, win!
1 cup cashews, raw
2 cups water
1 medium potato, cooked & peeled
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Place all ingredients into a blender, and blend on high until it is completely smooth. It can take 3-5 minutes. On a medium-high stove, place the mixture into a medium pot and bring to a boil, while stirring constantly. Let it boil for 1 minute, while stirring, then remove from heat. Serve warm.
What causes the cheese to thicken are the cashews. When cashews are heated they expand, which makes them perfect for making vegan nacho cheese.