Vegan Cheesy Potatoes

July 14, 2014

Everyone has that one food that makes them feel like a kid again, right?  And by one, I mean like 80 foods, obviously.  Regardless, cheesy potatoes are definitely one of those foods for me.  My grandma would always make them for Easter, but they often made appearances for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and pretty much any eating-related holiday (which is every holiday, right?).

Vegan Cheesy Potatoes

When I was getting my hair cut a few months ago, my hairdresser and I naturally struck up a conversation about cheesy potatoes.  Please don’t tell me that’s weird, cheese and potatoes are kind of my version of small talk.  Anyway, she happens to be vegan and basically didn’t want to deprive A. herself or B. her daughter of delicious, cheesy potatoes.  She asked me to come up with a recipe, and I’m obviously not going to say no.

Vegan Cheesy Potatoes

But then I slacked off, and I don’t even know why.  I’ve seen her a few times since and she’ll excitedly ask about cheesy potatoes, and then I break her heart saying I don’t have it yet.  Happy to say, I now have the perfect vegan cheesy potatoes.  I didn’t want to use silken tofu, because I have thyroid issues and like to explore other avenues when possible (I eat enough soy as it is in everything else!).  I almost went with my typical vegan cheese sauce, but this recipe demanded something a little more decadent.  Cashews help add a luscious quality while keeping it vegan.  True, they contribute a little fat, but it’s heart healthy and still lower fat and calories than using real cheese.

Vegan Cheesy Potatoes

Vegan Cheesy Potatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • ½ c raw cashews
  • 1 c milk, divided (I recommend unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 5 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • ¼ – ½ tsp salt
  • pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika, see note

  1. Add the cashews to a bowl and fill with enough water to cover them. Let soak for a total of 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 4 small ramekins or a 8″ x 8″ casserole dish by spritzing with nonstick spray.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes into ¼ – ½ inch rounds. Boil the potatoes for 8 – 10 minutes, until they are fork tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
  4. When the cashews are done soaking, drain and add to a food processor of blender. Blend with ½ c of almond milk until thick and smooth. Pour the puree into a bowl. Add another ½ c of milk (I actually used this to rinse out the blender, pulsing a few times to get any cashew that was stuck near the blades), the salt, a generous few cracks of pepper, garlic, parsley, and paprika. Mix until smooth.
  5. You can either toss the potatoes in the sauce or layer in the ramekins/casserole dish. I layered to avoid breaking up the potatoes and to ensure I had my preferred ratio of cheese to potato.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and cook until the top starts to brown.

If you don’t have smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika and a few drops of liquid smoke. You can omit the smoky flavor, but it will taste a little less cheesy.
I didn’t measure the size of the serving, but it was pretty large. If making in a casserole dish, you could easily serve 6 instead of 4.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 250 Fat: 9 Carbohydrates: 37 Fiber: 8 Protein: 11



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    Rachel Jul 16, 2014

    Yummooo! Savoury yeast flakes make everything delicious! I think the addition of smoked paprika takes these potatoes to the next level. I will definitely be giving these a try tomorrow night 🙂

    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert Jul 15, 2014

    Wow Kelly – these potatoes look wonderful! I love your site (my first visit) and can’t wait to explore. Beautiful!

      Kelly Jul 15, 2014

      Thanks for stopping by, Tricia!

    Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen Jul 14, 2014

    Oh, I really love this recipe and have been looking for dairy free recipes like this. Love those little pots in the photo too!

      Kelly Jul 14, 2014

      Thanks Christine! I got the little pots from the Le Creuset outlet near my house. They were a steal, but I think this is the first time I actually used them in a recipe I photographed!

    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy Jul 14, 2014

    I still haven’t tried nutritional yeast – I am going to have to give it a go.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I am new to yours, but I have bookmarked it and I will be back 🙂

      Kelly Jul 14, 2014

      Thanks Dannii! Nutritional yeast can be an acquired taste, but it’s definitely worth acquiring. Let me know if you fall in love with it like I have.

    cheri Jul 14, 2014

    Hi Kelly, I’m discovering that cashews are pretty awesome as cheese, love your recipe today, I’m a huge potato fan, I know…. what can I say, this is comfort in a dish.

    PassTheKnife Jul 14, 2014

    My friend loves to find yummy vegan cheese recipes, she will love this, I’ll pass it along!

    marcie Jul 14, 2014

    Cheesy potatoes are the best, and you’re so nice to whip these up at your hairdresser’s request (not that you didn’t benefit from it, too)! haha These look delicious, Kelly!

    Em @ Love A Latte Jul 14, 2014

    This looks right up my alley. I love using cashews for a cheese sauce!!! I recently made a taco cheese dip that was from cashews/nutritional yeast/spices and mixed with diced tomatoes. It was crazy good. I never knew cashews could totally pass for cheese! I’ll be saving this recipe for sure to make 🙂

      Kelly Jul 14, 2014

      That dip sounds amazing! This was my first time experimenting with cashews, and I’m definitely hooked. It’s crazy all the things you learn about food when you cut certain ingredients out of your diet, isnt it?

    Ami@NaiveCookCooks Jul 14, 2014

    These look so deliciously tasting and that last shot made me hungry!!