These vegan butternut squash nachos are velvety and decadent, but not too heavy. The nacho cheese sauce is one of my best inventions, powered by plants! Feeding a crowd? Make a nacho bar!
These butternut squash nachos are perfect for your Super Bowl party or game day gathering. Or make the cheese sauce ahead, rewarm and pour over fresh chips when the mood strikes.
Looking for other game day sides? Check out this butternut squash hummus or lemon beet hummus. For something a little heavier, these vegan twice baked potatoes are fantastic. On the lighter side, this vegan charcuterie board has something for everyone.
We'll need a few things for our butternut squash cheese sauce:
- butternut squash
- softened cashews
- shallot (a small, more flavorful reddish/yellowish onion)
- grapeseed oil (or other cooking oil with high smoke point)
- soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- hot water
Now the fun part! To build your nachos, start with chips, and then pick your favorite toppings!
- tortilla chips
- black beans
- pickled red onions
- sliced jalapeños
- pico de gallo
- seitan with taco seasoning
See recipe card for quantities.
First, we'll prepare our sauce. Start by roasting peeled and diced butternut squash cubes at 350 F for 45-60 minutes.
Need some hand-holding with the squash? No worries, I've got you covered.
While the squash is roasting, soften cashews by placing in boiling water to 15 mins. Let cashews sit in the warm water until ready to use. Reserve hot water for sauce.
In the meantime, sauté shallots and garlic in a tablespoon of grapeseed oil until they start to brown. Set aside off the heat until ready to use.
Finally, place all sauce ingredients into blender - roasted butternut squash, softened cashews, onion/shallot mix, jalapeno, lime juice, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and hot water.
Leftover hot pasta water is preferred. If you don't have pasta water, add a tablespoon of cornstarch. No cornstarch? Don't sweat it, just add an extra quarter cup-ish of squash to thicken. Blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes in a high speed blender like a Vitamix.
When the sauce is ready, it'll be smooth and creamy.
Finally, build your nachos. Layer tortilla chips with cheese sauce, and top with sliced jalapenos, pico de gallo, pickled red onions...whatever makes you happy!
Hint: make sure all ingredients are warm or hot so the cashews will completely break down in the sauce. Otherwise, your sauce might be a little chunky.
These vegan butternut squash nachos are naturally vegan, gluten free and dairy free.
Looking for some nacho variations? Look no further...
- Meatier - add chunks of plant based burgers or seitan
- Lighter - stick with black beans, guacamole and pico de gallo
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes to your cheese sauce, and top with jalapeños with seeds for extra heat
- Build your own - make a nacho bar! Set out all the ingredients and let guests go to town building their ideal plate of nachos. Highly recommend making extra sauce for this scenario.
There are a few key pieces of equipment for these vegan butternut squash nachos.
- High speed blender for blending sauce. If you don't have a high speed blender, you may need to blend for longer. Again, it is very important to use hot ingredients. As always, use caution when blending hot liquids.
- Sharp chef's knife, cutting board & vegetable peeler for preparing butternut squash & other vegetables. Butternut squash can be difficult to cut through with a dull knife. Sharp knives are much safer than dull knives in the kitchen.
- Baking sheet lined with silicon mat or parchment paper for style points & easy clean up. Bonus points for reusing the baking sheet to serve!
- Small saucepan for boiling cashews
- Frying pan for sautéing shallots and garlic. I like to use a nonstick for easy cleanup, but you can use stainless steel or enamel pans if you have - just add some extra oil and use lower heat.
Store the cheese sauce in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on low heat in a saucepan.
Make sure all cheese sauce ingredients are hot before blending so it's nice and smooth.Print
Nacho cheese sauce
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash cubes
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil, divided
- ¾ cup softened cashews
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 to 1 ½ cups hot water
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (optional, can add if sauce needs thickening)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Nachos (all optional except chips)
- Tortilla chips
- Pico de Gallo
- Black beans
- Pickled red onions
- Lime slices
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Meanwhile, peel butternut squash, remove ends and seeds, and chop into cubes. Toss with 1 Tbsp cooking oil and roast at 350 for 45-60 mins, flipping halfway.
2. While the squash is roasting, soften cashews. Boil water in a small saucepan and add cashews. Cook for 15 mins, then reduce to simmer until ready to blend sauce.
3. Sautee roughly chopped shallot in the rest of the grapeseed oil for 2-3 mins, then add minced garlic, cooking for an additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Blend sauce - blend roasted squash, softened cashews, shallot & garlic mixture, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, and hot water with cornstarch for 1-2 minutes, increasing speed every 15-20 seconds. Sauce is done when it's extra smooth and creamy. Make sure all ingredients are hot for smoothest sauce, and use extra caution when blending hot liquids.
5. Build nachos - layer tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and other toppings. Enjoy!
*For best results, all ingredients need to be warm or hot. Butternut squash fresh out of the oven and near boiling water work best.
Keywords: butternut squash nachos, vegan nachos, vegan nacho cheese sauce, vegan cheese sauce
Don't forget about kitchen safety!
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds - I love grapeseed oil for this purpose
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Use extra caution when blending hot liquids