Upon first discovering that chickpea flour can not only be used as a thickener in sauces but also made into a sauce all on its own, I was beyond excited for the possibilities, and the outcome of this sauce completely exceeded my expectations.

Many, if not most, vegan cheese substitutes incorporate some type of nut that gives a cheese-like consistency when soaked and blended with water. However, I was always a little disappointed that my “cheese” sauces continually didn’t have that gooey, cheesy texture. So when fooling around with a chickpea flour mix one day, I thought why not add it to the base of a vegan cheese sauce to give it that gooeyness I had longed for. After I added some flavorings, salt and pepper, and the like, I was amazed at the result: a cheese sauce tasting just the way I remember from my childhood. There are so many ways of incorporating this sauce into meals and dishes, whether it’s over pasta, as a warm cheesy dip for vegetables, or poured over baked sweet potatoes or homemade french fries.
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: serves 4


  • 16 ounces (454 g) gluten-free and vegan pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • ¼ cup (40 g) plus 1 tablespoon cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (30 g) chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus chive flowers for garnish
  • 1 cup (34 g) packed watercress
  • Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste


  1. Begin cooking the pasta, according to instructions on the bag. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
  2. Place the soaked cashews in an upright high-speed blender; add the oil, yeast, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste; set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and flour, turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk for 6 to 7 minutes, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a roux. Gently and carefully pour the mixture into the blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if needed. Add 1 tablespoon of chives and blend on medium for about 30 seconds.
  4. In the last 30 seconds of cooking the pasta to al dente, add the watercress and cook until wilted. Drain the pasta and watercress and quickly rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.
  5. Transfer the pasta and watercress to a serving bowl; pour the sauce over the pasta and mix. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Serve hot with remaining 1 tablespoon of chives, chive flowers, and nutmeg.


Recipe and photo from Chickpea Flour Does It All: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian Recipes for Every Taste and Season © Lindsey S. Love, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.