Growing up, I ate very little fresh produce. Almost everything came from a can, box, or bag. Even potatoes were canned! The only fresh vegetables I can remember are iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. I didn’t know anything different, so I didn’t mind, and I liked most of them. Broccoli was my favorite though. My mom would make broccoli with cheese sauce, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m pretty sure the only reason I liked it so much was because the broccoli was acting as a vehicle for the cheese, but hey, it got me to eat my greens.
The cheese sauce I grew up eating came in powdered from a packet. Just add water for instant flavor! I don’t trust too many foods that come from packets these days, and I make my own cheese sauce. I often make it with just cashews, but I’ve found that sauces are a great way to hide extra veggies, so I sometimes make it with carrots and cauliflower, as I did here.
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce is a great side dish that can be served with anything from baked tofu and rice pilaf to lentil loaf and roasted potatoes. Throw in a can of chickpeas and serve it over brown rice or pasta to make it a complete meal. It’s a terrific topper for a baked potato, too. You may have some cheese sauce leftover. It’s great on tacos, tofu scrambles, nachos, veggie burgers, and pretty much anything else you can think of!
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 bunches broccoli, cut to bite-sized pieces
- Place the carrots, onion, sweet potato, and cauliflower in a large pot. Fill it with enough water to cover the vegetables plus about two inches.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.
- Drain the vegetables and save the water. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly and then place them in a high-speed blender or food processor along with the nutritional yeast, cashews, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, onion powder, and salt. Add 2 cups of the reserved cooking water and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick. Keep in mind that it will thicken when it’s heated.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, place the olive oil and broccoli. Cook, stir-ring frequently, until the broccoli turns bright green. If it starts to stick to the pan, add some of the reserved cooking water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Lower the heat to medium, add the cheese sauce to the pan, and cook until it’s warmed throughout and has thickened slightly. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little more of the reserved cooking water.
- Serve hot.