Liquid Gold Sauce + How to Roast a Butternut Squash

My love of all things squash and major mac n’ cheese cravings have led me to this wonderfully versatile butternut squash cheese sauce.  I’m calling it liquid gold because it’s the Velveeta cheese of the dairy-free world.  Seriously, it is a mouthful of cheesy bliss!  Every since I have was diagnosed with a dairy allergy I have been fine when it comes to not eating or wanting cheese, except when a mac n’ cheese craving hits.  I blame my genetics for having a mac n’ cheese gene, but I guess who doesn’t love a big bowl of golden comfort food?!  This sauce is my go-to recipe for a “junky” cheese sauce that is as delicious as any of it’s dairy-laden rivals, and much, much healthier!

Butternut squash is the hidden secret of this sauce that makes it golden and truly delicious!  It also adds a sweet note that works well with the spice from the mustard and paprika.  While this sauce contains no oil, it is super rich and creamy from the cashews and has a cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast.  You might think that the ingredients in this recipe are pretty random to be thrown together, but trust me they work!  This sauce is so delicious and so much healthier than regular cheese sauce, that even if you are not dairy-free you might want to give it a try.

I originally created this recipe to make mac n’ cheese, but I quickly realized there were so many other delicious ways I could use it.  It’s a great dip for chips, spread for sandwiches, sauce for vegetables, and stuffing for calzones and casseroles!  I included a step-by-step guide under the recipe for this sauce on how to roast a butternut squash.  Everyone’s method is a little different, and it can be tricky to prepare any squash to roast because they are hard, so I hope I can help out!

When a cheese craving hits, answer it with liquid gold sauce 🙂

Liquid Gold Sauce
vegan, gluten-free

yield: about 3 cups sauce

2 cups roasted butternut squash (recipe follows)
1/3 cup cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
1 cup water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsps spicy mustard
1 tsp garlic powder (or two cloves minced garlic)
1 tsp onion powder (or 1/4 diced small onion)
2 tsps lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
dash cayenne pepper

Drain and rinse cashews.  Add everything but the butternut squash to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Add squash last and blend until smooth.  Serve warm.

How to Roast a Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
olive oil to drizzle
salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Place the squash on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife, cut both ends off.

2.  Cut the squash in half, where the neck long neck meets the round end (bottom).

3.  Flip each half on a flat end and remove the skin.
4.  Cut the bottom half vertically and scoop out the seeds from the inside.
5.  Dice the squash into 1″ pieces and spread out on prepared pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Lightly toss the squash so they are evenly coated then place in the oven.  
6.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until squash is tender when poked with a fork.

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  1. Thanks for this! I have a squash in the pantry and I had no idea what I was going to do – soup time! I've seen here and there that people also slice them vertically, roast them a bit and then make a stuffed squash, but that seems like a bit of a monumental task :p

  2. Go for it! This is such a versatile sauce and the perfect solution for a lonely squash. I also have a recipe for a delicious butternut squash and red lentil soup.

    I actually love roasting squashes whole and stuffing them! It's much easier than you think…less slicing and dicing 🙂 You can fill them with stuffing, sautéed veggies, or to be really fun make half into this dip and fill the other roasted squash half with it!

  3. I just stumbled upon this recipe on Healthy Aperture and was curious about the name. I'm so glad I looked further! My husband and I both are healthier on dairy free diets but Mac and Cheese is just something I can't even consider giving up. I can't wait to give this version a try!

  4. So, how do you make mac-n-cheese with this? Just mix it with some pasta? I would like to try that, perhaps with the other butternut squash sitting on my counter…

  5. I LOVE this recipe!! A co-worker omitted the water and added a can of Amy's low fat black bean chili for a wonderful bean dip! I've made it twice now and each time i've introduced a new person to it they insist on getting the recipe! My picky kids even loved it! I just can't believe all these ingredients work so well!

  6. I just made this for the first time this week and took it to a potluck at church. I heated it up and placed it with some steamed Brussel sprouts. People were eating it with corn chips and other items, too. Many requests for the recipe, and I just sent them the link to this page. Thanks!

    • That’s awesome! This recipe is a crowd pleaser for sure. Isn’t it fun surprising people with truly delicious (and secretly healthy) recipes?! Thanks for sharing <3

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