These wedge fries are a weekly occurrence in our home, and I love experimenting with new ways to dip them. The other day, I had a hankering for something rich and fulfilling, and this dairy free cheese sauce was the delicious result. It reminds me of the cheese sauces served by some fast-casual restaurants, but is wholesome and plant-based!
Potatoes: Why Baking is Better
Who doesn’t love roasted vegetables? Unfortunately, high heat baking isn’t always the best way to preserve nutrients in produce. However, the humble potato actually shines when given some oven time. Research shows that baking potatoes results in higher levels of resistant starch than other cooking methods. Resistant starch is a beneficial type of dietary fiber found in high-carbohydrate foods (like potatoes), which researchers believe can satiate (aiding in weight loss), improve blood sugar control, boost immunity, and perhaps reduce cancer risk. For an even bigger boost of this good-for-you carbohydrate, bake and cool those potatoes. Chilling further increases the levels of resistant starch. I often make a double batch of these wedge fries and enjoy leftovers from the refrigerator.
For the fries, I always go with wedge cut for a couple of reasons. First, they’re more fun to eat in my opinion! They’re sturdier than traditionally cut fries and thus great for dunking in thin or thick dips. Second, they are easier to cut and more foolproof to bake. You simply turn the wedges upright, with their skin sides down, and bake, no flipping or racks required. The skins shield the sensitive cut tops and the shape and placement aid air circulation for relatively even cooking.
Dairy Free Cheese Sauce: About The Ingredients
I use ground cashews for richness without the need for oils. You don’t want to pre-soak the cashews for this recipe. They soak up the liquid in the recipe and thicken better when ground fresh. For the liquid, I amp up the creaminess just a touch more with Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk Beverage. You can use one of their other unsweetened milk beverages, I just find the cashew milk beverage to be the most complimentary. To find them, see the Silk store locator. Also, sign up for the Silk Newsletter. Besides recipes and fun information, they often send out printable coupons. I actually used one to purchase the cashew milk beverage for this dairy free cheese sauce recipe!
Scared of nutritional yeast? Don’t be. It’s rich in vitamins, including B12, which is essential for vegan diets. It’s a natural food that’s even considered “primal“, and is used more like a seasoning. It’s also very lightweight, so an 8-ounce bag will last you for numerous recipes.
Sharbalina shared the following feedback on this recipe via Instagram after she and her family tried it: “This “cheese” is really tasty! Even fooled my kids! ?”
Special Diet Notes: Dairy Free Cheese Sauce with Wedge Fries
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
This dairy free cheese sauce could also be considered paleo-friendly, if potatoes are okay for you. If not, use 1 cup peeled, chopped sweet potatoes in place of the carrots and potatoes.
I haven’t tested this particular recipe nut-free, but we also like this Vegan Queso Dip with chips or wedge fries, which is naturally nut-free.
- 1 pound baby potatoes
- ½ tablespoon olive (not extra-virgin), avocado, rice bran, or grapeseed oil
- ¼ to ⅜ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup peeled and chopped carrots (2.5 ounces)
- ½ cup chopped yellow potato (2.5 ounces)
- ⅓ cup raw unsalted cashews (1.75 ounces)
- 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk Beverage, divided
- 2 to 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF and optionally line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Cut the baby potatoes in half vertically. Cut each half into three wedges vertically – to get 6 long wedges per baby potato.
- Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Toss the wedges to coat.
- Spread the wedges out on the baking sheet and turn them all upright, skin side down. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- While the potatoes bake, steam or boil the carrots and potatoes until quite tender, about 20 minutes.
- Pulse the cashews in a spice grinder or food processor until completely ground into a "flour", about 30 seconds.
- Add the cooked vegetables to a blender, followed by half of the cashew milk beverage, then the ground cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining milk beverage and blend to combine.
- Pour the cheesy mixture into a medium pan and bring it to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking often, or until it thickens to your desired consistency.
- Serve with the baked baby potato wedge fries. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If it thickens too much, simply reheat with enough milk beverage to reach your desired consistency.
The dairy free cheese sauce recipe makes enough for a double batch of wedge fries. If you opt to double up, use two baking sheets to avoid over-crowding the potatoes. You can bake them at the same time, but switch the sheets on the oven racks half way through.